• Important Executive Director Announcement from the NAWCC

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    Rory formerly worked as Curator of Horology at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, where his role included day-to-day management of research and digitization projects, writing, public speaking, conservation, convening conferences, exhibition work, and development of acquisition/disposal and collection care policies. In addition, he has worked as a horological specialist at Bonhams in London, where he cataloged and handled many rare timepieces and built important relationships with collectors, buyers, and sellers. Most recently, Rory has used his talents to share his love of horology at the university level by teaching horological theory, history, and the practical repair and making of clocks and watches at Birmingham City University.

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    Some of you may already be familiar with Rory as he is also a well-known author and lecturer. His recent publications include the book Harrison Decoded: Towards a Perfect Pendulum Clock, which he edited with Jonathan Betts, and the article “George Graham and the Orrery” in the journal Nuncius.

    Until Rory’s relocation to the United States is complete, he will be working closely with an on-boarding team assembled by the NAWCC Board of Directors to introduce him to the opportunities and challenges before us and to ensure a smooth transition. Rory will be participating in strategic and financial planning immediately, which will allow him to hit the ground running when he arrives in Columbia

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English Verge / Fusee Watch Papers & Samplers

Springdale Ben

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Hi

I am fairly new here and couldn't find a thread relating to the service papers or keepsakes that are often found in the back of English pair cased watches. If there is a thread somewhere, can someone point me in the right direction?

I have amassed a collection of these over the past few years and will post images of the more unusual ones if people would be interested. If the watch is in good working condition I'll leave the papers in.

I also have a few silk samplers that appear in the back of English watches. Presumably sewn by a loved one and then carried around as good luck charms.

Here's a few that are a bit more interesting than others:

1. An "Identification Paper" which I thought was fascinating. It would have been registered to the owner and in case of "personal accident or sudden illness" they could contact the Wilson Brothers who would notify the household. Like an emergency contact card for the late 1800's.

2. "Remember Me" Silk sampler from a Charles Cabrier watch, circa 1760.

3. "Jesus Wept" Silk sampler from a silver pair cased verge, circa 1830.

4. An intricately cut watch paper with worn portrait in the centre, circa 1840.

5. A "Remember me" Silk sampler from a silver pair cased verge, circa 1820.

6. 2 x Bartle service papers. Based in Brigg which is <10 miles from where I live. Papers dated 1863 and 1894.

7. 2 x F.Johnson service papers. Based in Lincoln an depicts Lincoln Cathedral. <15 miles from me. No dates but late half of the 19th century.

I have more if people are interested.

Thanks

Ben

1.Identification paper.jpg 2.Cabrier sampler.jpg 3. Jesus Wept.JPEG 4. Intricate watch paper.jpeg 5. Remember me.jpeg 6. Bartle Brigg.jpg 7. F.Johnson.jpg
 
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jboger

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A watch may be interesting. A watch with a sampler or a paper is even more interesting. These provide context and give insight to the people who originally owned these personal objects. I've never seen a watch sampler. Very much appreciate your post. Question: Is the expression "Remember me" a reference to the Communion?
 

novicetimekeeper

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There certainly is a thread. Not sure what it comes under. I have a printing block to make them with the equation of time. It must be pre 1751 because it is 11 days out.
 

Les harland

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Watch papers can give an idea where the watch has been
I wondered if No2 was made by a sweetheart
I do not think we will ever know who W.W was
I had not thought about the Religious angle
 

PatH

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PatH

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4. An intricately cut watch paper with worn portrait in the centre, circa 1840.
Here is one that is similar to your example #4. I don't have any information about the watch it might have been placed in, but it has retained it's curvature and I have not attempted to straighten it. There is one similar to this in David Penney's excellent watch-papers article in the April 2001 issue of Antique Collecting magazine.

DSC05812.JPG
 

novicetimekeeper

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Your copper plate is a treasure. Certainly the earliest I've seen and indeed early - 1740's even. Fantastic to see!
I have only ever found one reference for William Hext, it lists two mentions from 1743. A contract to maintain the town clock for 7 years at 2 guineas per annum, and an advertisement published on 17th may of the same year that advertises him making clocks and watches.

The block was originally dated by style as perhaps 1760, but the use of the Julian calendar suggests pre 1751. I don't know if the adoption of the Gregorian calendar was simultaneous across the country but it would seem odd to make a new plate to the wrong calendar.
 

Rich Newman

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I don't know if the adoption of the Gregorian calendar was simultaneous across the country but it would seem odd to make a new plate to the wrong calendar.
Yes. I would agree. Think you will enjoy seeing this paper from Samuel Bagnall, Boston, Mass. Its the earliest American paper and was found in a colonial watch retailed by Bagnall. He worked from 1740 to 1760 and the watch case is hallmarked including a date letter for 1741-42, London assay.

Bagnall paper.jpg Bagnall Watch.jpg
 
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novicetimekeeper

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Yes. I would agree. Think you will enjoy seeing this paper from Samuel Bagnall, Boston, Mass. Its the earliest American paper and was found in a colonial watch retailed by Bagnall. He worked from 1740 to 1760 and the watch case is hallmarked including a date letter for 1741-42, London assay.

View attachment 590874 View attachment 590875

So that one 11 days out too? Seems the same dates as mine.
 

Springdale Ben

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Thanks for the replies, I appreciate the interest!

Here's a couple more samplers:

1. Paper backed sampler from a 1790's verge. I cant make it all out but it seems to read "May the love .... abound W"
2. A nice floral silk sampler. c.1830's.
3. Looks like a fairly standard floral sampler but I like all the thread colours that have been preserved on the back! c.1830's

1. DSC_7739 (2).JPG View attachment 590908 2. DSC_7740.jpeg 3. DSC_7741.JPEG
 
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PatH

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Three more beautiful samplers, Springdale Ben!

On the first, I agree with Graham that it says "May the love forever abound", and I think there is an I before the W.
In addition to beautiful embroidery, the second one has a great border, I think it is tatted rather than crocheted, and very neatly done.
I think that the third one might have been machine made - possibly a motif cut from a larger piece. If made by hand, the maker would more likely have worked the "dashes" around the perimeter and tied off the thread rather than running them horizontally across the back. As you mentioned, it is very interesting to see how bright the colors were before being exposed to the wear and oils from the watch.
 

Springdale Ben

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Thanks Pat! I agree, looking again at the third one the rough unfinished edges suggest it may have been taken from a larger piece.
 

PatH

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It wasn't uncommon to find both fabrics and papers cut from larger pieces. To me it adds to the history of what was done.
 

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So that one 11 days out too? Seems the same dates as mine.
Yes, both the earlier Julian Calendar. I would guess that adoption of the new Gregorian Calendar was inconsistent and took time. However Hext was working in London and Bagnall in Boston, so I would assume quick to adopt. Equation of time tables were also printed on labels within tall case clocks and I wonder if anyone has done research that would help us understand how quickly the new calendar was adopted. The late, great, Ted Crom wrote about the Bagnall watch & paper in 1996 & 1998 Bulletin articles. Since Bagnall's working dates are 1740-60 and the paper is original to the watch dated 1741-2, we have good information to date the watch paper. Assuming the working dates for Hext in Loomes (Watchmakers & Clockmakers of the World) are right, your plate is likely also 1740's.

As I said before, I think your plate is a treasure; very few survive and nothing as early as yours. I have a Masonic English plate ca. 1825 from Louis Kyezor of Doncaster, Nathaniel Dominy's is at Winterthur, Daniel Burnap's is at the Wadsworth Atheneum and no doubt more are around. However, I've not seen or read about other surviving watch papers (or plates) from the early 18th century. Has anyone seen others this early?
 

novicetimekeeper

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Hext was in St Austell in Cornwall, but there was a regular coach to London and with the mining Industry and the port it was very well connected. As somebody pointed out on another thread this is more than likely Cornish copper.

David Penney originally dated this as 1760s based on the style, when we realised it had the Julian calendar it put it back and as you say it may well be 1740s.

I still have not got around to running off some copies, originally I was waiting for a contact of my sister's but I think now she has the right machines herself to do the print.

I think that given St Austell's connections to London they may have adopted the calendar in 1751. I can see people still printing with an old block after this time, but I don't think Hext would have ordered a block after that date with the Julian Calendar.
 

PatH

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Here are a few more watch samplers. I hope others will also share some of theirs.

1. "Accept a token of love" with letters (initials?) W at the top and M at the bottom.
2. "though absent ever dear"
3. "God is love". Like Springdale Ben's example you can see on the reverse how much brighter the colors were originally.

img597.jpg img613.jpg B watch obverse.JPG B watch sampler reverse.JPG
 

Springdale Ben

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Hi

I've found some interesting items in the back of a silver pair cased verge watch hallmarked 1805. The watch was dirty and had obviously been stored away for many years so it's very plausible that these items are original to this watch and belonged to the original owner. The sampler is dated 1806 which ties in with the hallmark.

The first is a fairly standard watch service paper by "Holden, Sheffield".

Next was a map of Lincolnshire (where I live) which looks to have been printed as a watch paper (not cut from a larger map) due to the outer circular border.

Next is a sampler which reads "May the wings of peace rest upon thy dwelling E.B to E.S 1806".

Finally a piece of animal fur with a message on the back that I cannot read. I'm going to try scanning it in and changing the colour levels to see if I can make out the text.

I'd be interested to know other peoples thoughts and if anyone has come across a watch paper map before?

Many thanks

Ben

IMG_9063.JPEG IMG_9059.JPEG IMG_9060.JPEG IMG_9061.JPEG IMG_9062.JPEG
 

PatH

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What a find, Springdale Ben ! It's like a little time capsule. The case must be very loose to accommodate all of these treasures, especially the fur. Having said that, perhaps the fur is not much thicker than some of the embroidered watch samplers.

I have seen map watchpapers before, but they certainly don't seem to be common.
Here is a thread about one Map of London & St Croix papers in 1761 Henry More London fusee
David Penney mentions them in an article on his website, and one is pictured in his article "Watchpapers" in the April 2001 issue of Antique Collecting magazine.
Anthony Turner pictures one and mentions them in his article "Watch-pads and Watch-papers" in the September 2010 issue from The Antiquarian Horological Society.
There may be examples in the various Museums that can be found with an online search. I haven't searched any of the collections specifically for examples of maps.

Hopefully you will be able to enhance the writing on the back of the animal fur. What a story it could tell! Thanks for sharing your find with us.

Pat
 

Springdale Ben

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Here's a few more pictures of the back of the piece of fur. I've tried a few different settings but couldn't get anything that cleared up the writing.

All I can make out is what looks to be a time and date, something like: "1814 November 12 6 O'Clock" at the bottom over 3 lines.

Perhaps a pet that was laid to rest?

DSC_0514.JPG IMG_9067[2706].jpg IMG_9072[2712].jpg IMG_90721.jpg
 
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Springdale Ben

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What a find, Springdale Ben ! It's like a little time capsule. The case must be very loose to accommodate all of these treasures, especially the fur. Having said that, perhaps the fur is not much thicker than some of the embroidered watch samplers.

I have seen map watchpapers before, but they certainly don't seem to be common.
Here is a thread about one Map of London & St Croix papers in 1761 Henry More London fusee
David Penney mentions them in an article on his website, and one is pictured in his article "Watchpapers" in the April 2001 issue of Antique Collecting magazine.
Anthony Turner pictures one and mentions them in his article "Watch-pads and Watch-papers" in the September 2010 issue from The Antiquarian Horological Society.
There may be examples in the various Museums that can be found with an online search. I haven't searched any of the collections specifically for examples of maps.

Hopefully you will be able to enhance the writing on the back of the animal fur. What a story it could tell! Thanks for sharing your find with us.

Pat
Thanks Pat. The fur is very thin, as you suggest it's not much thicker than a silk sampler.
 

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This is another interesting paper of particular interest to colonial America. The front displays a hand-painted Royal Navy warship and the back shows that it was in a watch owned by William Beekman Jr. in New Rochelle, New York in 1745, and then James Beekman in 1747. The Beekman's were one of the most influential colonial families and did enormous trade between New York and England. Wish we knew more about it - - research is needed! Notice the later date at the bottom, Nov 11, 1942, that may indicate when this paper entered someone's collection.


Ship 1.jpg Ship 2.jpg
 

novicetimekeeper

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We don't know the ship, but the red squadron was the senior squadron of the Royal Navy, commanded by the Admiral of the Fleet. (you know it now as the Merchant Navy ensign, but that didn't happen until the 1860s when the Royal Navy adopted the White Ensign for all RN vessels.)
 

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Fantastic Rich.


Rob
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Not of the historical interest of many above, but last night I bought a Josh. Johnson pocket watch, and in the outer cover of the pair-case was this watch-paper.
109-5.jpg I won't know if it's real till it arrives. Though I did do some research. Seems a Mr John H. Morrison of Detroit open a Jewellers shop, (c1853) and later took in partnership a Mr James S. Conklin. (See Attached)


Unfortunately, I'm not a watchmaker and I don't know anything about it. For me, the watch is either working or not working.

The above is from the seller after I asked what the escapement was (I think Massey) and if he knew what could be repaired. (He did say on eBay it was not working).

I will write up more when it arrives, but to be going on, a few photographs.

109-6.jpg The hallmarks are of interest JLS for Joseph Lewis Samuel, Liverpool 1833/34 which pushes the date a year earlier than the research by Priestley and others. I don´t think it is original to the watch, but a good fit. (it´s a maybe)

109-7.jpg The number 8097, and the lack of of the address indicates to me after the death of Johnson in 1827, so made by for his wife, so could be c1833/34?

109-8.jpg A good point on buying this was the un-spoiled dial with the inserted IV. on the second's dial. Will have to get rid of those American hands, and find a nice gold pair.

To be cont....

Allan

Edit- The book in the attachment is "BASEBALL FEVER- Early Baseball in Michigan" By Peter Morris.
 

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PatH

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I won't know if it's real till it arrives. Though I did do some research. Seems a Mr John H. Morrison of Detroit open a Jewellers shop, (c1853) and later took in partnership a Mr James S. Conklin.
It will be interesting to see if there are any notations on the back of the paper. Nice find!
 

PatH

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Ah - looks like a veritable treasure trove stacked there. I hadn't noticed that. :emoji_clap:
 

John Matthews

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This watch has been for sale previously and you may like to check the discussion here.

You will note that at the time I thought the additional maker's mark on the box back was F&R and was probably an American mark. I may have been mistaken. The sale photograph I have is indistinct, I am hoping when you inspect the watch, it is P&R - James Plumb and William Rigby operating out of Holly Street, Liverpool.

For sometime I have been trying to make sense of the JLS, ILS & JLS&Co maker's marks. Although they are all assigned by Priestley, in his latest volume, as the mark of Joseph Lewis Samuel, I am not convinced. In the entry for JLS he indicates that his source is Jackson (date 1835) - this is incorrect. ILS appears in Jackson, assigned to Jos Samuel, not JLS. I have checked both the latest publication and an earlier edition: both the index and the Chester section, only ILS is present. Priestley's other references are Gores trade directories 1835-1858, I have not been able to locate a Joseph Samuel listed in any I have, unfortunately I don't have 1835.

A rare example where Ridgeway, Jackson & Priestley may have all made a mistake

In his previous publication of 1994, Priestley listed both ILS & JLS in Part B of his Chester listing 'Reasonable Attributions of Hallmarks of Case Makers' . At that time there was clearly some doubt as to the makers assigned to these marks.

I believe they are probably the marks of a company listed as Samuel & Co of Wood Street, Liverpool, so listed in Pigots 1837 directory. This is the same company that was listed in the Liverpool Museum database at the same address (number 45) from 1835-37 and, at 54 Wood Street, between 1839-45. In the Liverpool database the listing is Samuel Jacob Lewis & Co. - I take this to be either Jacob Lewis Samuel or Jacob & Lewis Samuel - identified as watch case maker, watch dial maker and rose engine turners. Interestingly, the marks JLS & ILS, where I have seen them, are often accompanied by an additional mark which in can be found in the standard references for case makers.

Further research is required.

Regarding the watch paper - from Detroit trade directory of 1857

Johnson 1857 Trade Directory.JPG

and for Les - Street view does not add much, but just on the boundary of what Google identifies as the Financial District.

1611148190515.png


John
 
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John Matthews

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Allan - the answer

1611326366143.png

Don't ask how you get from Ralph Saul Samuel to J.L.S. & Co - a complete mystery.

John
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Don't ask how you get from Ralph Saul Samuel to J.L.S. & Co - a complete mystery.
Well done John, really pleased you found that but where did it come from, and what are the dates.

Allan.

Edit: Found them in the 1853 Gores, but no JLS, could it be they only used it for a short period. Still more to do? I don´t see why Loomes and others missed a watch manufacturer who was working from should we say 1833, and was still active in 1853??
 
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John Matthews

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I found it as a snip in some notes I made in 2018, with a comment, from 1835 Gores.

I have also found Ralph Samuel as a watch case, dial maker and rose engine turner, having a shop at the 54 Wood Street address in 1853. So I conclude that the dates I quoted above (post #43) are correct.

A little further research has possibly resolved this

In the Liverpool database the listing is Samuel Jacob Lewis & Co. - I take this to be either Jacob Lewis Samuel or Jacob & Lewis Samuel - identified as watch case maker, watch dial maker and rose engine turners.
My current belief is that the initials JLS are the initials of Jacob Lewis Samuel who died in 1832, age 24 (Liverpool Museum database). The earliest case I know of carrying the mark is from the assay year 1832/33 (Keith's Lewis Samuel #9571). The record of the registration date Chester has been lost, but is likely to have been ~1830. It would appear that after his death, the name of the company and his mark continued to be used by the Samuel family.

Significantly more research is required as the family first appeared in the trade directories ~1800 and the early records are scant.

John
 

jboger

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The Detroit watch paper reminded me of a piece of coin silver, a spoon, that I bought quite a few years ago. The spoon was retailed by Lincoln & Reed (Boston, ca. 1840). What's interesting, no mention of Boston, but a location "OPPO. POST OFFICE".

IMG_1573.jpg IMG_1574.jpg
 

John Matthews

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Don't ask how you get from Ralph Saul Samuel to J.L.S. & Co - a complete mystery.
This is no longer a mystery after further research.

The sequence of related Samuel family companies is as follows
  • Jacob Lewis Samuel & Co. (1832 - 1845)
  • Ralph (Saul) Samuel (1847 - 1860)
  • Samuel & Rogers (1862 - 1896)
  • Benson Brothers (1897 - 1900+)
Ralph Saul Samuel became a partner in 1845 - the listing above in Gores 1835 directory, indicates that he was working for Jacob Lewis Samuel & Co at least from that date. Some of the listings show the firm Jacob, Lewis Samuel & Co but further research is needed to determine whether this was a partnership between a Jacob Samuel and a Lewis Samuel.

John
 

Allan C. Purcell

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John, I think you have put this in the wrong thread, there are more questions than answers here. Ralph Samuel and Saul Samuel are two different people. Where are the indications in the Gores Liverpool 1835 Directory? I have never found indications of relationship in directories. Ralph Samuel´s dates are for his mark 1838-1858. Samuel & Rogers are in fact Mary Samuel & Authur Rogers, (Ralphs wife) who sold the business to Whitman David, & Co, who leased the case. making part of the building to the Benson Brothers-who carried on the watch-case side. Or did you miss the information on but on the board.?

7-6.JPG
Allan.
 

John Matthews

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Allan

I have posted here as a direct followup to my post #44. It is posted where I intended.

The information I have provided is identical to that to be found in Culme. The dates are from my on-going research and they have been obtained by examining all of the available Liverpool directories in the C19th. The dates are correct.

Ralph Saul Samuel is listed as a director of Jacob Lewis Samuel in 1845.

I believe Ralph Samuel died in the first quarter of 1860.

Mary Samuel was Ralph Samuel's widow as recorded in the census records.

Arthur Benjamin Guinness Rogers is listed as a bookkeeper in 1857 and is recorded at 72 Wood Street in 1859, prior to the partnership of Samuel & Rogers.

The business of Samuel and Rogers was located at 72 Wood Street in 1896 and Benson Brothers occupied that address from 1897.

I am currently researching the Samuels and other Liverpool families, so possibly more in the future, but for the moment that is all I am able to share.

John
 
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