Frame makers, movement makers and finishers in C19th England

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by John Matthews, Sep 25, 2019.

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  1. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    For some time I have been trying to relate the initials found on movement parts, to the names that appear in trade directories and other reference material. In parallel, I have added a number of what David Penney always describes as 'rough movements' to my collection. I dislike David's term, I much prefer to refer to them as 'unfinished movements'. All of my examples have maker's initials.

    If we examine how those involved in the watch trade were listed in trade directories of the period in locations such as Prescot, we find that there are a small number of frame makers, a larger number of watch movement makers, together with a range of specialists making specific components – see the entries from Slater's 1855 Lancashire directory.

    upload_2019-9-25_15-52-48.png

    Many of the movement makers are familiar to us, but the frame makers are not. Well, not to me at least. When initials have been attributed to specific makers, e.g. David Penney's site and various papers on the subject, those makers are invariably listed as movement makers in the contemporary trade directories. In the absence of provenance, which is only very rarely available, attempting to ascribe a maker's name to such initials is a very brave undertaking and any identification has to be presented with a strong health warning! Take for example a movement stamped JP in its original 1855/56 hallmarked case - just from those that appear in the Prescot listing, there are at least 4 possibilities.

    Some of those listed as movement makers, also made frames, John Wycherley is one example, This is also confirmed explicitly as some makers appeared in both lists, e.g. Job Preston. It is possible that only a few of those makers who only made frames, i.e. didn't continue to add the movement elements to the frame, stamped their frames. This brings us to the question. what were the incentives to add the initials? Clearly, it could simply be to allow work of a specific maker to be identified – advertising the quality of one's product; this could be relevant to any 'maker'. However, I think we can identify an additional reason that applied to movement makers and to some finishers. When a movement was 'put out', to a specialist worker to perform a specific task, maker's marks would have assisted identification, particularly if accompanied by a serial number. This would not apply to a frame maker as he would have 'brought in' any items he needed, e.g. pillars.

    I attach a file containing descriptions and photographs of the unfinished movements in my collection, presented in order of increasing completeness. You will note that there is some repetition of comments, there for the completeness of each individual description. There are also questions, to myself, but please feel free to answer if you are so motivated.

    [​IMG]

    John
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Lychnobius

    Lychnobius Registered User

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    Thank you, John, for putting this together and for including images, without which the signatures would be even more ambiguous. I suspect it will be the nucleus of a database that could grow and grow!

    Oliver Mundy.
     
  3. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Hi John, Thought these would be of interest, you may have seen them on the auction house, but just in case?? Allan.

    e-10.jpg e-11.jpg e-12.jpg
     
  4. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Thanks Allan - I had not seen this example.

    H.D is identified as probably being Henry Dyson by Kemp. His dates are ~1840 to ~1870 - which fits with Owen Owens. I haven't spent any time researching Dyson. He is listed as a watch maker (1841/51) and subsequently a fusee maker (1861/71), on the Liverpool database, based upon census returns.

    John
     
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  5. davy26

    davy26 Registered User

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    Very interesting area of interest and post, John. I have a database of Coventry makers and this does incorporate the category, 'Frame Maker.' The Coventry Watch Museum maintains both a website and Facebook presence, and both are good sources of data.

    With its rich photo content the The Max Cutmore Collection of Watches (pdf courtesy of Leigh Extence) is also helpful when looking for Frame Maker names/marks. I'm sure most here will be familiar with it, but if you don't already have it downloaded, I'd mention that it's recently been relocated and can now be found at https://www.extence.co.uk/exhibition-catalogues
     
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  6. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Many thanks for the new location - you are absolutely correct a most useful resource as free download. Pages 5 & 7 are of particular interest to me as it relates to my research into James Powell of Worcester.

    John
     
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  7. Niall

    Niall Registered User

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    John - many thanks for the info in your post and for your frame maker list which you posted on a separate thread.

    Allan - hope it is ok to say this here, but it was actually me who sold you the Owens movement! I am very new to the hobby and am learning more and more every day, but each time I sell something I do try to learn as much as I can from it within my means (usually just visual inspection - I do not take anything apart) and I have found the initials under the movements quite fascinating.

    JW is the most common I have come across, but I have seen many many more.

    If I come across initials under dials that are not referenced in either of your files, John, would you like me to post some images of the movement? If so, where would you like me to put them?!
    I was almost thinking of creating some sort of thread such as "Frame Makers Initials I have discovered" where I post these movements. Let me know your thoughts as I am keen to assist in research and documentation of history regarding English pocket watches.
     
  8. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Niall - thank-you for your interest and comments.

    If posts illustrate initials or marks on movements I will always make an attempt to assign a possible 'maker'. To do so is a little like trying to assign a name to a case maker, but with much less accessible reference material. There are a few papers, a vast array of directories and sources like the Liverpool Museum database - but the information is very dispersed, there is no equivalent to the Priestley publications. One of the keys to drawing up a list of possibilities, is to have a good handle on the date of movement and its provenance. This will narrow down where to look. It makes it easier if there are a comprehensive set of photographs of the movement and the case, as well as a clear photograph of the mark showing where it has been made.

    So I would encourage anyone who finds a mark on a movement to post a photograph of the mark as part of set of photographs of the complete watch. Generally, the mark will be just one aspect of the watch and as such is probably best discussed as such in a thread about the specific watch - in the same way that the thread might include a discussion about the case maker. It is essential to be able to identify the watch/movement where the mark was found.

    John
     
  9. Niall

    Niall Registered User

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    Hi John,

    99% of what I am encountering is nearly always just a loose movement, no case, obviously ripped out of its case many years ago and stored away and undiscovered for goodness knows how long!

    I plan on sharing photographs of any movements that show initials or anything unusual such as patents under the dial, I will endeavour to take good pictures of the escapement and other side of the movement too. I have already found and set aside some for this process and my plan is to identify and post as many unique frame maker initial pieces as possible.

    Niall
     
  10. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    I have recently added further to my collection of unfinished movements ...

    200 - England 1880~ E.S [Edward SCARISBRICK], Prescot, and F B ADAMS, London unfinished movement #79085

    David Penney

    Rare partially finished rough movement complete with dial, circa 1880.

    Full plate fusee movement ready to be 'scaped and finished, the hollow-back pillar plate stamped E.S and with its Liverpool size 16 x 0 and also bearing what I believe to be Adams serial number 79085. Complete with its balance cock and partially jewelled, but no train or barrel-bar. Fitted with its 3-footed enamel dial signed for F B ADAMS & SONS which remains in perfect condition. Movement 44.5 mm diameter.

    Edward Scarisbrick, Prescot, one of the better known rough movement manufacturers, for which this part of Lancashire was justly famous.

    Francis Bryant Adams, from a well known family of watchmakers, and one time partner with George Moore. Based at the heart of Clerkenwell, London’s watchmaking centre, with a deserved reputation for his export of fine watches to America. The number on the frame indicates that this is a very late production and is probably from the unfinished stock when the firm closed down.

    An interesting and rare document regarding the English practice of making fusee watches, no watch collection complete without such an unfinished example. NB: English watch manufacturing was split into at least forty separate specialist trades at this time, around 50% who were involved in the manufacture of rough movements, which the Swiss/French called an ebauche. It is easy to see how much work was still needed at this point, but also to see how wonderfully good and crisp was the work of these pre-eminent Prescot specialists.

    In good original condition, and rare in this state with its dial.

    The makers who may have used ES that were operating in Lancashire from 1850 - 1900 as listed in the Liverpool database and trade directories are ...
    Frame makers – no candidates
    Movement Makers – Edward Saggerson [Eccleston] and Edward Scarisbrick [Prescot & Whiston]​

    Edward Saggerson has only a single directory entry in the Liverpool database and that for 1854.

    Edward Scarisbrick is recorded as a movement maker in both the 1861 & 1871 census records There are additional census records in 1851 {watch maker}, 1881 {no occupation on record} and 1891 {living on his own means' in Ormskirk}. In 1851, Edward was living with his brother Thomas Scarisbrook, listed as a watch movement maker in the Slater's Lancashire directory of 1855. It seems most likely that this is the work of Scarisbrick who has been described as a 'master movement maker'.

    The movement, as David indicates, is unusual in that, although fairly early in the production cycle, it has already been fitted with dial carrying the name of the watch maker F. B. Adams & Sons of London. The dial has three fixing pins which are yet to be drilled and the name of Adams is written on the back.

    20191022 028.jpg 20191022 002.jpg 20191022 027.jpg

    David infers that the movement had already been received in London, that the serial number is that of Adams and that it was in stock when the firm ceased trading. I have no reason to doubt this inference, but in the absence of any provenance, I see no strong evidence in the movement by itself, to assume that this movement had left Scarisbrick works.

    20191022 023.jpg 20191022 025.jpg

    In addition to the serial number (on both plates in full, and as a partial on the underside of the cock and potence),

    20191022 003.jpg 20191022 004.jpg 20191022 020.jpg 20191022 013.jpg 20191022 010.jpg

    the E·S maker's mark and the Lancashire size [16*0], the brass edge carries four punch marks, that are probably batch marks, however they are not repeated on any of the other components.

    20191022 006.jpg 20191022 005.jpg

    Interestingly, two of the pillars are drilled and two are not. Where the drilled pillars protrude through the plate, the plate has been grooved, whether this was done to facilitate the drilling I am unsure, but I have not observed it previously. I do believe, however, that I have seen other unfinished movements with only two of the four pillars drilled.

    20191022 026.jpg 20191022 023-2.jpg

    It will also be noted that the pilot holes have been drilled for the banking pins and one of each pair of screws securing the jewels, has been punched for identification.

    20191022 022.jpg

    John
     
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  11. Niall

    Niall Registered User

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    Hi John,

    A very interesting and truly unique piece you have acquired, I am always checking Davids site for new additions and frequently wonder where all these "rough" movements have been found.
     
  12. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    I understand that David acquired many of these in the past, when his appreciation of their importance was not shared by others. That is no longer the case and new examples rarely appear elsewhere - I have no recollection of any from any other source in the last four years, since I stated collecting.

    John
     
  13. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    201.01 & 201.02 – Watch calliper plates

    David Penney
    Very rare recording plate used by movements makers, 19th century.

    Brass plate scribed both sides and drilled for a going-barrel movement, the plate stamped 10. 34.5 mm diameter. JD is probably John Doke, movement maker, Prescot.

    Together with another brass plate bearing no maker's stamp, with which it came to me.

    Plates like these were used to record various different sizes and designs of rough watch movements that could be ordered from the manufacturers prior to being finished. Rough movements rarely survive, these caliper plates even less so.

    A rare an important aspect of our horological past. Both in typically handled condition, but still clearly showing the markings, and one with red sealing wax from where it had been fixed.

    The makers who may have used 'JD' that were operating in Lancashire from 1800 - 1900 as listed in the Liverpool database and trade directories are …

    Frame makers – Joseph Daniels [Prescot], James Davies [Prescot], John Dennett [Rainhill]​

    Movement makers – James Daniels [Farnworth], John Davies [Prescot], John Deanes [Ecclesworth], John Doke [Prescot], Joseph Dumbell [Liverpool], John Dwerryhouse [Widnes]​

    I feel that these plates are more likely to have been used by movement makers to initially 'set out' the design of the movement work. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that the initials 'JD' are probably that of a movement maker, rather than a frame maker. It may have been John Doke, the less well known brother of Richard Doke – the two brothers are listed as apprenticed watchmakers living at Warrington Road, Whiston, in the 1841 census.

    In addition to the names I have listed, Kemp (AH September 1981) identifies three examples with J.D. (note with two '.') and assigns the initials to John Doward. The corresponding records for Doward on the Liverpool database record the census entries for 1841 (watchmaker), 1851 (watch barrel & fusee maker) and 1861 (watch fusee maker). In the absence of further information, which Kemp does not provide, I do not believe that this is the movement maker who made the mark on this calliper. Kemp does not list either of the Doke brothers.

    I have seen the initials JD on completed movements, including a ~1870 Dent #32606 a single roller with Cole's patent banking on David Penney's site. This movement is of a different design, but is based upon a size 10 frame and has stamps very similar to those on the plate – the age of this movement is also compatible with dates when John Doke was active.

    On the JD example I have annotated the holes as to what I believe they are. Neither Graham nor I have been able to determine, with certainty the purpose of the '?' holes. Those in blue are blocked by sealing wax and we both believe this was probably to ensure that these were ignored when the plate was last used. Graham has confirmed these plate would have been suitable for use as templates to locate, and drill, the oversize holes for the initial planting. Subsequently, these would have been plugged and accurately drilled as part of the finishing.

    20191021 004.jpg 20191021 003.jpg 20191021 005.jpg Annotated.jpg

    I believe the second plate is also a pillar plate calliper of a going barrel design. The three larger holes I think correspond to the holes to accommodate the dial feet and the circular recess is to accommodate the barrel. I am uncertain about the remaining holes apart from that in the centre, but I wonder whether some may relate to the motion work.

    20191021 002.jpg 20191021 001.jpg

    On reflection I do not believe I have every seen an unfinished movement which did not already have the holes drilled in preparation for the initial planting; since examining these calliper plates, I have been considering this in terms of the point at which frame making transitioned into movement making. The fact that frame makers were listed as such in trade directories, without a corresponding entry in the movement maker section, leads me to infer that there may have been a 'frame product'. I have been trying to visualize what that might be. My current thinking is that it may be the two main plates connected by pillars – probably not drilled – but having already have been drilled for the initial planting.

    I have come to this conclusion, in part because of my observation at the beginning of the previous paragraph and also from considering how these calliper plates may have been used. I believe they are the first physical record of a production design.

    My current thoughts. They would have been produced from a 'theoretical paper design' or possibly by arranging a set of suitable 'off the shelf' components available to the movement maker and evolving the design from them. Once the calliper had been produced, it could have been used in the movement makers own shop to produce the 'frame product', or alternatively the stage may have been 'put-out' to a frame maker who would use the calliper to produce the frame. In the case where the movement maker worked from what I described as a paper design, I can imagine that the calliper may also be passed to a wheel maker in order to produce the wheels to the specified design.

    All comments welcome.

    John
     
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  14. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Possibly these might have been for the motion work, which would make sense if the calliper was last used to drill holes on the other side of the pillar plate.

    John
     
  15. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    These plates are fascinating objects, not only because of their rarity now, (they must once have been part of every workshop's equipment and so common as to be overlooked as having no intrinsic value), but because they go some way to illustrate the basic mechanics of making a watch. That the holes in the plates are all much the same size and bear no relationship to the finished sizes of those holes suggests that the holes drilled using these plate jigs were only pilots at most. They may not even have been drilled right through, but just spotted to establish the centres.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  16. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Graham you make a good point and their use to drill pilot holes is as I saw their use. However, I did wonder why the holes that I thought might be be in the position of the dial feet, in the second example, had been drilled larger.

    John
     
  17. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    Could it be connected with the fact that these holes were not intended to be bushed, as all the train holes were?

    I'm sure that this is a subject which the late Dr. David Torrens could have illuminated, had he ever written down a fraction of the knowledge he carried in his head; it's such a tragic loss that he died so suddenly after his retirement in 1967 and never had the chance to document his lifetime's research on the English watchmaking trade as he intended.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  18. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Graham - yes, that could be the reason, yet I don't believe the pillar holes on the Doke example are full size, they look as if they are pilot holes. Also those dial holes, if that's what they are, are chamfered on the dial side of the plate.

    John
     
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  19. Chris Radek

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    I can imagine that the larger holes were used to mount this template over the workpiece on the lathe faceplate. Then one of the little holes is centered with a wobble stick or similar indicator, the template is removed, and the target hole opened, bored almost to size (thereby placing it accurately) and then probably reamed to final size.

    I can't imagine them being drilled through to make pilot holes and then bigger drills were used - that simply doesn't give you holes in the right places.
     
  20. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    Perhaps as a reminder to the workman that the actual dial foot holes would also need to be chamfered in the same way?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  21. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Chris,

    They didn't need to be very accurately placed at this stage because the pivots on the train arbors weren't formed yet. The train was roughly planted in holes large enough to take the bare arbors. When the rough movement reached the finishing stage, the pivots were formed and all the holes were plugged before the train was accurately depthed. You can often see where the final pivot holes aren't quite central in the larger plugs, and also occasionally the arcs scribed by a depthing tool as part of the process are visible.

    The template was probably clamped to the plate or stuck with wax, (as evidenced in the second picture in John's post #13), and a hand drill used to mark all the holes in a single process; no need to fit up in the mandrel for each hole.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  22. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Here is an example from an unfinished three quarter plate movement from further in the production cycle. It has been jewelled and all the train planted in its final position. The jewelled hole is the fourth wheel and above the un-jewelled third has a brass plug (slightly more golden in colour) centred on a pilot hole which was probably set using a calliper plate.

    20190129 002.jpg

    John
     
  23. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    CORRECTION - I failed to realise that Kemp adds a period after all the maker's marks in his list on page 80 of the paper. From the current information I have, I believe that [JD] may be John Doke and [J.D] is probably one of the alternative makers I have listed.

    John
     
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  24. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

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    Whilst clearing out my hard drive of some the hundreds of photographs on there I came across some pictures that I had taken several years ago. I had borrowed all of the Liverpool made movements and watches from a friend as part of a general SW Lancashire research project, which subsequently hit the brick wall of the Liverpool Museum and died a death. The attached pictures are of the only one of 9 movements to have initials stamped on any part. I don't have pictures of the escapement (not relevant here anyway) but it was a Massey Type 3. I believe that the hall marks are for Chester 1831/32.

    P1020400.JPG P1020397.JPG P1020405.JPG P1020839.JPG
     
  25. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Dave - my thanks for the post.

    I concur Chester 1831/32. Case makers Timothy Ellison and Henry Fishwick of 5 Tarleton Street, Liverpool (1822-1837). The initials on the inner surface of the pillar plate are a little difficult to discern, are they 'IF' or possibly poorly stamped 'IE'? neither of which are familiar to me. I will try to find some candidates.

    John
     
  26. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

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    John, I believe it to be IF with the distortion created by the top of the last digit of the serial number. It is my suspicion that this is actually for John Foster, listed in the Liverpool Museum db as a watchmaker over the appropriate period.
     
  27. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Dave - sounds reasonable ...

    Is this the mark of the finisher rather than the movement maker - I wonder what stage the movement was at when he received it? Unusual to have the mark on that side of the pillar plate, I wonder if there was also a mark on the dial side?

    Pigots 1837 trade directory of Liverpool -> the * indicates also a chronometer maker.

    upload_2019-11-11_0-11-50.png

    confirmed in 1841 census as noted in Liverpool database

    upload_2019-11-11_0-23-23.png
    John
     
  28. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

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    Firstly John, there is no mark on the dial side of the pillar plate. It may well be that the raw movement was bought in and finished by Foster, we will probably never know. He seems to have been active over quite a lengthy period and in a variety of disciplines so he may well have had the skills to generate a movement from scratch or simply the frame and bring in the component parts. I have not seen another watch with his name on.
     
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  29. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    #29 John Matthews, Dec 23, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
    206 - ENGLAND 1880~ J.W [John WYCHERLEY, Prescot] unfinished movement #19804

    This unfinished movement is the first that I didn't acquire from David Penney. Unfortunately the seller has not provided any information regarding its provenance.

    As can be seen from the photographs, taken as received, it is a three quarter plate movement having the hollow back pillar plate stamped [J.W] for John Wycherley, together with its Liverpool size 16 x 0/2 and serial number #19804. The movement came its original tin-plate can with the train and some of the steel work in a small pill box annotated with the serial number below 160 – I infer the latter referring to the movement size.

    20191217 001.jpg 20191217 002.jpg 20191217 003.jpg 20191217 004.jpg

    The barrel and fusee arbors have been left long, both seated in their final hard brass plugs; a hard brass plug has also been fitted for centre arbor. Brass plugs have also been inserted for the rest of the train. The balance is not present, but the balance jewelling has been completed.

    20191217 006.jpg 20191217 007.jpg

    The most interesting aspect I find is that the barrel has the mainspring fitted, the fusee has been grooved and the fusee chain is present. The maintaining gear has been cut, the fusee pawl, spring and retaining screw included in the small pill box. The set up ratchet and pawl are in place. However, I infer that the internal fusee pawls have not been fitted, as a small rotation of the the fusee energises the mainspring, but the power is not maintained.

    20191217 011.jpg 20191217 012.jpg

    My tentative interpretation is that after the balance had been jewelled and the train had been planted into its final position, the train was removed. The fusee was then machined, the mainspring fitted and reassembled between the plates, a fusee chain and set up click and pawl fitted. At this stage the work on the movement ceased. I am, however, a little surprised that the internal pawls were not fitted and the work on the fusee completed prior to re-assembly.

    As can be seen the movement is generally clean and the grooves in the fusee are relatively bright. There is only minor corrosion of steel work and the movement appears to have been stored in a fairly dry environment for the last 150 years or so. One slightly puzzling aspect is the state of the heads of many of the screws – it is clear that they have been badly treated and it is difficult to believe that the damage dates back to the C19th.

    John

    EDIT - Graham, the barrel may appear to have a film of oil - it doesn't. The reason is the excessive reflection from the LED torch I use to add extra light between the plates.
     
  30. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    The fusee clicks are mounted in the steel maintaining power wheel, (rather than the great wheel itself, as is the case without maintaining power), and I agree that it would be very strange for the fusee to be assembled and fitted without them. Since they're steel clicks mounted in a steel wheel, I suspect that they are present but perhaps corrosion has set in. The lack of the maintaining power external click and its spring, (still in the pill-box), shouldn't affect the way the internal clicks work.

    The visible screws appear to be just from the lathe, prior to being cleaned up and polished ready for bluing, which has left them more susceptible to corrosion.

    It's a very good example of the way these movements were built.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  31. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    Another possibility is that the maintaining power spring, which connects the steel wheel to the great wheel, is either missing or damaged.

    The bushing of the third wheel in the pillar plate bar shows how inaccurately it was originally planted.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  32. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Graham - so you don't believe this damage has been done by a screw driver? ...

    upload_2019-12-23_13-7-55.png upload_2019-12-23_13-8-26.png upload_2019-12-23_13-9-0.png

    John
     
  33. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    On these, yes, and probably done during tightening, but not on the top plate. I suspect that the screws, not having been finished, would not have been hardened and tempered yet, so much more vulnerable to such damage, and of course the use of the wrong screwdriver was a factor!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  34. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Graham - in this case, with the maintaining power, the situation is as in the first of the two photographs (the second being without maintaining power)

    upload_2019-12-23_14-40-2.png upload_2019-12-23_14-40-41.png

    Given the condition of the assembled movement, I think it is unlikely that corrosion is present. .... wait a minute - :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

    How silly! - I have just realised - there is no train so as I rotate the fusee, there is nothing to prevent the great wheel rotating !!!

    The fusee is no doubt complete and it was assembled without the train presumably to check the seating of the chain in the machined fusee.

    John
     
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  35. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    In this case we were both looking under the wrong stone!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  36. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Many of you will be aware of the section entitled '"Unfinished or Raw Movements'In the Grey'" in the AHS publication "Your Time". Careful readers may have noticed that the final paragraph of P. 59 ends abruptly with "and even then not until the" ...

    Thanks to the efforts of the AHS Secretary and one of the members R John Griffiths, I have obtained a copy of the missing paragraphs. These will be published in the March edition of Antiquarian Horology. For non-members interested in this subject and particularly those who have a copy of the book, here are the missing paragraphs ...

    (until the) development of a number of essential technologies. Although by the 1870s John Wycherley was manufacturing wheels, pinions and pitched plates that were almost to the liking of the manufacturers, the depths, that is meshing of the wheels and pinions, were still being checked and frequently re-done by the movement finisher. It was not possible to expect the techniques used by the most advanced machine manufacturers such as Maudslay in the early 1800s, to be accessible to the watchmaker. What was applicable on the large scale did not necessarily transfer to the minute without huge adaptation and much experimentation with a large expenditure of funds.

    A measuring a microscope with graduated scales was first used in the UK for comparing units of length but the two axis co-ordinate measuring version appears to have been developed first in the USA in the late 1800s for measuring the punches to make type casting moulds. Small micrometers could be purchased from France (Palmer) by 1850 but were not generally available at reasonable cost until US manufacture began in the 1870s. Some specialist measuring tools were introduced by Grossman while the American Watch Company developed its own. These high cost instruments and technologies were beyond practitioners in the Lancashire watch trade who were generally conservative in outlook.

    The pointing machine was available from Cary by about 1910 and was quickly developed into the jig boring machine,. Another essential instrument was the optical comparator that allowed actual tooth-forms to be compared with a drawing enabling wheels, pinions and depths to be examined after manufacture to see if they were within tolerance. This was patented in the late 1920s. The manufacture of interchangeable watch components was realised in part by the late 1930s. Even then, the best movements were finished by hand.

    Correction pg16 item P7 Arnold 30/120

    Signed and dated on the interior of the fusee by Thos Prest Sept 26 1791; not on the barrel.

    RJG

    John
     
  37. PapaLouies

    PapaLouies Registered User
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    Hi John,
    If this movement #19804 was made by Wycherley after Sept. 1867, the pillar plate will measure 1.76 inches diameter and have nothing to do with the Liverpool size or Lancashire gauge of 1.70 inches, The depth between plates near each pillar will be precise to the 1000 thousandth of an inch, and have no part of 1/144 inch.
    Regards, PL
     
  38. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    PL - your post has caused me to do further research - not a bad thing :)

    When I first read your comment I was somewhat confused, because I had thought that when Wycherley introduced his system of manufacture he not only based it on the existing Lancashire sizes, which he did, but that the sizes of the movements he produced were identical. I was mistaken in that belief. Thanks to your post I now understand that Wycherley introduced eight 'new' sizes, confusingly, continuing to use the same marks as those that existed for the existing Lancashire sizes. The differences in plate size can be seen in this table taken from Britten's Handbook Dictionary & Guide published in 1896.

    upload_2019-12-31_14-3-54.png

    As can be seen the differences between equivalent sizes are significant.

    PL you were absolutely correct when you said

    I have now measured each of the unfinished movements I have marked size 16 - they are all as you indicated 1.76 inches in diameter. The other three movements have maker's marks that I currently interpret to be of Richard Glover, Edward Scarisbrick and John Beesley.

    The date to which refer, I now realise is that date when Wycherley presented his approach to the BHI. In fact he took out his patent 26 March 1867 and it is believed that he started using the new sizes a little earlier. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any information regarding the distance between his plates. I suspect it might be defined in the patent, which I do not have.

    PL - If you can provide the corresponding 'between plate distances' for his eight sizes, it would be much appreciated.

    The following references provide background information:
    • HJ Vol 10 October 1867 - Wycherley's presentation to the BHI
    • AH Vol 7:1 December 1970, AH Vol 7:3 June 1971, AH Vol 8:2 March 1973 - letters relating to the Lancashire sizes and the American connection
    • Watch Movement Making in Prescot – Kemp AH Vol 13:1 (September 1981)
    • The Coventry Watch Movement Manufacturing Company Limited - D. H. Bacon AH Vol 20:6 (Summer 1993)
    • On excursions and on song : the BHI views new technology in the 1870s and 1880s - Alun C. Davies AH Vol 33:2 (December 2011)

    John
     
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  39. PapaLouies

    PapaLouies Registered User
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    Hi John,
    I've not found a statement by Wycherley describing the depth between plates of his movements. I do however suspect that all 16 size movements will be .117 inches between plates. I think it's likely that each size in relation to its corresponding size will have the same depth. My 16 size Wycherley movement is .117 inches between plates and I think yours will be the same.
    Regards, PL
     
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  40. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi PL,

    And is there a marking on the pillar plate for the pillar height?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  41. PapaLouies

    PapaLouies Registered User
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    Yes, 0/2 done to throw others off!
    Regards, PL
     
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  42. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Mine, as can be seen in the post 29 photograph, is also marked 0/2. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to measure with a precision of 0.001in. between the plates of an assembled movement.

    Using the Lancashire gauge 0/2 would equate to a 'between plate distance' of 1/8 - 2/144 = 0.111in.

    The difference between plate sizes is referenced in the BHI discussion of September, 1867, referenced above ...

    upload_2020-1-1_8-12-47.png

    What I find somewhat difficult to understand is the statement 'Mr Wycherley divided the inch by 28, so as to fall in with existing usage', given that the Lancashire gauge divided the inch by 30. I have no information regarding the reference to 'Mr. Frodsham's plan' to use 20.

    John
     
  43. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    Elsewhere in that same article from 1867, in a letter to the secretary of the BHI, Wycherley says:

    "...I make all pillars of a given height
    to the vernier slide gauge, each height
    being also arbitrarily defined in decimal
    parts of an inch to the finest measure of the
    gauge, and shall not in a single instance
    vary from such particular measure..."


    [my emphasis]

    It would appear from this that he did not use any of the (to us) odd fractions of an inch in the manufacturing processes, but that the factory's measurement system was based on a decimal calibrated vernier. In fact the whole article is illuminating, not only in its technical detail but also in revealing some of the trade's approach to Wycherley's efforts.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  44. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    He uses "arbitrarily defined in decimal parts of an inch" - which strikes me as being a no more logical approach than dividing an inch by 30, 144 or particularly 28. By 20 is more understandable - it being 50 thousands of an inch and providing a more straightforward conversion to decimal. Why 0.117in.?

    What was Wycherley's thinking in shifting from 30 to 28 and using arbitrarily defined measures? - was it just to be different and to prevent reuse of components/gauges developed for the existing Lancashire sizes? Taken with the continued use the Lancashire plate stamps, e.g. 16 0/2, to mean, entirely different dimensions, is hardly helpful to us now and I suspect to watch makers then. He was hardly falling in 'with existing usage'.

    John
     
  45. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    I believe that Wycherley was working with measuring instruments which were not readily available to the workmen who would continue the manufacturing processes and finish the watches he'd begun. To accommodate these later workers in the chain, the use of 'blocks' was his solution:

    "...equal uniformity shall be retained
    through all succeeding operations, so that
    should cap-maker, dial-maker, or casemaker,
    be supplied with one block each,
    they shall be able to supply their parts in
    unlimited quantities, and all fit alike on any
    movement of a given size and depth, without
    the movement or frame passing through
    their hands..."


    In other words, standard 'dummy' movements were supplied to the necessary parties, so that they did not need the expensive 'vernier slide gauges', accurate to 0.001".

    However, at this time his plates were not drilled for the train, but simply marked up, and the train wheels were made to an accuracy which allowed the final planting of the finished train without the then common (and wasteful) practice of drilling oversize and then plugging the large holes and re-drilling to plant the wheels. It was then but a small step to progress to planting the train at the correct depths in the initial manufacturing.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  46. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    Graham - yes, I agree that was the approach moving forward, but I don't understand the logic of changing the 'measurement system', which wasn't a necessary requirement to adopt the approach.

    The 1970 reference I quoted above includes an explanation of the origin of the Lancashire system - but to be honest, I find the explanation lacks clarity.

    To quote the author (J H F Wadsworth) ...

    "I at length however, unravelled its meaning. The Lancashire Movement Gauge, then, is a three inch rule subdivided duodecimally; a watch whose movement is one inch in diameter is said to be 0 size, and the second inch is subdivided into thirty equal parts or sizes, so that each size is 1/30th of an inch. Now, although the duodecimal division was the principle adopted, yet this term would not, by its name determine the size of the watch, because (the first inch in all cases was dropped) the technical size refers only to the size of the plate, or that upon which the movement is constructed, and not the brass edge or dial plate for which five sizes are added for what is termed the fall, that is for room to allow the works to open and shut in the case. An English size 16 watch is therefore 1 inch + 16/30 + 5/30 = 1.7 inches which shows little connection in point of measure with the technical size of the diameter of the watch."

    I struggle to see the relationship between 3 inch rule, duodecimal (12 or 0123456789AB) & 30 - am I being thick :???: ?

    However, the explanation regarding fall, i.e. that in the Lancashire Gauge the back plate is 5/30 or 0.166 (recurring) inches smaller in diameter than the pillar plate, is very helpful. It prompted me to check the difference in diameters for the Wycherley example from post #29. It is much smaller at 0.067in. for this size 16 movement. So another significant difference between the gauges.

    I then went on search for examples pre Wycherley, i.e. Lancashire Gauge examples. I was expecting that any pre 1865 examples I found with size stamps, would correspond to the Lancashire Gauge sizes: but not so.

    I first checked the size 10 0/3 movement on p. 7 of the document in post 1 above. David Penney dated this to be ~1850. The pillar plate 1.569in. the back plate 1.455in. It does not correspond to either gauge, but has plate size difference closer to that of the Lancashire Gauge.

    The other two movements that I measured were still in the cases. They had brass edges and their dials were in place. This made the accurate measurement of the pillar plate a little difficult, measurement of the back plate was easier. I believe the measurements are sufficiently accurate to justify the conclusion I make.

    The first was the 1848 single roller signed William Kneeshaw I posted here, the pillar plate stamped 18 8. The pillar plate ~1.75in. and the back plate 1.60in. (1.60 + 0.166 = 1.766) conforming to the Lancashire Gauge.

    The second was the 1850 Johnson Massey II, I posted here, the pillar plate stamped 16 2. The pillar plate ~1.70in. and the back plate 1.53in. (1.53 + 0.166 = 1.696) I believe this also conforms to the Lancashire Gauge.

    So from this small sample my tentative inferences of pre-Wycherley movements are:
    • examples may be size stamped in the Lancashire manner, but may neither conform to the Lancashire Gauge nor that of Wycherley;
    • examples that do confirm to the Lancashire gauge can be found pre 1850;
    • they can only be confirmed by careful measurement.
    It would also appear that movement plates after 1876, stamped with other movement makers marks (post #38 above), may also conform to the Wycherley Gauge sizes, however I believe that some of these may have been supplied with oversize holes. Examples require closer examination.

    John
     
  47. PapaLouies

    PapaLouies Registered User
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    #47 PapaLouies, Jan 1, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2020
    This works for Wycherley 1/8" - 2/250" = .117".
    Regards, PL

    I don't think Wycherley said 28.
     
  48. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    Reading further around the correspondence concerning this subject, (begun by a Mr. Laurance M. Leeds of Sun City, AZ, and responded to by JHF Wadsworth), another correspondent, a Mr. Myron Pleasure, of Jackson Heights, NY, suggests that Frodsham was wrong with his duodecimal explanation and was thinking of the French system, which does divide each inch (pouce) into twelve lignes.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  49. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User
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    That is how it was reported at the time .

    If Wycherley used a formula of the same form as the Lancashire Grade i.e. D=1+y+Xz where X=size and D= diameter of the plate then y=0.2in. and z=28/800

    Size 4 D=1+0.2+4*28/800 = 1.34in.
    Size 6 D=1+0.2+6*28/800 = 1.41in.
    ....
    Size 18 D= 1+0.2+18*28/800 = 1.83in.

    So it seems to me that he did use '28'

    True Graham, and Frodsham may have got it wrong. I quoted from the full Frodsham paragraph which Wadsworth quoted in response to the letter from Mr Pleasure to which refer. There was no subsequent reply to my knowledge.I suspect it is in the same Frodsham 1862 publication that may have contained the reference to using '20'.

    John
     
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  50. PapaLouies

    PapaLouies Registered User
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    Hi John,
    Try .07" between movements.
    Regards, PL
     
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