J.Lee,Liverpool

paulabc

Registered User
Sep 28, 2009
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I have a movement with Liverpool window jewelling, signed J.Lee Liverpool No 2077. The dial is a bit wrecked and it is missing it's roller from the escapement, othewise it looks complete, and could go.
I have found a John Lee, watchmaker age 40 in the 1841 census in Crosshall Street Liverpool. I would welcome any opinions and information on this watch.
 

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DaveyG

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Mar 21, 2005
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Clock & Watchmakers of The World Vol 1 (G H Baillie) lists:

James Lee, London Road, Liverpool, 1818
James Lee, Peter Street, Liverpool, 1818
John Lee, Liverpool, ca 1820.

Looking at the pictures it is not easy to decipher the text on the balance cock but my guess would be that it says 'Patent Detached' which would indicate a Massey type escapement. This opinion is reinforced, for me, by the large seconds chapter that extends as far as the centre of the dial which is a common feature of the Massey escapement watches. The crows foot legend on the regulator index, the 'daisy petal' collar around the end stone and the 'Liverpool Windows' would tend to confirm Liverpool manufacture. I note that the movement has 'stop piece' at, roughly, the 25 minute point, a screw missing from the barrel bridge and the dust cap missing from around the winding square.

As far as dating goes, that is not easy without the original case to pin it down by hallmark. The Massey escapement was patented in 1814 and used by (mainly) Liverpool makers up until around 1850; they seem to have been a little reluctant to adopt the English lever escapement. If your man John Lee was 40 in 1841 then he would just have finished his apprenticeship in 1820, had he started that at the age of 14. In theory he should then have spent a period of time working (usually 2 years) for his Master as a journeyman before he could branch out on his own. The style of the movement, I think, matches that period 1820 - 1850 with the fact that it has a plain rather than a bimetallic balance, tending to point towards the earlier part of that period and this view is reinforced, for me, by the shape of the balance cock which were made narrower and straight sided as time went on.
 

paulabc

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Sep 28, 2009
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Thanks DaveyG, that is very helpful. The words on the cock are patent at the waist and lever at the foot.
 

Les harland

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Apr 10, 2008
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Loomes Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World lists :-
Lee James Hart Street Liverpool (lancashire) 1824-9 ususally Lea
Lee John Whitechapel Liverpool (lancs) 1810 -24
 

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