John CROSS, London single roller fusee movement #32130 with Pennington 'T' balance

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by John Matthews, Apr 16, 2019.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Check it out in the NAWCC Events forum:
    Talk about the upcoming National Meeting
    If you love watches or clocks you've got to come!
  1. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,614
    469
    83
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    This John Cross single roller, with its Pennington 'T' balance, dates from ~1825 and is similar to that discussed in the post started by Ray here.

    The standard reference for Pennington balances is the paper by Vaudrey Mercer in Antiquarian Horology of Spring 1981. In the September 2013 issue of the same publication, A D Stewart published a history of the firm and their chronometers. The firm commenced with Robert Pennington. Born in Kendal he was working in London from ~1777. After his death in 1813, the firm continued under his son Robert and then his grandson John. Stewart describes how when Robert senior started to make chronometers, he began to experiment with designs to improve the performance of the compensated balance. His designs included the provision of tapped holes in the rim to receive compensation screws where required, rather than achieving adjustment by sliding weights as used in the Earnshaw balance.

    Mercer describes four types of balance, identified as types 'YCC', 'Double T', Double L' and the 'Screw type'; the latter described as the forerunner of the modern compensated balance. The design of all four types included a means to temporarily secure the free end of the balance while the temperature screws were being adjusted. The 'YCC' type, the most complicated, is thought to be the earliest and I believe the least commonly found. As for the remaining three types, it is believed that he 'Screw' type was the final variant. Unfortunately, many of the surviving examples, have been separated from their cases.

    According to Stewart, all of the four types were developed before the death of Robert senior. He gives examples of the 'YCC', 'T' & 'L' types from the first years of the C19th and indicates that the 'screw' type appeared ~1810. He also asserts that the 'Double L' became 'so common as to constitute a kind of Pennington trade mark' and this is reflected in the Pennington made watches from 1810 to 1815 in David Penney's archive. A Barrauds chronometer with a Pennington balance of the 'Double L' type from ~1815 is also known.

    After Robert senior's death, the younger Robert ran the business but did not, according to Stewart, innovate the balance designs of his father, However, his sons James and John did attempt modifications, but without notable success. John exhibited a design in 1851 that attempted to cure the middle temperature error, but it was too complicated for general use.

    John Cross is known to have been one of the early adopters of the Pennington balance and it may be that Pennington firm made the balances for Cross. While this is possible, I think it may be significant that John Cross examples, known to me, use the 'Double T' design rather that the 'Double L' design that Stewart describes as that favoured by Pennington. David Penney also identifies a movement that he believes was made for Charles Hill by John Cross, with the 'Double T' balance.

    20190414 001.jpg 20190414 002.jpg 20190414 003.jpg 20190414 004.jpg

    This movement, #32130 has a particularly interesting 18ct gold dial, which is not only partially hallmarked, there is no date letter, but also carries the initials of the dial maker, viz.'FH' believed to be Frederick Humbert, a gold case maker of Bloomsbury.

    20190416 004.jpg 20190416 004-2.jpg 20190416 004-3.jpg

    The cap also carries a makers mark 'RE' frequently found on London caps from the 1820's. (I still have not been able to find any candidates to match these initials).

    20190414 005.jpg 20190414 005-2.jpg

    The size 15 movement does not carry any makers marks but is jewelled to the third with cap jewels on the balance and the lever.

    20190416 003.jpg 20190416 011.jpg 20190416 007.jpg 20190416 009.jpg

    Unfortunately, it is a non-runner. The balance pivot shows signs of having been broken for some time. There is also evidence of rather crude removal of material from the underside of one of the affixes.

    20190416 017.jpg 20190416 020.jpg 20190416 014-2.jpg


    Apart from that and the absence of hands, the movement is in good order, with a particularly well crafted small rack type counterpoise to the lever.

    20190416 013.jpg 20190416 015.jpg 20190416 016.jpg 20190416 027.jpg

    John
     
  2. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    9,653
    777
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi John,

    Yes, it's a pity someone's been hacking about with this rather uncommon balance.

    20190416 013_edit.jpg

    The other affix, (green), has been molested as well, the blue screw is different from its mates, the red screw has been shortened and the screw opposite the blue appears to be too far in. If it poises even statically I'd be surprised.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
    Keith R... and Omexa like this.
  3. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,614
    469
    83
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Graham - yes, it is molested.

    I think the blue screw is possibly the only one that is of the original length. It appears to me that the red screw was crudely filed in position when the affix was molested - it has the same inclination as the filed portion of the affix.

    upload_2019-4-16_18-0-40.png

    The two screws on the other affix appear to me to have had their tip removed with a hack saw!

    There is evidence that when it last worked the balance was catching the underside of the balance cock ...

    20190416 028.jpg

    Hopefully I can find someone up to the challenge!

    John
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  4. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    4,866
    484
    83
    Male
    Retired
    Darwin, Australia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi John, I really like your John Cross movement; pity about the Butchery. I have included a photo of the Balance Adjuster, just in case you need him again? Regards Ray

    Butcher,_late_19th_century.jpg
     
  5. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    4,866
    484
    83
    Male
    Retired
    Darwin, Australia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi John, a really stunning Dial; I have included photos of my 2 John Cross movements. Regards Ray

    1.jpg 2.JPG
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  6. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    4,866
    484
    83
    Male
    Retired
    Darwin, Australia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Oh Shock Horror, I just realized that the "Balance Adjuster", looks like me in my younger days! Regards Ray
     
  7. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,614
    469
    83
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    But Ray it looks to me as if you haven't aged ....

    upload_2019-4-17_19-26-49.png

    John
     
    gmorse and Omexa like this.
  8. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    4,866
    484
    83
    Male
    Retired
    Darwin, Australia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi John, on a more serious note John Cross made some really nice movements; I think that most of them were in Gold Cases; long gone unfortunately, you are very lucky that the Dial did not go the same way. Regards Ray
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  9. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,614
    469
    83
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    #9 John Matthews, Apr 18, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
    Hi Ray - I agree.

    David Penney believes he was a 'real' maker, which he infers, in part, from trade directory entries that describe him as a 'watch and clock wholesaler'. Certainly it appear from the few examples I have found that they have some consistent characteristics and David has used these to ascribe one example of his work, a ~1825 movement for Charles Hill. The features David uses, are the distinctive cock and the 'Double T' balance. I would add to that the 'Savage type' lever counterpoise, the cap jewels on the level, and the cap stamped 'RE'.

    Including your two examples I have found 8 examples of his work, of which only one is cased - this from an Australian dealer, which I will come to shortly as it needs to be considered separately.

    Of the remaining 7, one other (#29346) has pivots set as your #8848, the remainder are jewelled to the 3rd, the lever with cap jewels. Of the balances, your #8848 is the only one that has a solid balance. All the remainder have the 'Double T' balance and a counterpoised lever. That is apart from #9848 which has an early example of Pennington's 'screw type' balance. All those with surviving caps are stamped 'RE'.

    Ray - It looks as if #8848 has the counterpoise lever - can you please confirm.

    Here is a link to the 18ct cased example sold in Australia. As can be seen this is a 3/4 plate with a plain gold(?) balance. The movement is jewelled to the fourth with a capped jewel on the lever. The signature is different, 'John B Cross 70 Cornhill'. The watch was purchased by a member of the forum and there is a brief post here.

    Whether this is the same Cross or possibly his son? I am uncertain. Loomes has an entry for John 'Berryhill' Cross working in Cornhill from 1839-63 and John Cross in Charterhouse Square from 1819-55 (possibly later). Britten has the following ..

    John Cross (Britten)001.jpg

    Needs further research.

    Anyone come across his clocks?

    I have only found this ..

    upload_2019-4-18_10-41-15.png

    John
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  10. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    5,090
    1,264
    113
    Male
    Retired Sr. Proj. mgr,
    South
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    John, I was telling Ray on the phone, a hallmark on a gold dial is a first for me.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Keith R...
     
  11. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,614
    469
    83
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Keith - first for me as well.

    David Penney remarked it was unusual and that most gold dials are 14ct, whereas this is 18ct. I only have one other similar dial, also with white and pink gold (Johnson #2296). Just removed the dial and confirmed that it isn't marked. Both are quite thin, the Johnson slightly thicker and I guess it is 14ct.

    John
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  12. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    4,866
    484
    83
    Male
    Retired
    Darwin, Australia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi all, here is my nicest very heavy Gold Dial; Josh Johnson, Serial Number 8597. Regards Ray

    4.JPG
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  13. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,614
    469
    83
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Ray - I thought my #2296 was heavy from its appearance, until I removed it from the brass edge.

    upload_2019-4-20_18-31-10.png

    upload_2019-4-20_18-32-51.png

    I was surprised how thin it was ...

    upload_2019-4-20_18-35-11.png

    John

    PS - did you see my question in post #9 above ...

    Ray - It looks as if #8848 has the counterpoise lever - can you please confirm.

     
    Keith R... likes this.
  14. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    4,866
    484
    83
    Male
    Retired
    Darwin, Australia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi John, I did look for it but I have not found it yet. I will have another look today. I am doing Computer work at the moment to try to make some money. Regards Ray
     
  15. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    4,866
    484
    83
    Male
    Retired
    Darwin, Australia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Found it; just an ordinary Lever Escapement. Regards Ray
     
  16. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

    Jul 26, 2015
    8,172
    291
    83
    Male
    retired and on my second career
    Dorset
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Does a T balance mean a T cross section balance wheel, a double T a rolled I Beam?
     
  17. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,614
    469
    83
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Nick - here are the diagrams from Mercer's paper that I think are self explanatory ...

    upload_2019-4-20_20-9-51.png

    contrasting with the other two common types ...

    upload_2019-4-20_20-10-50.png

    Hope that helps ...

    John
     
  18. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,614
    469
    83
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Thanks Ray - so no counterpoise

    John
     
  19. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 28, 2010
    4,866
    484
    83
    Male
    Retired
    Darwin, Australia
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi, John Cross probably made my movement early in his Watchmaking days; I wonder if it was made by the Father? Regards Ray
     
  20. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

    Jul 26, 2015
    8,172
    291
    83
    Male
    retired and on my second career
    Dorset
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    ah that makes more sense, I was getting confused
     
  21. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    5,090
    1,264
    113
    Male
    Retired Sr. Proj. mgr,
    South
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I put my Johnson dial up in the Pretty cases thread. It's 18K, but not marked, e-tested.

    Keith R...
     
  22. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 16, 2008
    10,780
    201
    63
    UK
    Country Flag:
    My (now) famous Parkinson & Frodsham has a hallmarked dial:

    60 7 Parkinson & Frodsham.JPG

    The maker's mark "WM" (barely visible to the left of the "18" mark" is that of the maker of the case too.
     
    Keith R..., John Matthews and Omexa like this.
  23. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,614
    469
    83
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Martin,

    Posting your 'infamous #999' and reminding us that the maker's mark 'WM' is both on the dial and the case, is useful in two respects. I believe it was established that the mark was possibly that of William Mean, who is listed as a case maker in Priestley. For the Cross it was the mark of Frederick Humbert, listed In Priestley as a gold case maker in Bloomsbury. From these two instances I think we are fairly safe in inferring that the goldsmiths making gold cases also were making the gold dials and secondly, that the movements with the gold dials were originally housed in gold cases. Not earth-shattering conclusions, but probably worth stating.

    John
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  24. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 16, 2008
    10,780
    201
    63
    UK
    Country Flag:
    Well worth stating, John!

    I guess that "gold dial means gold case" is pretty close to an absolute.

    "Gold casemakers also making gold dials" is now demonstrated to be a reality, but I doubt that it was anything close to common. My instinct says to me that the skills necessary are very different.
     
    Keith R... and Omexa like this.
  25. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    9,653
    777
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Martin,

    Yes, I believe that imported fancy dials from Switzerland were probably more common than the home-grown articles.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
    Keith R... and Omexa like this.
  26. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,614
    469
    83
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Graham/Martin,

    I read up on gold dials in 'The English Watch' after I purchased the Cross and looked at the illustrated examples. I didn't spot any reference to imported gold dials, viz.

    'A few gold dials, typically with engine-turned centres and numerals on a contrasting ground, either engraved and filled, or, much more frequently, of taised polished gold, were fitted by London makers after about 1810. They became popular with Liverpool makers, especially after about 1820, when frequently they were given vari-coloured gold decoration.' [1775-1825] and 'Gold and silver dials, some engraved, some with applied decoration, always had a following' [1825-1970].​

    So while I can well believe that fancy dials dials may have been imported, I have failed to find any reference to examples of such dials on English made watches in English hallmarked cases.

    Can either of you help me out with the evidence from actual examples of English movements with continental gold dials?

    John
     
    Keith R... likes this.
  27. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 7, 2011
    9,653
    777
    113
    Male
    Retired from Xerox
    Breamore, Hampshire, UK
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi John,

    I need to do some digging to find a reference to this, but my impression is that the possible Swiss dials are seen on later and more modest English watches. The dials with pictorial centres showing landscapes and architecture which clearly don't represent anywhere in the UK are what I have in mind. I can't recall seeing this feature on dials which are identifiably English in origin.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
    Keith R... and Omexa like this.
  28. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

    Sep 22, 2015
    1,614
    469
    83
    Retired Systems Architect
    France
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hi Graham,

    Your thoughts mirror my thinking for later modest quality English watches and Swiss 'would be English if I can fool you' examples - the higher quality English movements by authentic London & Liverpool makers are more likely to have English made dials.

    I did a very quick search on the forum and found this - which is of the type of dial I had in mind, but on a more typical Liverpool lever with a fictitious signature. I also found this - Swiss dials with some gold work on American movements. This one that I thought was a Coventry movement in a Chester hallmarked case, is more of a puzzler and finally the second watch in this post by Art, which I think might have an English dial, if I understand the comparison he was making.

    John
     
    Keith R... and Omexa like this.

Share This Page