John Johnson fusee

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Dave Coatsworth, Jul 13, 2017.

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  1. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Super Moderator
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    Another from the estate of a collector who took everything apart and put nothing back together... Thought I would share this one while still apart. I'll update once I have it back together. This is a John Johnson of Liverpool. Solid gold case. STUNNING dial. The serial number on both the movement and case is 9706. As English watches are not my area of expertise, any information would be appreciated.
     
  2. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
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    Dave, very nice, hope all the parts are there... American cased, indicated by non English marks, typical for the period..With movement number same as the case..
    Massey III roller table .. I would date this to late 1830's to Mid 1940's, maybe a bit earlier .. I like the dial.. Did you find the dust cap ?
     
  3. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Super Moderator
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    Yes, I have the dust cap.
     
  4. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Dave,

    It's had some use, as indicated by the punched up top fusee pivot hole, a common enough practice over the years but now regarded as most barbaric. I'd be inclined to place it towards the end of John's date range because of the dial, which may conceivably be Swiss in origin.

    The level of polish on that roller is quite superb, no doubt done with the help of swing polisher tools.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  5. Lychnobius

    Lychnobius Registered User

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    This is the highest serial number I have yet seen for a John Johnson. I have a very tentative theory that for a while the firm used the name of John Houghton Johnson, who died young in 1836, as a grade-marker for seven-jewel movements. At least this new example does nothing to contradict this idea.

    Dave, does the cut-out for the cock-table in the dust-cap give any clue to the shape of the cock itself? Is it parallel-sided, giving the shape of an arched doorway, or does it taper from bottom to top?

    Oliver Mundy.
     
  6. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Oliver,

    Since the cock foot is tapered, I'd expect the table to be tapered as well.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  7. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Super Moderator
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    Thanks for the info, guys. I'll post photos of the cock and dust cap tonight.
     
  8. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Super Moderator
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    Cap and cock. About as plain as it gets...
     
  9. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User

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  10. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Dave,

    Is there anything stamped under the cock foot, and is the cock screw flat or raised?

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  11. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Super Moderator
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  12. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Dave,

    No idea who "I" might have been, but the flat screw in the countersink is right enough for the period. One day we'll see a balance cock foot signed for Edward Massey!

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  13. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User

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  14. pmwas

    pmwas Registered User
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    I love this watch, Dave, so beautiful!
     
  15. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Hi Graham/Dave,

    I have just been re-reading Bacon's Watchmaking in Llangollen by Robert Hughes, in trying to improve my understanding who did what in converting a raw movement to a finished movement. Bacon's account is the most detailed account that I know of the activities of a specific watchmaker who actually built watches. It is supported by a description of unfinished movements together with associated documents. Hughes, like many of his contemporaries, I assume, acquired the raw movements from Prescot and then much of the material needed to complete the movement was bought in. The account describes both tins containing individual components and also partly completed movements with the raw movements associated with a set of components necessary to produce the finished movement. Among the tins of individual components was one containing 'escape wheels with lever pallets wrapped as pairs' and one containing 'balance rollers'

    Hughes method of working I assume was typical of a watch maker who actually built the movements. The escapement would have been built from the individual bought in components and fitted to the balance cock which was part of the raw movement. I appreciate that Hughes was working in the last quarter of the C19th, but would not the more famous watchmakers from earlier in the century, have constructed their movements in-house, in order to ensure the quality of their product?.

    So (at last!) to my question - when we read that the escapement was provided/made by Massey and supplied to the well established watchmakers of London or Liverpool, what do you think was actually supplied? Alternatively, is there evidence that watchmakers such as Tobias, Joseph Johnson, Litherland etc. sent their movements out to Massey to fit the escapements? If the latter is the case then I can see that a Massey signed cock, might be a possibility.

    John
     
  16. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    As far as I know, it would have been necessary for the movement to be supplied to the escapement finisher for the work to be done. They couldn't ensure that everything fitted correctly by merely supplying a kit of parts. Movements were certainly much travelled in the course of their construction by the 'putting out' system, and this applied from the earliest days of Prescot's supremacy. I think that your final paragraph is broadly true. The difference between manufacturing and finishing should be clear, because there would have been a fair degree of matching and adjustment involved in the finishing. The mention of 'escape wheels with lever pallets wrapped as pairs' is a case in point, confirming that these two components would have been supplied already matched to each other.

    Have a look at Alan Smith's article on Richard Wright in AH Vol. 15 no. 6 and Alan Treherne's on the Lancashire trade in AH Vol. 31 no. 4.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  17. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    Graham - many thanks for the references. I still have much to understand and lots to read. Rather than continuing the discussion here, if (no when) I need further help understanding the method of working in the different centres and how it changed during the C19th, I will probably start a thread.

    John
     
  18. Allan C. Purcell

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    Hello Oliver.
    Some time ago I looked into the Johnson family watchmakers-not that I was interested in Johnson at the time- I could then, if I am honest, not afford a gold cased watch by him. I was at that time looking for information on another watchmaker. In the late 1800´s there were in England many non-conformist chapels-marriages in these chaples were not always recognised by the catholic church or church of England.so they then married in one of these-then in their chapel-in this case the ancient chapel Toxteth Liverpool. In the case of Joseph Johnson and his wife Mary Briers their children were baptised there.
    They were,
    John Houghton Johnson, 21 August 1808,
    Mary Johnson, 14 November 1809,
    Margaret Johnson, 18 September 1811,
    Alice Johnson, 6 May 1813,
    Joseph Johnson, 17 July 1815,
    Sarah Johnson, 14 March 1817,
    Elizabeth Johnson, 27 August 1819,
    Joseph Johnson, 11 May 1821,
    Ann Johnson, 13 December 1823.
    All baptisms Toxteth acient chapel Liverpool.
    The same applies to Joseph Johnsons parents, Richard Johnson married Alice Houghton at St. Mary Walton-on-the -Hill Liverpool on the 13 June 1773.
    It would appear Joseph and Mary Johnson did not have to much luck with their children. Their son Joseph born in 1815, and he must have died before 1821, they then named the next son Joseph Johnson. He would have been about six or seven years old when his father died in 1827. What happened him I don´t know.
    Now if we look at John Houghton Johnson-they are no records of an apprenticeship-and if he was trained by his father he would not have been free till 1829 at the age of 21. Though again there are no records or documents that say that he ever had anything to do with watchmaking. (Why did his mother run the business? and why not her son two years later?).You say he died in 1836, so in my humble oppinion to soon for the above watch. A photograph of the cock would be a great help.
    There is in Loomes a lot of space taken up with the name Johnson. If I am correct 41 are named John Johnson, you could ask him about the John Johnson Liverpool early 19th century, he may be able to help with a middle name.
    Wish I could help you more Oliver,

    Regards,

    Allan.
     
  19. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Super Moderator
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    And finally back together...
     
  20. PapaLouies

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    Hi Dave,

    Can you make-out the word stamped on the underside of the balance cock?

    Regards, PL
     
  21. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Super Moderator
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    I've stared at it a lot. I don't see a word. I see something that looks like either an 'I' or 'T', but it could also be a casting flaw as it is not crisp like a stamp would be.
     
  22. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    #22 gmorse, Jul 18, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
    Hi Dave,

    Perhaps PL is referring to this area?

    View attachment 350539

    I confess I can't make out anything there, and it could just be file marks or similar, but on the other hand . . .

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  23. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Super Moderator
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    I've tried but cannot make out anything legible in that area.
     
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