brag Late 18th Century Vale & Co Coventry Pocket Watch

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
3,764
1,892
113
France
Country
Region
Is there a book on tool markings that help trace any of the 20-50 crafts people who worked at that time
Astral - if I understand your request, i.e. is there a book that will list all the people who may have worked on your watch? the answer is no.

Very, very few of the workers left their mark on the component of the watch that they made. You do sometimes, when the watch is dismantled for service/restoration, find maker's initials on the two main plates that support the escapement. Through research it may be possible to identify a short list of possible candidates, by matching the initials to listings of workers at the time. This is by referring to contemporary trade directories.

C18th trade directories are thin on the ground. Your watch was finished in Coventry, but it is probable that much of the initial work producing the plates and the escapement into an unfinished state, was performed in Lancashire, in and around Prescot. There is a trade directory for 1795 which you can find on this site. If you read through you will see many occupation descriptions of workers involved in the watch trade. Prescot was very much the industrial hub for watchmaking at this time and some of those listed may have worked on your watch.

In contrast the listing for Coventry are not so detailed and the occupation of those involved is simply described as watch & clock maker. It is not until we move to the Coventry directories of the C19th, when the industry in the town expanded, that we find more detailed descriptions. This does not mean that some of the workers were not performing the tasks described in the Prescot directory, but they would have been relatively few. Those that did were, in my opinion, likely to have been working almost exclusively for the dominant watch maker at the time, Vale & Co. Even in those cases they were probably working on movements that had started their life in Lancashire.

Here is the listing from a Coventry trade directory from the time your watch was finished.

1623413962352.png

and this from 1818 - when occupations were starting to be described in more detail ...

1623414055215.png

Hope that helps.

John
 
  • Like
Reactions: AstralGraham

Allan C. Purcell

NAWCC Member
Feb 9, 2013
3,430
1,561
113
Germany
Country
Region
Astral, let's talk about your watch key. On the first photograph on post one, there looks to be a dirty piece of old string tied to the watch at one end and the key at the other. In fact, I believe this is a homemade watch chain, made of human hair. It was a fashion at the time your watch was made. (See photograph one below). The key looks very much like the keys made by local jewellers or even watchmakers of the same period. Finding another would be hard indeed. Watch keys come in every type and style you can imagine, there are of course those made for the wealthy that fetch now a fortune in their own right down to the chap at home who made them because he could. To make this short, the key you have and the hair chain COULD be original, but how to prove it is beyond me, all I can say is it's 50-50 .

zzz-13.jpg These were on sale not to long ago by Dr Crott. These are the keys for the upper 10,000.

zzz-14.JPG

These I just put together, the outer is a Hair Chain like the one on your watch, the inner one is for a gentleman's pocket watch, The round key with the amber button is homemade with a Swedish coin dated 1778. Have a look when you have time at the thread "Pocket Watch Key-Show me your Keys".

R/.

Allan
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
13,856
3,003
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Astral,

To expand on what John has posted, this is a list of the trades involved in watchmaking, published in the Rees Cyclopedia in 1819/20. There are several terms in it which may not be familiar now, but please ask if anything is obscure.

Regards,

Graham
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: AstralGraham

AstralGraham

Registered User
May 30, 2021
31
15
8
Country
Astral - if I understand your request, i.e. is there a book that will list all the people who may have worked on your watch? the answer is no.

Very, very few of the workers left their mark on the component of the watch that they made. You do sometimes, when the watch is dismantled for service/restoration, find maker's initials on the two main plates that support the escapement. Through research it may be possible to identify a short list of possible candidates, by matching the initials to listings of workers at the time. This is by referring to contemporary trade directories.

C18th trade directories are thin on the ground. Your watch was finished in Coventry, but it is probable that much of the initial work producing the plates and the escapement into an unfinished state, was performed in Lancashire, in and around Prescot. There is a trade directory for 1795 which you can find on this site. If you read through you will see many occupation descriptions of workers involved in the watch trade. Prescot was very much the industrial hub for watchmaking at this time and some of those listed may have worked on your watch.

In contrast the listing for Coventry are not so detailed and the occupation of those involved is simply described as watch & clock maker. It is not until we move to the Coventry directories of the C19th, when the industry in the town expanded, that we find more detailed descriptions. This does not mean that some of the workers were not performing the tasks described in the Prescot directory, but they would have been relatively few. Those that did were, in my opinion, likely to have been working almost exclusively for the dominant watch maker at the time, Vale & Co. Even in those cases they were probably working on movements that had started their life in Lancashire.

Here is the listing from a Coventry trade directory from the time your watch was finished.

View attachment 658455

and this from 1818 - when occupations were starting to be described in more detail ...

View attachment 658456

Hope that helps.

John
Thanks so very much John. I am so drivin and will be at our house in Windsor MO just 8 miles away from the Lewis Cemetery. Tha k you times a million. I’m checking those out now. Cheers and thanks!. .
 

AstralGraham

Registered User
May 30, 2021
31
15
8
Country
Ah
Astral, let's talk about your watch key. On the first photograph on post one, there looks to be a dirty piece of old string tied to the watch at one end and the key at the other. In fact, I believe this is a homemade watch chain, made of human hair. It was a fashion at the time your watch was made. (See photograph one below). The key looks very much like the keys made by local jewellers or even watchmakers of the same period. Finding another would be hard indeed. Watch keys come in every type and style you can imagine, there are of course those made for the wealthy that fetch now a fortune in their own right down to the chap at home who made them because he could. To make this short, the key you have and the hair chain COULD be original, but how to prove it is beyond me, all I can say is it's 50-50 .

View attachment 658457 These were on sale not to long ago by Dr Crott. These are the keys for the upper 10,000.

View attachment 658458

These I just put together, the outer is a Hair Chain like the one on your watch, the inner one is for a gentleman's pocket watch, The round key with the amber button is homemade with a Swedish coin dated 1778. Have a look when you have time at the thread "Pocket Watch Key-Show me your Keys".

R/.

Allan
ahhahaha! I love your keys! So beautiful. The thread is knitted in places - it came that way a bit like a rosary bu with 3-6 knobs. It has a flower and you have a key that looks l’immolât in size and shape on the second slide with just a head showing on a similar square shape. Thank you for showing me your key collection! W-O-W
 

AstralGraham

Registered User
May 30, 2021
31
15
8
Country
Hi Astral,

That is a beautiful watch! These watches are rarer than most common verge fusee watches. I have seen one other by Vale & Co of this design. I really appreciate you sharing it. I hope you will share some photos of the movement with us.

Unfortunately, I do have to tell you that it is likely not a watch owned by George Washington. It is well documented that George Washington did purchase a watch around 1790 but it was not English.

In 1788, George Washington requested that Gov. Morris procure him a pocket watch in Paris. Morris was very candid in his search for a reputable maker. Romilly was briefly considered but was thought of as too 'old school' and a 'rogue'. In the end, Washington purchased a virgule escapement by the inventor himself, Lepine. You can read the letter in the link below. There is also an old video of it being inspected and cleaned by the curators of the institute that owns it, but I can't seem to locate it.

Founders Online: To George Washington from Gouverneur Morris, 23 February 1789
To George Washington from Gouverneur Morris, 23 February 1789
founders.archives.gov
founders.archives.gov

Here is an interesting link to a record of Presidential watches:

Kind Regards,
Chris
Hi Chris,

Although this is quite earlier, I found this in some archives of an Invoice from Robert Cary & Company, who Betty & George later garnered purchases through.

I really appreciate all of your help.
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: aucaj

AstralGraham

Registered User
May 30, 2021
31
15
8
Country
I have not had much luck looking up "1798/99 and the maker's mark IH (unfortunately it appears to have been double stamped), is for John Hadley."

More to follow - I've ordered some old wills from a Colonial Records database through my graduate school: Johns Hopkins University.
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
13,856
3,003
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Astral,
I have not had much luck looking up "1798/99 and the maker's mark IH (unfortunately it appears to have been double stamped), is for John Hadley."
John was using the standard reference book for hallmarks in English watch cases, 'British Watchcase Gold & Silver Marks 1670 to 1970', by Philip T. Priestley. There are other references for gold and silver articles in general but this book is the only one dedicated to watch cases.

All silver and gold workers had to be registered in one or more of the UK assay offices, and they had to have a unique stamp, usually of their initials, which couldn't be used by more than one worker at a time, so there's a variety of shield shapes and fonts to differentiate the marks. John Hadley registered this particular mark at Goldsmith's Hall in London on August 9th 1817, which involved stamping his punch into a metal sheet and having his name and address details recorded in an associated ledger. These plates and ledgers have fortunately largely survived for London and many other assay offices around the country, and are the source for the extensive research by Philip Priestley for his book.

Three assay offices are most met with in English watch cases; London, Birmingham and Chester, others are much less common, (Liverpool, a major watchmaking centre, has never had its own assay office).

Regards,

Graham
 

Dr. Jon

Moderator
NAWCC Member
Dec 14, 2001
7,097
1,434
113
New Hampshire
Country
Region
There is small chance of finding the people who built your watch. The Guildhall Library in London has the collected papers of the Clockmakers guild, which included many watchmakers.. These include the ledgers of several makers. If they have the ledger for Vale for the time you watch was made, it will have a page listing each trade a name or initials, what they were paid, and when. I have several 19th century watches and the work pages for them. As a bonus there is lot to see and do there if you visit the hall. Most of teh clocks and watches went to the Science Museum but I beleive the paper are still at the Guildhall Library,

Here is a sample.

page_s.jpg

This is from 1903 and came from a private source but it is the same type of information. The last two 5 shilling entries were a=for conversion from a full to a half hunter case. Each page has the serial number for the watch.

In this I am assuming this system was on place in the late 1700's, that the ledgers survived and that the Guildhall Library has them, but they are available for a lot of English watches,
 
  • Like
Reactions: AstralGraham

AstralGraham

Registered User
May 30, 2021
31
15
8
Country
Hello after too long of an absence. I have finished my paper (Human-Computer Interaction Glow Up: Examining Operational Trust and Intention Towards Mars Autonomous Systems | ASCEND 2021) and have done a ton of research on this pocket watch. I can trace the watch from the Washington lineage (we have it by marraige so NOT a blood relative). However, I cannot for the entire life of me find any other cock in any online access musum in the world, that has a portrait like this one. As a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, I have made copious and extensive use of their global libraries, and limited in my vocabulary to-be-sure, I put in all of the data you all presented in various databases and have come up empty handed.

I haven't even been able to identify any similair foresic tool marks that are similar (Knowing what Graham posted about the 50+ laborers), a few close calls but I am leaning on the cock being made in France or Switzerland perhaps and added to the Vale & Company part. But I have not had enough time to research those countries.

Except that there was quite a bit of artistic movement during the French Revolution War I found interesting as far as who was influencing whom.

I am putting together a bit of a PowerPoint presentation I would love your thoughts on when completed.

Also like to take up some offers on a good hard investigation and possible repair for the ol' gal :)

Thanks so much and I have missed you all so much.
Astral
 
  • Like
Reactions: PatH

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
13,856
3,003
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Astral,
However, I cannot for the entire life of me find any other cock in any online access musum in the world, that has a portrait like this one.
I haven't even been able to identify any similair foresic tool marks that are similar (Knowing what Graham posted about the 50+ laborers), a few close calls but I am leaning on the cock being made in France or Switzerland perhaps and added to the Vale & Company part. But I have not had enough time to research those countries.
In view of the way these balance cocks were made, on individual orders by engravers who would have had considerable freedom in their choice of design, subject and treatment, I'm not surprised that you haven't found another identical example. However, such profile portraits on English watches are known on what appear to be commemorative pieces. For instance, portraits of Nelson are found from around the period of his death in 1805, although the resemblance to the real subject is sometimes rather tenuous. I very much doubt if this one was imported; although some specific Swiss components were certainly bought in from abroad later in the 19th century for economic reasons, I can see no stylistic or any other clues suggesting that this is anything other than English work.

It's easy to go down rabbit holes in a search for clues to origins and I fear you may be over-thinking this.

Regards,

Graham
 
  • Like
Reactions: AstralGraham

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
3,764
1,892
113
France
Country
Region
Astral - I agree with Graham comments.

As to the watch movement and its case I respectfully suggest that you separate what is standard and what is unusual.

The engraving of English balance cocks with a the portrait figure is more commonly seen on movements from approximately 1780 to 1810. However such designs were still relatively uncommon compared with other decoration, e.g. masks, animals and objects. So the style is uncommon, rather than being unique. However, as Graham has explained the engraving of each cock was done individually and in that respect each is unique in its fine detail. The engraver may have been working to a pattern. Perhaps of a figure in the news at the time, or to a pattern provided by the customer. Many I suspect were done as a result of a specific order. There is no evidence that this was not engraved in England and almost certainly it was done in Coventry.

Similarly, the movement has unusual, but not unique, features. Some added complications over and above the typical verge that was being produced by Vale and Co at the time. The centre-seconds and the offset hour and minute dial are clear evidence of this. About this time they also produced a few verges that had a calendar function. Again I suspect all these examples with added complications were to special order.

Finally the case. This is the only example, that I know, of a movement engraved Vale & Comp, that appears to be in an original English case that was assayed in London. I believe the maker was John Hadley who registered a stamp [IH incuse] on 17 December, 1789 a mark that he used until 1801. All movements, known to me, that are engraved Vale & Comp, and believed to be in their original cases, were cased locally in Coventry and assayed at the Birmingham assay office. From 1816 the company registered its own mark with the Birmingham office and brought the manufacture of cases under their closer control.

So putting this altogether I think it is reasonable to infer that this watch was probably a 'special' order. Where the order originated it is impossible to be certain, but it appears that the watch spent some time in London where it was cased. It is also possible that the dial and motion work may have been made in London at the same time.

As to establishing the subsequent providence - that's another matter.

I hope that helps.

John
 
Last edited:

Allan C. Purcell

NAWCC Member
Feb 9, 2013
3,430
1,561
113
Germany
Country
Region
Hello Astral.
Nice to see you back again, I had thought you had sold the watch for millions. and retired to the Bahamas. or maybe London or Paris. Going back then to this thread, I don´t think you were too far away from the truth. when it comes to watch-cocks. I have quite often thought that these small wonders were made on the continent. If they were or not, the fact remains they were a cottage industry, and in the main made by women, and in some cases by children. There really is very little known about the history, and how they were sold, but again common sense tells us they were not made for nothing. I think they were made in small batches, and then sold on to someone who would gather the many cocks from here and there, much like the File cutters of Prescot. There is very little evidence that cocks were made in England, for instance, there are no known pattern books made in England, though there are from France, Holland. and Germany. It needs more research.

Keep up the good work, and keep fit.

"Always remember the earth is a shiny globe, in a dark room"

10-24.JPG



 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: AstralGraham

Allan C. Purcell

NAWCC Member
Feb 9, 2013
3,430
1,561
113
Germany
Country
Region
Astral, I have just read my post above, and the impression is there was no watch-cocks made in the UK. That is wrong, it was the verge watches I was talking about in the main, and I do think the large amount of verge watch-cocks were made on the continent, later the cocks were made in England as they became smaller, it´s just that there is practically nothing written about it. I will try and find out more.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AstralGraham

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
3,764
1,892
113
France
Country
Region
Allan - I am not understanding the verge cocks to which you refer as being made on the Continent.

Without exception all of the unfinished movements I have recorded from the beginning of the C19th already have their plain cocks (without engraving, piercing or chasing) present, whether they were produced in Lancashire or Coventry. So I assume you are referring to earlier examples. I have to infer that you believe that cocks made in continental Europe were being imported and used on verge watches in the period that the watch under discussion here was made, the mid 1780s.

Here is a composite photograph 40 English signed movements from 1758 to 1800 from my photographic collection.

1639692516975.png

Perhaps you are referring to those from an earlier period. Here are a further 40 examples for the first half of the C18th.

1639692725001.png

I would be interested to understand which of these cocks you believe were not made in England.

John
 
  • Like
Reactions: AstralGraham

Allan C. Purcell

NAWCC Member
Feb 9, 2013
3,430
1,561
113
Germany
Country
Region
Hi John,
I cannot do as you ask with that photographic list you have made, I would say a good collection for determining when the watches were made. You may not agree, but I am convinced that Thomas Tompion brought them over from Europe. Of course, you will have read "Tompion 300" I feel he needed an eye-catcher, They are truly works of art with those realistic faces, George Graham used them too, but I think when they, were no more available, he changed to a probably cheaper cock maker, but who was he, is the question, and where was he? Where in England is there a list of Balance cock makers, it would be of interest.

Thanks again John for your interest.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AstralGraham

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
3,764
1,892
113
France
Country
Region
There is very little evidence that cocks were made in England, for instance
Allan if you check the Prescot directories from 1850 onwards you will find that 'watch cock makers' are listed as a separate profession - between 15 and 20 individual makers in some directories. Many of those listed were also listed in the now unavailable Liverpool Museum database as frame or movement makers, some as both. For example Frederick Case is listed as a cock maker in 1855 and 1869 Prescot directories, and was listed as both a frame and movement maker in the Liverpool database.

In my opinion the earlier 'missing listings of cock makers' is simply because their 'profession' was hidden in the more general listing of movement and particularly frame makers. These cock makers will have produced blank cocks that will have been sold on as unfinished movements that would subsequently have been engraved, pierced and chased. If we move further back through the centuries I think it is more likely that the cocks would have been made bespoke at a later stage of the manufacture of individual pieces. Initially as fitted blanks that would have subsequently been 'decorated'.

John
 

Allan C. Purcell

NAWCC Member
Feb 9, 2013
3,430
1,561
113
Germany
Country
Region
John, I agree with all you say above. Many of those names you got from my threads on Prescot. I am at the moment talking about balance cocks made, or should we say bought in, the 1700s. Thought I made it clear on post 64.

Allan.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AstralGraham

AstralGraham

Registered User
May 30, 2021
31
15
8
Country
Hello Astral.
Nice to see you back again, I had thought you had sold the watch for millions. and retired to the Bahamas. or maybe London or Paris. Going back then to this thread, I don´t think you were too far away from the truth. when it comes to watch-cocks. I have quite often thought that these small wonders were made on the continent. If they were or not, the fact remains they were a cottage industry, and in the main made by women, and in some cases by children. There really is very little known about the history, and how they were sold, but again common sense tells us they were not made for nothing. I think they were made in small batches, and then sold on to someone who would gather the many cocks from here and there, much like the File cutters of Prescot. There is very little evidence that cocks were made in England, for instance, there are no known pattern books made in England, though there are from France, Holland. and Germany. It needs more research.

Keep up the good work, and keep fit.

"Always remember the earth is a shiny globe, in a dark room"

View attachment 685739



HA, HA! Same to you too Allan. I couldn't decide on which island I wanted but I'm currently in the process of narrowing my Château choices now ;) And Graham is totally correct about my rabbit hole!

I have really inspected the decorative elements and found, in comparison to what you, Graham, John and others own, mine has some pretty glaring unrefinments. Perhaps, in part, due to it's final colonial destination? Or possibly, as said in earlier chats, because the design details on the inside were not entirely appreciated by their original owners? However, I put some red arrows where it really is apparent to my unrefined eye. I LOVE how intoxicated I have become with the mastery of how many seperate artists and experts went into one final product.
1. Under Vale & Compy it looks like it was hammered out and re-written either over another inscription but most likely to get the Vale & Compy script to fit.
2. The numbers on back of the dial where the hand is missing are not the original numbers that can easily be seen painted on. The original numbers are also smoothed over and these numbers appear. The 20, 10, 60 & 50 were different numbers hard to tell what they were.
3. The biggest glaring mark is that the decorative cock does not match up in the slightest to the seam of the inscription plate. Where the little screw and bolt with Vale and Compy Coventry script abutt the bottom part the design doesn't flow in pattern or color closest to the largest screw

On the lineage front - I have traced the paperwork in our family that makes reference and newpapers from the 1800's but will keep you posted on this cliff hanger of the adventure of how such an unusual pocket watch landed in the middle of Midwest Missouri.

So good to be back and here from everyone again.

Cheers and always thanks,
Astral

Markings_Noted.jpeg
 

AstralGraham

Registered User
May 30, 2021
31
15
8
Country
Allan - I am not understanding the verge cocks to which you refer as being made on the Continent.

Without exception all of the unfinished movements I have recorded from the beginning of the C19th already have their plain cocks (without engraving, piercing or chasing) present, whether they were produced in Lancashire or Coventry. So I assume you are referring to earlier examples. I have to infer that you believe that cocks made in continental Europe were being imported and used on verge watches in the period that the watch under discussion here was made, the mid 1780s.

Here is a composite photograph 40 English signed movements from 1758 to 1800 from my photographic collection.

View attachment 685801

Perhaps you are referring to those from an earlier period. Here are a further 40 examples for the first half of the C18th.

View attachment 685802

I would be interested to understand which of these cocks you believe were not made in England.

John
I am completely speechless with your private museum collection. I just told my partner it's no wonder I cannot find anything online when you clearly have the King's collection! Stunning John, absolutely breathtaking pieces of artisinal craftsmanship.Thank you so much for sharing. I really appreciate your depth and breadth of subject matter expertise - and of course time in response!

So many hands, places, techniques, - all so wonderful.

Cheers and thanks,
Astral
 

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
13,856
3,003
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Astral,
1. Under Vale & Compy it looks like it was hammered out and re-written either over another inscription but most likely to get the Vale & Compy script to fit.
2. The numbers on back of the dial where the hand is missing are not the original numbers that can easily be seen painted on. The original numbers are also smoothed over and these numbers appear. The 20, 10, 60 & 50 were different numbers hard to tell what they were.
3. The biggest glaring mark is that the decorative cock does not match up in the slightest to the seam of the inscription plate. Where the little screw and bolt with Vale and Compy Coventry script abutt the bottom part the design doesn't flow in pattern or color closest to the largest screw
Regarding your notes:

1. The name bar (barrel bar or bridge) was initially left blank and later engraved with parts or all of the signature, it's too thick to be hammered out from the back and what you see is simply slight surface damage. If a signature ever did need to be changed, a new name bar would be made. It's often found to be a slightly different colour from the rest of the top plate because it was often gilt separately after returning from the engraver.

2. I think you mean the regulator disc, also known as the figure plate. This never had a hand, since the whole disc rotates with the square and its function is to alter the rate of the watch. It's made of silver, the numbers were engraved and filled with a hard black wax. The numbers don't have any particular meaning, they're just to allow the owner to see how much the disc is moved when making changes. In some examples the numbers are simply consecutive and may be in Roman or Arabic numerals, or even absent altogether. There's a pointer engraved on the slide plate just next to the '60' in the form of a hand with a pointing finger. This implies that the disc is meant to turn as a whole.

3. The part you've highlighted isn't part of the name bar, it's the edge of the plate which carries the regulator mechanism, (known as the slide plate), including the silver regulator disc. The winding arbor protrudes through it just next to the screw retaining it on the top plate, (on this example the arbor is just next to the regulator disc).

DSCF2870.JPG DSCF2885.JPG DSCF2884.JPG

It's possible to find considerable variation in the finer details of watches, many of which are consequences of the individual preferences and indeed random choices of the many craftspeople who made the watch, and it can be all too easy to attribute more significance to these tiny features than is justified.

Regards,

Graham
 

AstralGraham

Registered User
May 30, 2021
31
15
8
Country
Hello Astral.
Nice to see you back again, I had thought you had sold the watch for millions. and retired to the Bahamas. or maybe London or Paris. Going back then to this thread, I don´t think you were too far away from the truth. when it comes to watch-cocks. I have quite often thought that these small wonders were made on the continent. If they were or not, the fact remains they were a cottage industry, and in the main made by women, and in some cases by children. There really is very little known about the history, and how they were sold, but again common sense tells us they were not made for nothing. I think they were made in small batches, and then sold on to someone who would gather the many cocks from here and there, much like the File cutters of Prescot. There is very little evidence that cocks were made in England, for instance, there are no known pattern books made in England, though there are from France, Holland. and Germany. It needs more research.

Keep up the good work, and keep fit.

"Always remember the earth is a shiny globe, in a dark room"

View attachment 685739



Hey Allan,
I have been immersed in research and reached out to the Guildhall Library as John suggested to see about the possibility of finding the original special order. I have come to my wits end here because the more I research the more ways I find where this pocket watch could have ended up in our little farm house on 123 Main Street, Nowhere, USA.
We have ownership and provedance from a newspaper in 1888 and again in 1951 - but it is going to be under the category like step-cousin, 7 times removed on the 3rd cousin's side twice wed.

1.Col. Fielding Lewis (son of John Lewis & brother-in-law to George Washington) + Betty (Lewis) Washington (Sister to George Washington)
Col. Fielding Lewis Sr. and the Lewis family built and owned shiped that transported goods
throughout the Atlantic World refered to as the "Triangular Trade" exporting raw materials from
the Americas to Europe with Europe sending back manufactured goods in Africa to buy slaves
who were then used to purchase more raw materials. John & son Feilding Lewis ships: Stanton,
Priscilla, Grampus & Penguin in 1732 the Stanton captained by Richard Williams, bound for Madeira,
an island off the coast of Portugal, then Barbados in the Caribbean Sea before returning to Virginia.
Priscilla commanded by Richard Williams made a more direct trip to London and back during
the first half of 1737.
Col. Fielding Lewis Sr. (b.1725 - d.1781) + Betty (Lewis) Washington (b.1733-d.1797)
William Howell Lewis (b.1771-d.1822) (14th & youngest child of Fielding & Betty) + Ellen Hackley Pollard (b.1776-d.1855)
William Howell Lewis Jr (b.1808–d.1883) + Mary Ann Eliza Walker Lewis (b.1833-d.1883) & Emily G. Burch Lewis (b.1812-1866)
Howell Lewis, Jr. was the son of Howell Lewis, Sr. and Ellen Hackney (Pollard) Lewis, the husband of Emily G. (Burch) Lewis, and the
father of Bettie Fitzhugh (Lewis) Finks, George Lewis, Mary Ellen Lewis, Augustus Dana Lewis, Fielding Lewis, Columbia Lewis,
Virginia Lewis, William Henry Lewis, Gaston G. Lewis, and Emma Lewis. He was the grandson of George Washington's sister Betty.
Grandnephew of George Washington. Grandson of Betty Washington Lewis, full sister to George Washington & Colonel Fielding
Lewis.
Son of Howell Lewis Sr & Ellen Hackley Pollard Lewis. (#7 of 11 children)
Husband of Emily Burch Lewis.
Occupation: Land surveyor.
Community of Lewis, Missouri in Henry County MO was named after Mr. Lewis (one of the earliest Henry County settlers).
Lewis Qualifying Ancestors | Lewis Family Descendants
2. My DAR status decends from: John Kitchell (bef.1714-1777) | WikiTree FREE Family Tree
Robert KITCHELL (b.1604-d.1672) + Margaret SHEAFFE (b. -d.1682)of Cranbrooke Kent
England left England in 1639 on the Arabella
Abraham Kitchel(l) (b. 1679-d.1741)+ Sarah (Bruen) Kitchel(l) (b.1679-d.1745)
Samuel Kitchell + Grace (PIERSON) Kitchell (daughter of Rev. Abraham Pierson) Newark
Grace PIERSON Kitchell is the mother of all of the American Kitchell's.
Elizabeth Kitchell (b.1764-d.1831) + David (Daniel) Stiles Jr. (b. 1829-d.1897)
Isabelle Stiles (b.1858 1845 d. 1920 + Benjamin Wellingron Sisson (b. 1853-
d.1944)
These are my Great Great grandparents.
Daniel Stiles had a cousin named Aaron Kitchell who came to Cincinnati in 1788, was one
of the most notable members of the Stiles family being a U.S. Senator from New Jersey,
friend and counselor of General George Washington, on his staff and one of his pall
bearers.
Abraham Kitchell a founder of Newark, N.J. and Sarah Buren, his wife, as descended from
four of the signers of the Magna Charta, one geing King John himself, who ws compelled
to sign it and the three Barrons: Roger and Hugh Bigod, of the de Beauchamps family and
Geoffrey de Say, the ancestor of Geoffrey de Say.
3. General Andrew Lewis: The Neglected Andrew Lewis - Journal of the American Revolution
John, Andrew and Thomas Jr. wre officers in the Revolutionary army. John & Andrew were with
General Washington at Valley Forge and throughout the Jersey campaign and at the surrender of
Cornwallis.

The Guild Hall in London did not have Coventry records on file and referred me to the Coventry museum of which I have just reached out to research the special order angle.

This is my research on my end, it seems having a few pieces of info to research I have at least 3 ways this watch came to our family line, seems like a serial # movement N4449 has simply vanished without a trace of the order.

The mystery continues!!!
Hi,

As a side note, here is a similar "doctors watch" verge hallmarked 1793. The lever at 10 seconds starts and stops the watch.

Cheers, Bernhard

View attachment 689673 View attachment 689674 View attachment 689675
Thanks Bernhard! That is so beautiful and supremely helpful to see another face similar (I have seen them but your's is brilliant).
 

AstralGraham

Registered User
May 30, 2021
31
15
8
Country
There is small chance of finding the people who built your watch. The Guildhall Library in London has the collected papers of the Clockmakers guild, which included many watchmakers.. These include the ledgers of several makers. If they have the ledger for Vale for the time you watch was made, it will have a page listing each trade a name or initials, what they were paid, and when. I have several 19th century watches and the work pages for them. As a bonus there is lot to see and do there if you visit the hall. Most of teh clocks and watches went to the Science Museum but I beleive the paper are still at the Guildhall Library,

Here is a sample.

View attachment 660269

This is from 1903 and came from a private source but it is the same type of information. The last two 5 shilling entries were a=for conversion from a full to a half hunter case. Each page has the serial number for the watch.

In this I am assuming this system was on place in the late 1700's, that the ledgers survived and that the Guildhall Library has them, but they are available for a lot of English watches,
I reached out to Ann Martin, Guildhall Library, Aldermanbury, London EC2V 7HH and she responded:
"Unfortunately this company's ledgers are not amongst those held in the Clockmaker Company Archive here at the Guildhall Library.
Apologies if this is going over old ground but you may wish to investigate whether Coventry Archives holds the relevant material amongst the records of Rotherham and Sons. https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/d1be6c76-e159-458a-a2e7-dbb0317540fe
Samuel Vale was working as a watchmaker in 1747 and founded his watchmaking company by 1750. It was based at Spon St in Coventry from 1776. In 1790 John Rotherham became a partner in the watchmaking business believed by then known as Vale Howlett & Carr. They were then known as Vale & Company. Richard Kevitt Rotherham was apprenticed to the company. From c1841/2 the company was known as Richard Kevitt Rotherham & Sons, and from 1850 as Rotherham & Sons."

I then reached out to Dave Banner, Rotherhams 1750 Ltd., he replied: "
Thank you for your email. What a fantastic looking watch along with brilliant little story, unfortunately though Astral, we are the relatively new owners of the Rotherhams business reintroducing the brand after many years of not producing time pieces. Therefore, hand on heart, we have very little information on individual pieces. One place you could try would be the Coventry Watch Museum, these are truly wonderful enthusiasts and may be able to shine some light on your quest. "

I have sent an initial email inquiry to the Coventry Watch Museum as Mr. Banner and Mrs. Martin suggested but am continuing my research regarding this special order and greatly appreciate everyones recommendations as I am following them all :)
 

AstralGraham

Registered User
May 30, 2021
31
15
8
Country
Upon further inspection I am posting the video.

I believe that this pocket watch is George Washington LEWIS's pocket watch and was mistaken for the president George Washington as family lore tends to warp over the telling through the years. George Washington Lewis makes much more sense to me since it was found with (William) Howell Lewis Jr. in Lewis Station (Lewis, MO) who was the son of William Howell Lewis Sr. who was the nephew of George Washington and son of Betty Washington & Fielding Lewis.

I have also found numbers scratched into the inner hunter case and 2 (two) corresponding hash marks [III] located on the exterior and interior of the case and watch movement itself.

George Washington Lewis was the body guard to George Washington among a bunch of several other historically really cool things. Be amazing if someone could recommend a DNA expert who could swab some of the knots or fabric.

PLEASE NOT THE MARKINGS [ III ]ON THE INSIDE OF THE CASE AS WELL AS THE INSIDE OF THE MOVEMENT [ III ].

There is copious evidence on my end, specifically, having this unique posession in the same family for over 200 years. I refuse to believe that with all of the wealth of expertise contained within this group that no one, anywhere can match one single marking to any known chronometer, clock, watch-pocket or pocket watch.

I am hoping the video will offer some additional visuals to help solve the Revolutionary Mystery.

I am a direct blood decendent of the Lee, Stiles, Sisson line who married into the Lewis, & Ball family. - IMG_4144.jpeg IMG_4142.jpeg Image 3-4-22 at 2.02 PM.jpg IMG_4147.jpeg Allison Lee Graham tempImageYmcq4i.png
 

Attachments

gmorse

NAWCC Member
Jan 7, 2011
13,856
3,003
113
Breamore, Hampshire, UK
Country
Region
Hi Allison,
PLEASE NOT THE MARKINGS [ III ]ON THE INSIDE OF THE CASE AS WELL AS THE INSIDE OF THE MOVEMENT [ III ].
I'm a little puzzled; could you clarify what you mean by marks on the movement? I confess that I can't see any such marks on it. I can see the three strokes in the bands of the two cases, which were made in the workshop making the cases. The shop would probably have had several jobs on the go at the same time, and they were a sort of batch identity to ensure that the right case matched up with the right box, (inner case), as it passed from one specialist to the next. They're just another example of the many tiny marks made during the manufacture to facilitate the process, and were only meaningful to the people doing the work.

Regards,

Graham
 

Forum statistics

Threads
174,337
Messages
1,523,235
Members
52,166
Latest member
VTC Duane
Encyclopedia Pages
1,063
Total wiki contributions
2,970
Last page
Hard Life for Wristwatches by Roy Gardner