Lewis Samuel

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by findtheproblem, Dec 24, 2010.

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  1. findtheproblem

    findtheproblem Registered User

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    #1 findtheproblem, Dec 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2018
    Trying to find info and value of a Lewis Samuels Pocket watch C. 1845 limited edition - 18kt openface fussee 15 1/2 Ligne lever 10 holes

    could not find too much on an internet search- any info - websites of any kind would be helpful
    79439.jpg
     
  2. Les harland

    Les harland Registered User

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    Brian Loomes Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World has:-
    Samuel , Lewis & Co Lord Street Liverpool Lancashire UK 1814-48
    Samuel Lewis Henry & Co South Castle Street Liverpool Lancashire 1848-51
     
  3. shinytickythings

    shinytickythings Registered User

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    #3 shinytickythings, Jan 24, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2018
    I saw DaveyG mention he also has a Lewis Samuel piece in another thread. The discussion about the construction of the balance wheel and other features to help date it really intrigued me.
    My Lewis Samuel may be my favorite watch, even though it's naked. It's just breathtaking to me. My profile picture here in fact.

    Obviously, because I never saw the case that went with it it's been near impossible to date to anything more than like a 40 year margin or something. As you can see, mine says 4 Lord Street as well, which kind of helps narrow it down, but maybe there are more clues in the technologies that some of you can point out. I do love that click and spring, and particularly the way in which it's cut into the dust cover.

    Speaking of, the Dust cover is solid 9-10k gold:???: Dial is solid 18k with rose gold roman numerals? Is the balance wheel gold too?
    I believe that is all true but I'm a little incredulous, and don't want to do any destructive testing.
    Is that a particular scene engraved in the dial or just something generic?

    The diamond seems to be genuine and on mine it is a pretty generous size. Obviously decorative flash. Nice bling! Look closely though and you will see mine has a large chip off of it. I'm not sure what that means. it makes me sense that it might not have been the greatest quality stone it begin with, just a big bit of flash. I'm no gemologist. I do have a pretty good eye for stones, but it's very hard to judge when it's set like that. Plus oils may be on it, etc.

    The Liverpool Windows. Guys, it took me forever to figure out that's what they were called! They're aquamarine. Huge on this example and in pretty good shape as far as I can tell. I feel like watchmakers should have carried on that style with synthetic rubies and other gems. It's hot.

    As most of you know and I've seen mentioned, it's difficult to impossible to see exactly what kind of lever escapement is in there. I would say mine appears to be Massey V style.

    I have serial # 20599, and it is engraved on the back of the movement(obviously), as well as stamped on the top of the pillar plate along with T.G., stamped inside of the dust cover, AND scratched on the back of the dial. It appears like they felt the serial number was important, for something.
    But the impression it was because different people were doing the work on all these parts seems most obvious.

    Other marks include 162 stamped on top of the pillar plate, W.W. stamped inside of the dust cover and 48 scratched in there.
    There is a close up of the dial plate scratched with "W.S. 1840". I have tried to resist the urge to think of that as a date. I know, it could be anything. Right?
    Even if it is a date, it could have been scratched in at any time. At purchase by the owner or jeweler, or by a repairman somewhere down the road. Could have been 20 years after it was made and still be in the timeline.

    Are those hands the original? or at least correct for the period?

    I think it's 11 jewels?

    the pillar plate is 43.06 mm, so I guess it would be about an 16 size?
    There is a dial plate about 46mm.

    Here it is!
    Any thought are welcome.
    154895.jpg 154896.jpg 154897.jpg 154898.jpg 154899.jpg
     
  4. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

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    #4 DaveyG, Jan 24, 2013
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    It isn't clear just what you are trying to discover brusman - if it is the value then it is contrary to message board rules for us to offer any opinion. If it is about Lewis Samuel then you could look at the Liverpool Museum website and enter their Horology Database where you will find a lot of information about the man.

    Horology database compiled by World Museum in Liverpool - World Museum, Liverpool museums

    Just for interest, a couple of pictures of my Lewis Samuel which is almost identical to that of shinystickything.

    Incidentally, the watch will not be 15 1/2 ligne, the English trade didn't use that measuring system. A clear picture of the movement would be helpful; your phrase '10 holes' is interesting and has the ring of a Swiss cylinder movement. 137389.jpg 154900.jpg
     
  5. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

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    The 162 is the size and pillar height i.e. 16 size and a pillar height variation of 2/144 of an inch from the base of 1/8 inch.

    The hands look to be mismatched to me but I'd say that the fleur de lys hand is the right style and the pierced minute hand is later American.
     
  6. shinytickythings

    shinytickythings Registered User

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    My apologies Davey. I'm not sure if Brusman is even still active.
    I resurrected this thread because it was the only one specifically named Lewis Samuel, so I thought it would be better than starting a new one.

    Your Lewis Samuel looks great! So jealous!
    Is it just the picture or is the case rosie?

    I'm very curious why they would deliberately leave or make a variation in the pillar height. I already spent 20 minutes reviewing why 144ths of an inch. It's English Long Measure, a hairs breadth? I've found lots of references to English Long as a system of measurement, but haven't found a simple equivalent scale to other systems.

    So, do you think the balance wheel on yours was a upgrade done at a later date? Yours appears, by serial number anyway, to be just slightly older than mine. Yet mine has a much more primitive balance, doesn't it?
     
  7. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

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    The case is in very good condition.

    The variations in pillar height were structured and stamped on, really for the case maker's benefit. There was an on-going desire to produce slimmer watches but if they had been produced randomly the case maker's job would have been a nightmare; so by varying pillar heights in specific steps the necessary tooling could be kept to hand. I'm not too sure on the 144ths division but I suspect that goes back to the older base measurements which I believe came out of France - most things that are in any way bizarre do!! The old measuring tools, still know as the 'douzieme' guage measured in 12ths and 144ths. The modern ones measure in mm. I believe the ligne measuring system is similarly based.

    I don't think that the balance is a change to the watch I think that it is original - but again, I can't be sure. I think were it an upgrade then the Massey escapement would have been changed for English lever at the same time.

    I very much doubt if your dust cover is solid gold - usually gilded brass. The serial number of the watch was important, as you deduced, because not only were the watches moved from person to person for different activities to be carried out, but often as not each person worked from workshop at his own home.
     
  8. shinytickythings

    shinytickythings Registered User

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    That's fascinating good stuff about the pillar heights. Thank you!

    I totally agree with your logic about the balance wheel and escapement. They would have upgraded that together, I would expect. Do you know what kind/version of Massey escapement it has? It's hard to tell on mine and I haven't ever dug that far into it.
    I'm just not sure about the "may have been an upgrade" theory. By similar logic, I feel like if they would have upgraded the capstone on mine so significantly, they would have surely done the better balance assembly.

    I totally would have/did or even do, expect the dust cover to be brass and gilt at best.
    And, I don't want to offend anyone, of even be an enabler to people that are scrapping cases, but here's the long story, short.

    I got into collecting watches like many people, because I inherited one, or three. Then I started reading up on them and researching them. I had read about these older style, fusee watches and seen diagrams and explanations and such, but I wanted to check one out in person.
    This one was auctioned for a penance. It was a fusee and it was cheap. Bonus points because it was pretty AND working(!). And advertised as having a 14k gold dial, which I didn't really believe, or expected to be plated of some sort at least. And the capstone and jewel settings, I was completely mystified by.

    So after I got it and checked it out a little myself and did a modest bit of research, I took it to my friends pawn shop to let him have a look and we did some tests.
    The dial looked like someone had already taken a significant bite out of to test. At 12 o'clock there is a nip out of it about 1/4 of a mm deep. So he examined that under his scope and did a tiny rub or scrape test on the edge side of that little nip. His conclusion on that it was indeed solid and a little + of 18k, not 14.

    The dust cover I actually let him do the electronic tester on in an inconspicuous, already muddled place on the inside. He seemed really confident that it was solid. I on the other hand, am still skeptical. Even though I was right there to cringe when he tested it. I'm wondering now though if he said 4-5k or 9-10k? I remember it was just really low, but I was shocked he was telling me it was solid.
    The stones he just did some light spectrum tests and a visual exam under the scope.

    So anyway, I got this awesome movement to learn about fusee's and maybe use as scrap for art. I never thought that it would turn out to be anything special. So now I know I have this awesome watch, but the __case was scraped and what? Can't really replace that. Not even like an American movement that I could at least get a period correct case for and be happy.
    As horologists or more experienced, serious collectors, what do you do with a movement like that? Case it in something generic? Leave it stored in museum wrap in a drawer for posterity?
    Is there something that's typical?
    I'd like to display it somehow, but obviously I can't leave it as a bare movement, flopping around on my desk. I'm thinking a desk or tabletop case of some kind to display it would be ideal. As a sculptor I have the skill and technology to make a nice bronze skull case for it, and might. But I'm a little worried that might be offensive to some, even if it's not made to fool anyone into thinking it's authentic.
     
  9. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    #9 gmorse, Jan 24, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2018
    Hi,

    I'm really glad that you've caught the 'bug', (as I'm sure everyone else here is as well).

    140383.jpg 140384.jpg 140385.jpg

    These pages might help you identify which Massey escapement you have; I agree it can be very difficult to see the roller without dismantling, but each type is quite distinctive, and with some peering with good lighting you may be able to identify it. You might even be lucky enough to have a Type IV!

    (Page images from an Alan Treherne presentation)


    As for displaying uncased movements, many people make Perspex holders which protect yet allow everything to be seen.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  10. DaveyG

    DaveyG Registered User

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    #18331 is a Massey Type 3. With those lovely Liverpool windows, if you look carefully you should be able to see the roller table quite easily, it is quite amazing how much light they let in! It will be like one of those odd visual puzzles, you'll stare at it for ages and see nothing, then, of a sudden, it will appear and be crystal clear. Once you have seen one you will be able to see them all.

    Your endstone isn't an 'upgrade' - diamond end stones were fairly common back in the day.

    As to what to do with your movement - if it were mine then I would look for a contemporary case, probably silver, but I understand that so far away from a good source of cases that isn't so easy for you - actually not easy here either. If you take Graham's advice and make a clear case you will only be able to see the dial and dust cover and you will need to be able to access the back to wind it. I have several movements myself which I have been pondering over and have arrived at no conclusion which makes me want to go ahead. If money were no object, having a new case made would be my ultimate choice.

    When you decide what to do let me know and I could well follow suit with some of my better ones:)
     
  11. shinytickythings

    shinytickythings Registered User

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    Ah! Thank you both for your comments.

    My guess would have been type 3. for the escapement.
    I can quite clearly see that the roller jewel hangs down and is un-affixed on the bottom. I just can't tell exactly what the shape of the flange there is that the roller jewel is in.

    With regards to the endstone, Davey, I just thought of it as an upgrade because the vast majority I see are smaller like the one on yours. I don't know. I was was reaching for an excuse why mine is the newer one and has the poopy old plain balance wheel. ;-)
    But my consolation I guess is that I do think it's gold as well. But there was no way I was going to test it. It's not that relevant really. I think it just speaks of the quality.

    I would be thrilled to find a period case that fit it and was truly appropriate. My impression has been that way old British watches are hallmarked makes it extremely difficult or near impossible to just recase a watch and have it be correct. This one seems to me too, to clearly belong in a gold case. I thought so all along, even before seeing yours, Davey. Seems like I'd have about as much chance of finding the actual original case as I would any other period gold case that would fit this and be appropriate. I'm looking for a pretty special case.

    But I'd be happy to hear otherwise. I can't honestly say I've shopped around even.
    I sure wish money were no object and I could just have a delightful new case made.
    But unfortunately that's not the case.

    I do like the idea of a see through case.
    My first challenge with this movement is to replace the barrel hinge that attaches to the dial plate. It's missing, so I'll have to scab one up or just fabricate one out of whole cloth. Then I feel like I could hinge it into what ever case I make quite easily. And remove it without change or damage quite easily should I someday find a more appropriate home for it.

    In my sculpture work I have tended to work in more traditional materials over the past 20 years or so.
    Clay, plaster, marble and granite, and bronze once in a while.
    But the past year or so I have learned casting resins as well.
    My newest favorite one is a perfectly clear acyclic resin. Optical quality. It's a pain to work with, but really pretty!
    I'd like to investigate whats available off the self, but I bet I could make something really wonderful custom for it.
     
  12. shinytickythings

    shinytickythings Registered User

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    I wish brusman had posted better photos of his when he was here.
     
  13. findtheproblem

    findtheproblem Registered User

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    #13 findtheproblem, Feb 1, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2018
    Hello this is brusman. sorry bin awhile since my first posting. Here are some more pictures 193398.jpg 193399.jpg 193400.jpg 193401.jpg 193402.jpg
     
  14. findtheproblem

    findtheproblem Registered User

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    #14 findtheproblem, Feb 1, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2018
    Lewis Samuels NAWCC Bulletin Oct 1992

    Interesting letters from Tobias Lewis Samuel posted in teh NAWCC Bulletin 1992
    193403.jpg
     
  15. shinytickythings

    shinytickythings Registered User

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    Very interesting! Thanks Brusman,
    I've never seen a dust cover/ring quite like that before.
    Have you learned any more about your watch since you first posted here?
    I can't see the marks very clearly in your pics, it's marked for 1845?
     
  16. findtheproblem

    findtheproblem Registered User

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    There is very little info about these watches on the internet and makes me wonder how rare the are. I'm a novice at this - I too inherited too from my Father a vast collection which when I have time I try to review. This is what came from the Liverpool Museum Data Base.

    Horology

    Back to your results
    NameSamuel Lewis
    Date1847
    TownLiverpool
    DirectoryStreet directory
    Street 116 Percy Street
    Street 250 Lord Street = shop
    TownLiverpool
    TradePatent lever watch manufacturer

    Additional Information:
    InformationBorn 11/3/1783 - died 30/5/1854. * 1841 census - watchmaker aged 55 of 16 Percy Street. Kate aged 55 + 2 - Matilda aged 21 + Julia aged 16. * 1851 census - retired watch manufacturer aged 68 of 16 Percy Street. Kate + 2 - Ellen aged 35 + Julia aged 26


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  17. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    #17 Keith R..., Jul 17, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2018
    Lewis Samuel, 17J conventional train circa 1832. One may find all the pertinent research on this
    watch, at thread Lewis Samuel, dated May 18, 2018. Watch movement number and case number
    match and case HM is for 1832.

    The watch has been fully restored by Watch Repair & Co. NY, NY in June 2018.

    Note, see Graham's diagrams on Massey escapements in post #9 this thread.

    Keith R...

    100_2407 (800x600).jpg 100_2412 (800x600).jpg jj530 (600x800) - Copy.jpg jj519 (800x600) - Copy.jpg jj521 (800x600) - Copy.jpg jj534 (800x600).jpg jj536 (600x800).jpg
     
  18. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    A very nice looking movement and an interesting 5 Spoke Balance Wheel. Regards Ray
     
  19. Keith R...

    Keith R... Registered User
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    Thanks Ray. I wanted to get the watch tied to this thread so others searching,
    would find from Lewis Samuel, Liverpool runners, I/2 plate designs and an early
    conventional train watch as shown.

    I sent PL a PM letting him know I added to the old 12/24 thread.

    PS........As Graham noted before, the balance wheel is a solid wheel and the
    screws are an added touch for aesthetics, (American market).

    Keith R...
     
  20. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
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    A chronometer Balance Lewis Samuel ...

    0CD6CC30-487C-41C1-9BAD-CD6589C778F2.jpeg 9672AC8D-74E9-4529-B6ED-A09EADD41626.jpeg
     
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  21. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    John - thank you for posting this example

    By comparison with the other Samuel's I have seen, the style of the movement and the serial number, I think this movement dates from 1835-1840, but I would look to Graham, Oliver and DaveyG to offer their opinion.

    The engraving, '12 holes jewel' on the cock and the description of the balance, are I believe, what you would mainly see on movements exported to America. I am particularly interested in the cap. From the style of the engraving, I think it was made in Liverpool and it may have a maker's stamp on the inside. If it does, can you please post a photograph. It would be appreciated.

    John
     
  22. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    Although this balance may be compensated, (i can't see the cut clearly because the regulator is in the way), I think the engraved legend 'chronometer balance' is a piece of marketing; the even spacing of the 'compensation' screws makes me doubt that they were placed in that way for any real purpose.

    The engraving regarding the jewels is something not usually seen on English watches for home markets and I agree with John on this and also on the dating.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  23. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
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    John, inside cap photo shows a W.W ... The cap reads “Made Expressly to Order”

    Graham, understood the markings are most likely self promoting, but interesting what they mark, not to be seen
    By the buyer .... The balance is split and bi-metallic ...if movement in fact dates to the 1830’s - 40’s a lessor seen feature ... It also has a single roller table.. so not sure what the Patent is...

    E5766101-3C9A-4BA2-A606-B39F8F635AC7.jpeg 1FD667F8-2F33-491C-8F9C-17F0E64B7DA7.jpeg
     
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  24. John Matthews

    John Matthews Registered User

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    John many thanks for posting the cap with the makers mark WW.

    It is also found on a similarly engraved cap on the Lewis Samuel American cased example here. You will see in that case it is accompanied by LS which was probably added by Samuel. There was a prominent family of watch cap makers 'Winstanley' in Liverpool. The earliest being Richard who started at the end of the late 1830s the WW may be the mark of a member of that family.

    John
     
  25. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi John,

    If it is an English lever and not a Massey variety, the 'Patent' marking is another piece of marketing because the former was never patented, although the word was often applied in the early days of the lever. The 'chronometer balance' was intended to promote the cut compensated balance when the majority were still plain, and anything with screws in the rim a la Pennington was considered to be most desirable.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
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  26. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
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    Thanks Graham, it does have an English lever ...
     

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