Must see: Peter Litherland 1792 Rack Lever Patent.... The Actual Document!

aucaj

Registered User
Feb 2, 2021
81
47
18
40
Country
This is the ACTUAL patent issued to Peter Litherland in 1792! The documents include the original Principal Letters Patent 1792 under seals of George III of Great Britain and Ireland and a handwritten certificate on watermarked paper from David Ewart, clerk to the Chancery of Scotland, addressed personally to Peter Litherland. The documents are still housed in their original leather patent boxes.

The patent was granted to Peter Litherland at the "Chancery of Scotland" on the 2nd March last ...sic...30th June, 1792". There are four "animal parchment" patent documents which detail as Latchford wrote "an entire escapement to be applied to watches... for sea or land...producing greater certainty of time than hither to invented being more simple and less likely to be out of repair...especially for ascertaining the longitude at sea at much less expense than those now used". These documents are the patent of "The Rack-Lever Escapement; a beating seconds & keyless winding work".

QUESTIONS:
Under British patent law, these documents would grant Litherland the right to the rack lever design and production for 14 years. So this would mean that no other watchmakers could produce a rack lever until 1806 without a written agreement with Litherland. One of the most famous and prolific rack lever watchmakers was Robert Roskell whose shop was next door to Litherland's.

1) When did Robert Roskell start producing rack levers?

2) If it was before 1806, did he have a written contract with Litherland to pay him royalties? Or did Roskell only start producing rack levers after expiration of Litherland's patent in 1806?

3) Did Litherland produce rack levers for retailers and other watchmakers during the period of his patent?

R/
Chris

Photos can be found here Full Lot Details (henry-aldridge.co.uk)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Allan C. Purcell

NAWCC Member
Feb 9, 2013
2,771
1,057
113
Germany
Country
Region
Robert Roskell did produce Rack Levers before 1806, many of them have Patent on the cock or LP (Litherland Patent). Wonderful photographs of the Patent, thank you for sharing.

Allan.
 
  • Like
Reactions: aucaj

tick talk

Registered User
Sep 16, 2008
623
113
43
Country
Question: what is the back story here, how did you acquire this amazing document?
 

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
2,815
1,272
113
France
Country
Region
The signature on the document in the next Lot (#157) attracted even more attention than the Litherland patent ...


John
 

aucaj

Registered User
Feb 2, 2021
81
47
18
40
Country
Yes, I came across the auction of this important document while researching the origins of an interesting pocket watch. Litherland's copy of his patent sold for $5800 in 2018, accounting for commission and currency conversion. Since it was most likely bought by a private collector, I thought it would be important to post it to the NAWCC community. After all, it may be the only opportunity for any of us to see it now that it may spend the next several years or even decades in a private collection before it resurfaces.

However, I am also seeking to locate experts in Litherland and Roskell through the interest generated by this post. I have included a few general questions, and I have hopes that some members may post photos of Litherland rack levers that he produced for retailers and other shops.

In the near future, I will post my research into my particular pocket watch and its origins. I still have a lot of questions to answer. I would appreciate if any Litherland scholars would post or reach out to me in the meantime.

Thank you,
Chris
 

Allan C. Purcell

NAWCC Member
Feb 9, 2013
2,771
1,057
113
Germany
Country
Region
Hi Chris, have a look at this, it just might help. You can see the early Roskell watches are very much like Litherlands, especially the watch cocks.

Good luck with your research.

Allan.
 

Attachments

Forum statistics

Threads
165,008
Messages
1,435,877
Members
85,923
Latest member
MnM
Encyclopedia Pages
1,101
Total wiki contributions
2,873
Last edit
Weekly News 7/7/19 by Tom McIntyre