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Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Allan C. Purcell, Mar 23, 2019.
Very good Allan. I notice Joseph Johnson #116 is not in Oliver's data base.
Mr. Roskell was very popular in the day. I've been watching out for him.
Hi Keith, there are quite a few Jos. Johnson watches in the file I am working on, and I will post them eventually-along with the other Liverpool makers. I received my Roskell 57026 back last week, you will remember it was the one with the smashed dial. Please see the photographs below. I still need to find a nice set of gold hands for it. The case is HM Chester 1843-it was the year Robert Roskell retired. The case its self now looks like new.
Great choice Allan, gold hands are my favorites. I think they make the best
presentations! My only experience outside of a purchase that had gold hands
was an American key wind and I had Marty find me a set of these and I put
them on an AT&Co grade key wind (2nd pic)..
Now one has to be careful setting the time if dial side, gold hands are soft.
Allan, I shall be grateful for any details of these Johnsons which you can provide in due course. I appreciate that the source cannot tell us anything about the calibre, type of escapement, jewelling, case etc., but at least the dates listed therein may be helpful. My impression is that there was not much forging of Johnsons before the 1830s, so that anything which your document records under this name has at least a good chance of being genuine.
I will only be too pleased to do that Oliver. I am at the moment going through the 282 pages, and like the Roskell´s I found I am now doing the same with all the UK makers, you will appreciate this will take a while. Though when I first got this information I did note some of the Jos.Johnson numbers. I will send those to you in a PM if you like. I hope to have this piece finished end of next month. The pics below show what I am going through, the Johnson is 113, Best Wishes, Allan.
Allan: I see on pages 3&4 that 22732 was cleaned in 1826 and 1827. As you know I own 22731, a rack lever that you have
dated as being made much later. Kemps list seems to indicate an earlier date. What was going on with Roskell's numbering system.
There seems to be a misunderstanding here, I don´t have 22731 in my file. Is it in a pair-case HM 1835-36? if so I have the number the wrong way round 22371. I would have dated it around 1818. If it was in the original case it would have been. Can you confirm this, please?
Allan: It is in a pair case. The outer case shows A T in a square cameo with sharp corners indicating 1815. The lion may or may not be crowned. The makers mark cannot be read.. The inner case shows an R in a square cameo with rounded corners indicating 1813 or 1835. The makers mark is also unreadable. Neither case has a number. If I could be sure about the lion's head that would solve the problem.
I believe you do have 22731 in your larger list of numbers. Could you recheck? I don't know if the cases are original. I still wonder about Kemp's listingof numbers.
I believe your list transposed the number as 22371.
I have corrected it, Jerry. Nothing against your watch. Though I think 1815 would be correct, and of course, 1835 is far too late. I can honestly say I have never seen an original Robert Roskell in a Pair-case, I do own a couple but I put them in there myself and they are recorded on this board. The way I have always looked at it is if you went out in 1815 to buy a state of the art Rack Lever watch, why put it a pair.case, and let everyone know you had a new Verge. Allan.
Allan, London didn't get the word...........pair case rack 1816.
London was always behind Liverpool-take another look at your watches Keith
PS: You don´t open your watches with that pig sticker do you?
You're right Allan, Liverpool lever 1826. American made case though.
The pig sticker is around for a photo prop.
Hi, Jerry-while still going through these lists of watchmakers I again came across Roskell 21739, not too far from your 22731, and it was in for Cleaning on the 8.11.1818 American or 11 .8.1818 Europian. C, Roberts of Elizabethtown was the owner. Best Allan
While searching for more information on American/English re-tailors in New York, before 1850 I came across the two pieces below. It does imply that some of the larger firms in London did try to get a foothold into the American market, and though they did not succeed in 1838/39 (Closed 1841) they did not lose interest. For me, the interest was in Robert Roskell joining with Hunt to make the firm Hunt & Roskell. I have often thought why, and now I think it could have been the use of Roskell´s knowledge of the American watch trade, or at least his contacts there. Robert Roskell was by then an old man looking for retirement, and that´s just what he did not long after the ink was dry with the Hunt partnership. (+1847) Maybe it´just me thinking out loud.
Here is a new update on the Roskell file.
Allan, it was Robert Roskell Jnr who left Liverpool in 1843 to create the Hunt & Roskell London based company, not Robert Snr who remained in Liverpool. Roskell Jnr described himself as a jeweller and goldsmith in all census entries thereafter, not a watchmaker, and he remained with the Company until his death in 1888. I think that the Hunt & Roskell Co. was bought by J W Benson in 1892 (or thereabouts). Undoubtedly Roskell Jnr had knowledge of the Roskell network structure in the USA but his introduction, as a replacement as it were, for John Mortimer in the company of Mortimer and Hunt (1838 - 43) occurred after your demonstrated closure of the US arm of the enterprise in 1841 so I suggest that Robert Roskell Jnr's knowledge had little influence on the Storr & Mortimer business in the USA. In point of fact Paul Storr retired from the UK business in December 1838 when the business name changed to Mortimer & Hunt.
Thanks, Dave- I have always had the impression Robert Snr. was behind the partnership with Hunt, so I will now try to find some documentation that will prove it. Whatever happened in 1843 when Robert Snr went into retirement he would have talked it through with the family, and Robert Ju. would not have made the partnership without the goodwill of his father. I must try again to read that last will and testament again of Robert Snr. though it´s hard work. I should also have mentioned that when Storr & Mortimer opened their shop in New York, they would have been selling Roskell pocket watches-these two firms would have been well-known to each other over many years. J. W. Benson bought the Roskell goodwill in 1889, from Allan Roskell.
Thanks again Dave -Allan.
Hunt & Roskell - London 1843
This pair of frosted glass and silver gilt claret jugs rank amongst the finest made during the reign of Queen Victoria.
The prestigious firm of Hunt and Roskell evolved out of the most famous retail name in the history of English silver, Rundell, Bridge and Rundell.
John Samuel Hunt was the nephew of Paul Storr, the most eminent silversmith employed by Rundell's and had worked with Storr as a chaser.
Storr took him on as a partner in the new firm of Storr and Mortimer which kept the same name until Storr's retirement in 1838.
The name was then changed to Mortimer & Hunt until 1843 when Mortimer retired. The firm then became Hunt and Roskell, the partners being John Samuel Hunt, his son John Hunt and Robert Roskell.
Hunt and Roskell were favorite suppliers to the Imperial Russian Court.
In addition to placing its own orders with the firm, the Russian Imperial family also received gifts from the English Court to mark important events and occasions, many of which had also been purchased from Hunt and Roskell.
A similar pair of frosted glass and silver gilt wine jugs by Hunt and Roskell, dated 1845, is illustrated in "Sotheby's Directory of Silver 1600-1940" by Vanessa Brett, Sotheby's Publications, London, 1986 and a similar pair by John Samuel Hunt, dated 1853 is illustrated in 'Everlasting Treasures' by Koopman Rare Art, published in 2009.
Erstelldatum: 26.03.2014 Besitzer: The Claret Jug Collector
Allan, that is all pure speculation. We have no idea what was the relationship between father and son or the Roskell family with Storr and Mortimer prior to 1843. I have some circumstantial evidence that Roskell watches produced post 1843 were retailed through Hunt & Roskell but they appear to have been limited in number and at the very bottom of the quality profile of the watches that were purveyed through the company. They were, for example, the sole UK importers for Breguet and Sylvain Mairet as well as other top Swiss/French marques. An example is to be found 'here'. Some additional Hunt & Roskell related 'stuff'
Dave-It is very far from speculation if you look again at post one you will see the number of watches listed under Robert Roskell from just one repair shop in New York. His success in selling watches on the American continent was well known within the trade. No one, including Johnson, Moncas, and the two Tobias firms came anywhere near Roskells output of that period 1814-1830. Strangely the London firms at that period don´t seem to show up. You will later see these files, and though there are about 800 London names, very few have more than one or two entries. They would be watches belonging to immigrants or families who had lived there a while. Now there is room for speculation.
I had no idea about the Paul Storr connection, as a silver collector that's a real name to conjure with.
I couldn't dispute the volume of the Roskell intrusion into the USA market Allan, however I have been unable to find a demonstrable link to Roskell and the Storr & Mortimer New York outlet, or even the London end of the operation come to that. It also seems clear to me that the maintenance dates in #1 all fall outside of the Storr & Mortimer operating dates. Maybe I am misunderstanding something? Unless that is the case I maintain that your thoughts are - speculation.
All I can say at the moment Dave is the firm was very near bankrupt and was only saved by Hunt joining the firm with his five thousand pounds, and when Mortimer decided to throw in the towel, Hunt needed another partner (1841-43) Robert Roskell did not just walk in from the Street and offer to join the company . I have said this before after Roskell Snr. retired I have very little interest in the company, my interest lays with him from the time he married Tarltons, daughter and his death in 1847. Though I do think I should find more information on his purchase of partnership with Hunt. Thank you for your interest, Dave.
Im Jahre 1844 wurde in die Firma aufgelistet, John Samuel Hunt (Partner), John Hunt (Partner), Robert Roskell (Partner), Charles Frederick Hancock (Partner), Charles Muggeridge (Mitarbeiter), Thomas Nicholls (Mitarbeiter), Charles Fines (Mitarbeiter), Joseph Headford (Lehrling), William Frampton (Lehrling), ....... Rothing (?), ....... Day (?), und John Dixon (Aufseher), vermutlich John Dixon Metcalfe, Büroangestellte bei Storr, and Mortimer.
The list above gives those working at the head office of Hunt & Roskell in 1944. John Samuel Hunt (Partner) John Hunt (Partner) Robert Roskell (Partner) Charles Frederick Hancock (Partner) Charles Muggeridge (Office worker) Thomas Nicholls (Office worker) Charles Fines (Office worker) Joseph Headford (Apprentice) William Frampton (Apprentice) Rothing(?)......Day (?) and John Dixon(Manager) Probably John Dixon Metcalfe, an Office manager from Storr and Mortimer.
Allan, at the moment I am unable to access the British Museum site but I would recommend you have a look there when it is back up. From memory and my pencil notes made a few years ago, (my summary documents were all on a hard drive that disintegrated and which I hadn't backed up) John Samuel Hunt joined the firm (along with his £5K) in 1826 long before the known Roskell connection and I am pretty sure that he retired before 1844, with his partnership being assumed by his son, also John.
I am sure that you are right when you say that Robert Jnr did not just walk in off the street and become a partner but the extent of the prior negotiation and whether his partnership was backed with an injection of funds or offered simply to acquire his knowledge and, no doubt extensive, goodwill connections I don't know. It always seemed to me that the retirement of Robert Snr and the departure of Robert Jnr must have been connected in some way but I could find no mention of what that might be..
Dave your very good research made in 2014 are still there, and so I put an "I Like" on a few minutes ago so you can find them, they are also on the net. Best Wishes, Allan.
I have enjoyed reading through the history of the Roskells of Liverpool. Thank you to all those dedicated historians out there determined to unpack the smaller details around the different partnerships during the 19th Century. I found it particularly interesting that this family were linked to another English clock maker J W Benson in 1889. I have an example from both these makers, a dial clock from JW Benson and a longcase clock by Robert Roskell of Liverpool. While this thread is mainly around watches, the longcase example that I have is quite peculiar in that the clock is designed to look like a regulator (with a open glass front case), faux "compensating pendulum" and the weights hang from "fusee" chains. I have never seen this feature before and wonder if any of you learned folk have come across it? I can take some pictures of these peculiarities and post them if anyone is interested. Or maybe it will be better to start a new discussion under general clock discussion!
Hello Ian, that is very informed information, and Roskell´s clocks were sold in his shop in Church, though signed Robert Roskell they were made by the very best clockmakers of Liverpool at that period. Kaye, Finney and others.
Would really like to see your photographs.
Edit: Forgot James Condliff-Roskell sold many of his clocks.
I managed to find some old pictures on my computer from when I bought the clock in 2011. My guess it is from the Regency Period of 1820-1830, but I am happy to be corrected! Any comments appreciated.
I've never seen a gravity driven clock use chains like that, it is an awful lot of chain!
Totally agree with you - a lot of chain and a lot of work to make them. One idea was that this clock was a "demonstration" or exhibition piece in his shop to display some of his craft and the skills of his team. Maybe something unique as I have not found anything similar in all my research!
They would have bought the chains in, perhaps from Christchurch in Dorset.
But why use chains? Is there any benefit in using them? And each one of the links is a possible failure point, whereas a cable would surely be safer. But then, I wonder if the clocksmith in 1820 is looking forward and thinking that his clock will be around two centuries later! Is anything we make today expected to be around in 2220? Just a thought
It would have been in place of gut, not cable. So, yes, it would have been seen as more high tech, more engineered. Though chains were used in watches for a century by then.
A reason to use a chain is that gut fails and drops the weights through the bottom of the case. Chains can fail too but they show signs before they fail.
Cables are probably better but did nto come onto use until later.
It is unlikely to have a bottom to the case, but yes gut can fail. However it is usually replaced when the clock is serviced and failure is rare.
Hello Ian, like those above I have never seen a longcase clock like yours, it's those chains that catch the eye. I do think though, that you are right about its age. Have you sent these photographs to John Robey, if anyone knows more its John? I have my fingers crossed and hope it was made by James Condliff of Liverpool. (John Robey can be reached at Mayfield Books or phone 01335 344472 in Uk.)
Edit: A wonderful clock,-thank you for the time and photographs.
Thank you for the lead Allan. I would love to get John Robey’s opinion and will see if I can make contact. Does anyone have an email contact for him?
I had to look it up. firstname.lastname@example.org
I have sent him the pictures and hopefully he will comment on the the clock. I will let you know if I learn anything new.
Hi Allan. John kindly replied and these are his comments. “I have not seen anything quite like this before. It is not a domestic regulator, which has high accuracy, no striking, but a normal 2-handed dial.
I doubt if it is an apprentice piece. More likely just for display, either in a shop, as suggested, or in a large house, to attract attention as a talking point. Never seen fusee chains used like this before. Also it is chiming on only two trains, so will not chime on the hour.
Roskell and Condliffe were both respected makers in their own right, Condliff specialising in chronometers, regulators and skeleton clocks. I think one might have taken over the other, but not sure. “
He seems a very knowledgeable person and I really appreciated that he responded to my email. I wish it were within my means to purchase his two volume set of books on Longcase clocks! They look very interesting.
Hi Ian, Nice of John to respond so soon, but must say I have found so, when I have asked him questions, and he is very nice to talk to. So it now turns out you have a very important and unique clock. If you tire of it, you know where I am.
I do have his two books, and I know they are expensive, but I have never given the price a thought, worth every penny.
Hello Allan, Once again, I salute you for the documentation of Roskell and other fine English makers ...it appears to me, that you will be quite an asset in helping members bracket and time stamp a movement via the newly discovered repair logs. Well done mate.
I haven’t taken the time to learn how to highlight and insert a threads quote. If so I would insert your statement .....“ I have never seen an original pair cased Roskell.” Unfortunately, I also cannot insert a link to a past posted thread!!
However, if you have interest and were to search the chronometer board for a sept 2017 post ....Roskells pocket chronometer 396/39488 . You will see photos of what I believe is an original pair cased Roskell with an inner dome case, holding the swing movement. The dome case being punched the same as the outer pair case with one additional stamp, as the dome case markings include a partial serial number of the movement.
If this is of interest ....I will endeavor to spring it from lock up and either PM you with photos, or post to a new thread at your suggestion.
Always the best to you ....John
Hi John, I have done what you asked, I did find 1422/59859, and it is on the new file. 8 Day Marine. There are so many threads, it will take a while to search them all, Plus this chronometer was made after Richard Snr. died.
Thanks again for your efforts to support the file, and you can PM me anytime.
A quick note. Though chronometers were sold under the Hunt & Roskell Logo, they were made in Liverpool by John Jnr. but they used different serial numbers.