Santiago James Moore French, 62 Cornhill, CITY OBSERVATORY LONDON

Discussion in 'European & Other Pocket Watches' started by Omexa, Mar 14, 2013.

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  1. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi, I have been sticking to buying just Pocket Watch Cases lately; but I have lapsed into my old habits with this movement. FRENCH, 62 Cornhill, CITY OBSERVATORY LONDON The large clock and time-ball in Cornhill there referred to belong to the establishment of Mr. French. Santiago James Moore French, or sometimes just James Moore French, was active from 1808 to 1842. He was a London chronometer maker operating at the Royal Exchange, later at Cornhill.[SUP][12][/SUP] French won a minor prize from the Board of Longitude for his chronometers and his no. 720 was the standard (that is, considered the best to which the others are compared). This movement is in going order and will test my skills fixing the Dial. What is known about this man? Regards Ray
     

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  2. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Come on lads up your game; something must be known about this maker. Regards Ray
     
  3. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    You ask too many tough questions, Ray :) I think your assumption is wrong - I don't think there is anything known about French beyond what you found out, which is more than I have managed to do! I love that picture of his Cornhill place, and it's he first I knew of his time ball.

    I have two French watches, #11548 dated 1847 and the other #10494 dated 1858 ... thus demonstrating a common problem with serial number sequences! Both dates are outside the date range I have recorded of 1810-40 during which time French was a member of the Clockmakers Company. I assume that my ywo watches and yours were made by his successors rather than Santiago himself.
     
  4. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi Martin, I thought that the movement looked later than 1842. I will have to look for a son. Do your movements look similar? I read somewhere that his "Timeball" was linked to "The Royal Observatory" but I can't find it again. (
    In 1837, British physicists, William Cooke and
    Charles Wheatstone
    patented the Cooke and Wheatstone telegraph using the same principle of electromagnetism.)
    ; I will keep looking. Regards Ray
     
  5. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    I think your movement looks later than 1840, as does (and is) my later one. I can't find any menthion of a son, but it seems obvious that the firm outlasted Santiago and continued to make watches ... whoever then owned it.

    The royal Observatory at Greenwich has a time ball - it could be seen particularly by ships' captains in Greenwich docks who would set their timepieces by it. The Greenwich Observatory is on a hill beside the river in what is now Greenwich Park.
     
  6. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    Hi Martin, I looked at the "The Royal Observatory at Greenwich" on Google Earth and the "Time Ball" is still there. Can you see it from your house? Regards Ray
     
  7. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    Not quite ... I'm about 10 miles from Greenwich with an awful lot of houses in between ;) But I have been to the Observatory or seen it from the river several times - Greenwich is one of my favourite places to visit.
     
  8. Omexa

    Omexa Registered User
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    I thought that this may have been of interest to Pocket Watch Collectors; who probably set their Pocket Watches from the Radio or a Computer. This what people used in earlier times.
    Time ball locations
    Adelaide Time Ball-34.839246,138.480958
    Aloha Time Ball, Hawaii21.307107,-157.866079
    Boston Time Ball42.356817,-71.056582
    Brighton Clock Tower Time Ball0,0
    Brisbane Time Ball-27.465753,153.023077
    Capetown Time Ball-33.905918,18.419226
    Cincinnati Time Ball39.139088,-84.42264
    Cornhill Time Ball0,0
    Deal Time Ball51.2219,1.4042
    Electric Telegraph Office Time Ball0,0
    Fremantle Time Ball-32.05617,115.741172
    Gdansk Time Ball54.406366,18.661236
    Glasgow Time Ball55.856796,-4.260928
    Greenwich Time Ball51.477819,-0.001278
    Hong Kong timeball22.294791,114.169757
    Lyttelton Time Ball-43.606483,172.726775
    Nelson Monument Time Ball55.954476,-3.182748
    New Orleans Cotton Exchange29.952216,-90.071425
    Newcastle Time Ball, Australia0,0
    Norwich Time Ball52.628547,1.296973
    Pt Gellibrand Time Ball Tower-37.52, 144.54
    San Francisco Time Ball37.79543,-122.393502
    St Helena Time Ball-15.955652,-5.699158
    St Louis Time Ball0,0
    Sydney Time Ball-33.859594,151.204558
    Times Square Time Ball NYC, USA40.756046,-73.990257
    Washington D.C Time Ball38.921261,-77.06652
    From: “The One o’Clock Gun & Time Ball Association”.
    Regards Ray
     
  9. davy26

    davy26 Registered User

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    Ray - I've just come across this thread while researching Thomas Porthouse and his partnership with French. Now this is Jacob French, and he's the maker/jeweller who had premises called 'The City Observatory,' (eventually sold to Bennett). Jacob was something of a scoundrel, and not at all in the Santiago French league! In fact Santiago's son, John, and William French, who were based at 9 Royal Exchange in the 1850s/60s, placed newspaper ads in 1860 to specifically disassociate their business from Jacob's activities. The whole story of the Porthouses and Jacob and his brothers is a fascinating one, which I'm expecting to complete by the end of the year. Meanwhile thanks for your original posting of the images of Jacob's watch and the premises. Regards. David.
     
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  10. Allan C. Purcell

    Allan C. Purcell Registered User
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    Just for you Ray.


    upload_2019-11-25_18-55-37.jpeg IMG_1140.JPG IMG_1143.JPG IMG_1159.JPG
     
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  11. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    We had a fascinating talk at the BHI about the restoration of the ball at Greenwich. It had a bit of a hard life being kicked about by builders.

    I knew about the French makers of the Royal Exchange, they were well known clockmakers.
     
  12. Les harland

    Les harland Registered User

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    #12 Les harland, Nov 25, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
    If the Bennet mentioned in post No 9 is Sir John Bennet he was a character
    Wkipedia has an article about him
    John Bennett (watchmaker) - Wikipedia
    There is also a thread about Sir John Bennet's workshop in the Tower Monumental and street clocks forum under Sir John Bennet Jeweller shop Dearborn
     
  13. davy26

    davy26 Registered User

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  14. Les harland

    Les harland Registered User

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    Very interesting article Davy
    I think The Advertising Standards Authority would have had a little chat with Sir John Bennet about some of his claims in his adverts
     
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