T. B. Mason / Framingham verge

jboger

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I don't think I posted the following verge. It's signed by T. B. Mason of Framingham (could be J. B. Mason, but I think a T). I've had it for awhile. I've checked my usual U.S. resources with no luck.

I found a Framlingham in the UK, but this verge has no L in the place name. There is a Framingham in Massachusetts, however. I believe it's marked for Chester and the year 1827.

John

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jboger

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John:

Thank you. I forgot to check that list. I checked lists of silversmiths, jewellers, and of course watchmakers, but forgot that list.

Thanks again.
 

John Matthews

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John - it's PatH that you should be thanking :)

John
 

jboger

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Good Lord. Losing my marbles. I missed the "W" that Graham added to (W)illington. And now this. Sorry, Pat H. Thanks for that. I may print the watch papers out and insert them into the case.

John
 

PatH

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Not a problem.:)

Now that we know that there was a T.B. Mason in Framingham, Mass., hopefully someone else will come along with additional information on the movement and case.
 

John Matthews

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John

Are you certain that the movement is in its original cases?

As you say the hallmarks are Chester 1827/28 and the case maker's mark that of Thomas HELSBY & Co, 22 Northampton Street, Liverpool. The marks appear to be genuine.

The movement is not what I expect to see from a Liverpool finished watch of this period. To confirm, I would like to see further photographs: if possible the front of the pillar plate under the dial, some edge shots and with the movement fitted in the cases. The lack of a barrel bridge is atypical of a English verge. Most English verges of this quality and age, were finished in Coventry, probably based upon a Lancashire frame, Such watches are unlikely to have been cased by Helsby. I cannot say more without further photographs.

John
 

jboger

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John:

The retailer's name in a simple script seems different to me as well. it's getting late here--and later "over there". I will upload some photos tomorrow.

John
 

jboger

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John:

Attached are the photos you requested. If you think the situation warrants it, I can easily take the balance cock off. Anything more and I will need to take the fusee chain off.

I believe the case is original to the movement and have always been together: (1) inner and outer case markings are the same, (2) the hinge line for the box is nice and tight, (3) and the winding hole lines up with the fusee arbor. I see no signs of a plugged hole. The fact that the winding hole is in the right position and knuckles of the hinge are nice and tight seem to me strong evidence that this is not a later marriage.

The signature "T. B. Mason", which is in a simple script, does not seem (to me) characteristic of a movement from 1827/28 , that is, if we date the movement by the case. But that may only be because of my limited experience. I associate the block lettering of FRAMINGHAM with a later style--more 1840s-50s than 20s or 30s. But again that's based on my limited experience. Many of my later Anglo-American fusees (1840s through 50s) tend to have block lettering, while the earlier ones have script, sometimes very fancy script. My sample size is limited.

OK, so much for that. Note that the dial is a cream color. And that it is convex, hence no dial plate. Let me know if I can help with anything else.

John

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jboger

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What has always struck me as odd about any of these fusees is that round-head screws are used to secure the third-wheel bridge. Why? Isn't that extra work just to make them only to then hide them behind the dial? The screws on the upper plate are flat, although sometimes the balance cock screw is rounded. These round-head screws are very nearly ubiquitous, and this manner of doing things seems to have occurred early in English watchmaking. This T. B. Mason watch is no exception.
 
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John Matthews

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John thank-you for posted the additional photographs

Here is a comparison with two verges from the same period - my assessment is that they increase in quality of finish from left to right (sorry).

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The centre example was finished in Coventry and the third in London - it having the diamond cap jewel and has a dust cap. The one in the centre is a typical example of the standard being produced in Coventry in the mid-1820s. These watches being sold in retail outlets throughout the UK, particularly in market towns and industrial centres.

I remain surprised that what appears to me to be a Coventry movement was cased in a Liverpool pair case. This causes me to consider whether it was ordered by a 'Liverpool dealer' from Coventry as a assembled movement for the American market. I wonder if it was a part of a batch order of movements without a retailer's signature and it was subsequently finished in Liverpool where it was cased.

It is a bit of an enigma to me.

John
 

jboger

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John:

What you surmise seems reasonable. Are there other reasonable scenarios that could explain why a Coventry movement is in a Liverpool case?

John
 

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