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Tobias-Johnson connection?

PapaLouies

NAWCC Member
Apr 14, 2010
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Years ago I read Henry F. Piaget's second edition 1868, THE WATCH: ITS CONSTRUCTION, MERITS AND DEFECTS; page 59.
" There has not been, that I am aware of, for over thirty years, a watch maker of the name of Joseph Johnson at 25 Church street, Liverpool.
From all the information I can gather, after his death, the firm of M.T.(sic) Tobias & C0. purchased from his heirs the right to put his name on their 2d quality movements."
I would say this would be about the time M.I. Tobias died, March 15th 1838 and George Wolf Tobias took over the Co.
Special thanks to John Cote, John Pavlik & Dr. Jon for permission to use their photos. I was unable to contact MA Wilson PE or Keith R. but will post their photos and hope they will not object.
Photos of the first watch are my Josh Johnson 15031, please not the exquisite engraving on the balance cock, possibly done with a pentagraph, and precisely like Josh Johnson 16894. My watch is 16 size 16 jewel and the dial is, except for the name, exactly like Josh Johnson 16894.
Also please not the similar setup, balance wheel, applied index scale & hair spring stud. All the following watches are Liverpool Runners.
Photo of the second watch is John Cote's Josh Johnson 16894 and a link to his post #1.
IMG_2320.JPG IMG_2321.JPG IMG_2322.JPG
.
1642456717794.png

The following watches are M.I. Tobias & Co. watches likely dated early 1850's.
[21]4 M.I. Tobias & Co. #33840 Clockwise Train and Set-up on Barrel Bar  Table Roller (Ca. 184...jpg [21]5 M.I. Tobias & Co. #36428 Clockwise Train and Set-up on Barrel Bar Table Roller (Ca. 1852...jpg [21]6 M.I. Tobias & Co. #37857 Clockwise Train and Set-up on Barrel Bar Likely Table Roller (C...jpg
[21]7 M.I. Tobias & Co. #38014 Clockwise Train and Set-up on Barrel Bar Could be Table Roller ...jpg [21]8 M.I. Tobias & Co. #42722 Clockwise Train and Set-up on Barrel Bar without spring Table R...jpg 1642456466468.png [21]4 M.I. Tobias & Co. #33840 Clockwise Train and Set-up on Barrel Bar  Table Roller (Ca. 184...jpg [21]5 M.I. Tobias & Co. #36428 Clockwise Train and Set-up on Barrel Bar Table Roller (Ca. 1852...jpg [21]6 M.I. Tobias & Co. #37857 Clockwise Train and Set-up on Barrel Bar Likely Table Roller (C...jpg [21]7 M.I. Tobias & Co. #38014 Clockwise Train and Set-up on Barrel Bar Could be Table Roller ...jpg [21]8 M.I. Tobias & Co. #42722 Clockwise Train and Set-up on Barrel Bar without spring Table R...jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

PapaLouies

NAWCC Member
Apr 14, 2010
1,362
657
113
Country
Years ago I read Henry F. Piaget's second edition 1868, THE WATCH: ITS CONSTRUCTION, MERITS AND DEFECTS; page 59.
" There has not been, that I am aware of, for over thirty years, a watch maker of the name of Joseph Johnson at 25 Church street, Liverpool.
From all the information I can gather, after his death, the firm of M.T.(sic) Tobias & C0. purchased from his heirs the right to put his name on their 2d quality movements."
I would say this would be about the time M.I. Tobias died, March 15th 1838 and George Wolf Tobias took over the Co.
Special thanks to John Cote, John Pavlik & Dr. Jon for permission to use their photos. I was unable to contact MA Wilson PE or Keith R. but will post their photos and hope they will not object.
Photos of the first watch are my Josh Johnson 15031, please not the exquisite engraving on the balance cock, possibly done with a pentagraph, and precisely like Josh Johnson 16894. My watch is 16 size 16 jewel and the dial is, except for the name, exactly like Josh Johnson 16894.
Also please not the similar setup, balance wheel, applied index scale & hair spring stud. All the following watches are Liverpool Runners.
Photo of the second watch is John Cote's Josh Johnson 16894 and a link to his post #1.
View attachment 690685 View attachment 690686 View attachment 690687
.
View attachment 690704
The following watches are M.I. Tobias & Co. watches likely dated early 1850's.
View attachment 690707 View attachment 690708 View attachment 690718
View attachment 690719 View attachment 690720 ds, Irrigate Regards, P/L View attachment 690702
some one please remove ds, Irrigate!
 

PapaLouies

NAWCC Member
Apr 14, 2010
1,362
657
113
Country
Years ago I read Henry F. Piaget's second edition 1868, THE WATCH: ITS CONSTRUCTION, MERITS AND DEFECTS; page 59.
" There has not been, that I am aware of, for over thirty years, a watch maker of the name of Joseph Johnson at 25 Church street, Liverpool.
From all the information I can gather, after his death, the firm of M.T.(sic) Tobias & C0. purchased from his heirs the right to put his name on their 2d quality movements."
I would say this would be about the time M.I. Tobias died, March 15th 1838 and George Wolf Tobias took over the Co.
Special thanks to John Cote, John Pavlik & Dr. Jon for permission to use their photos. I was unable to contact MA Wilson PE or Keith R. but will post their photos and hope they will not object.
Photos of the first watch are my Josh Johnson 15031, please not the exquisite engraving on the balance cock, possibly done with a pentagraph, and precisely like Josh Johnson 16894. My watch is 16 size 16 jewel and the dial is, except for the name, exactly like Josh Johnson 16894.
Also please not the similar setup, balance wheel, applied index scale & hair spring stud. All the following watches are Liverpool Runners.
Photo of the second watch is John Cote's Josh Johnson 16894 and a link to his post #1.
View attachment 690685 View attachment 690686 View attachment 690687
.
View attachment 690704
The following watches are M.I. Tobias & Co. watches likely dated early 1850's.
View attachment 690707 View attachment 690708 View attachment 690718
View attachment 690719 View attachment 690720 ds, Irrigate Regards, P/L View attachment 690702
A better photo of 38014.
1642460706931.png
 

Benjamin E.

NAWCC Member
Sep 7, 2015
81
29
18
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Johnson and Tobias certainly worked within a style and indeed their products looked similar throughout the ages. Liverpool watches had a distinctive look, between the jewels, the engraving, the runner setup, Massey escapements, and other points as well. Tobias did indeed put a different name on second quality watches, but it was that of William Robinson. Third quality was sold under John Edwards.
 
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John Matthews

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Sep 22, 2015
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With all discussions of this nature it is well to remember that while it is possible to identify various components of a movement as being in the 'Liverpool style', those various components were made by specialist individuals, not all of whom worked for the person whose signature is one the watch. Many of the specialist may have worked for more than one 'signature' - who in many cases were more 'managers of the manufacture' rather than watch makers.

The history as to what happened after Johnson's death in 1827 would have to take into account the partnership entries in the London Gazette, e.g.

1642518251602.png

and this notice from which I infer Mary may have continued business activities after her husband died.

1642518578166.png
Are there any legal documents that are being used to substantiate the arrangement between Johnson & Tobias?

John
 
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PapaLouies

NAWCC Member
Apr 14, 2010
1,362
657
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Thanks for your comments, Benjamin.
I'm not hanging my hat on Piaget's statement " 2d quality movements."
I am however suggesting that George Wolf Tobias was producing watches signed Josh Johnson in the early 1850's.
I have written exhaustively on Tobias's Wm Robinson watches. There are some questions if the watches were considered second-quality.
.
Regards, P/L
 

PapaLouies

NAWCC Member
Apr 14, 2010
1,362
657
113
Country
With all discussions of this nature it is well to remember that while it is possible to identify various components of a movement as being in the 'Liverpool style', those various components were made by specialist individuals, not all of whom worked for the person whose signature is one the watch. Many of the specialist may have worked for more than one 'signature' - who in many cases were more 'managers of the manufacture' rather than watch makers.

The history as to what happened after Johnson's death in 1827 would have to take into account the partnership entries in the London Gazette, e.g.

View attachment 690895

and this notice from which I infer Mary may have continued business activities after her husband died.

View attachment 690896
Are there any legal documents that are being used to substantiate the arrangement between Johnson & Tobias?

John
Not that I know of. Sorry I mis-spelled pantograph.
Regards, P/L
 

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