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clocks & watches

Clocks and watches

Early Clocks

Gothic Clocks The first mechanical clocks were made in about 1300. They were very large clocks often in church bell towers, These clocks were powered by falling weights and regulated by a “foliot”, which is a beam, pivoted at the centre and oscillating in the horizontal plane. These clocks had no minute hand and sometimes […]  Continue Reading »

European Wall Clocks

From the beginning of the 18th century, French clock making enjoyed a revival. French clocks were always designed firstly as decorative furniture and only secondarily as timepieces.. The French version of the longcase clock looks like a mantle clock standing on a pedestal. French “cartel” clocks were wall clocks in an elaborate frame of highly […]  Continue Reading »

Vienna Regulators

These popular clocks of the last quarter of the nineteenth century were neither regulators nor always from Vienna. True regulators are clocks designed to achieve the highest possible precision. Vienna “regulators” give the appearance of being precise because they have a second hand. However, because of their short pendulum, the second hand rotates in 45 […]  Continue Reading »

Longcase Clocks

The theory of the application of pendulums to clocks was worked out in 1658 by the Dutchman Christiaan Huygens but was first commercially exploited by the English clockmaker John Fromanteel in the same year. Early English pendulum c locks were either spring-driven “bracket” clocks or weight-driven “hooded wall” clocks, which look like the top of […]  Continue Reading »

American Clocks

A few longcase clocks were made in America in the 18th and early 19th century. These  were similar to provincial English longcase clocks, or had wooden movements similar to Black Forest clocks. Early in the 19th century, the “wag on the wall” became popular. This was a weight-driven wooden clock with a pendulum swinging in […]  Continue Reading »

Mass-produced French Clocks

During much of the nineteenth century the French mass-produced small, round clock mechanisms which they fitted into an enormous variety of cases. These were the best quality mass-produced clocks of the time.    Antique French clocks available now(Clicking on an item of interest will open a new window)  Continue Reading »

Pocket Watches

From about 1620, the English began manufacturing pocket watches. (Pockets had been introduced in men’s breeches about fifty years earlier). In contrast to the earlier Continental watches, the English “Puritan” watches were housed in completely plain cases, usually made of silver and, of course, were carried in the pocket whereas earlier watches were usually worn […]  Continue Reading »

American Watches

Americans were the first to mass produce watches. Edward Howard and Aaron Dennison founded the Waltham Watch Company in 1850. They designed machinery to mass produce watches and created a company which continued to do so until 1950. Another American watchmaking company which survived for over a century was founded in 1864. The National Watch […]  Continue Reading »

Swiss Watches

Up to 1835, the Swiss clock and watch making industry has been based on cottage manufacture of components with hand assembly in a factory. In that year, the Vacheron and Constantin factory in Geneva was converted to mechanised production. In 1842, another Geneva manufacturer, Patek-Phillipe (founded in 1839), produced the first watch with a shaft […]  Continue Reading »