Friday, 14 November 2014

A Family affair: Two pieces by Harrison

The Harrison family (alas probably not those of the Longitude prize fame) appear to have been in the clock and watch business for close to two hundred years from the early 17 hundreds until at least the late 1800's, they moved about the North East between Hexham, Stockton-On-Tees, Morpeth, Warkworth, Houghton-l-Spring and Chester-Le-Street, some individuals moving several time and are marked "restless" in Loomes.

The long-case clock is a family piece and is a chiming 8 day movement in an oak and mahogany case by W. Harrison of Hexham probably c 1825.

So when I saw the pocket watch signed by W.E. Harrison of Stockton-On-Tees I had to get it although it looked a poor candidate for restoration with a comment in the eBay listing saying "unable to test as I have no key", of course it is a keyless movement - that excuse usually means trouble.

Indeed it is not restorable because some oaf has been inside it with a blunt instrument and the balance staff was trashed, the hairspring largely missing and the cock for the escape wheel had been heavily bent breaking the staff. How someone could achieve that I had no idea.

The watch itself is interesting, signed on the size 16 movement by Harrison it has 11 jewels and a Breguet sprung cut compensating balance. It is a centre seconds movement rather than a chronograph having no stop function and the very dirty but sound case is hallmarked 1882.

If the date for the clock is right then W.E. Harrison appears to have been either the son or the nephew of W. Harrison.

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