Tuesday, 23 May 2017

One Watch - Four Names

Fusee Lever signed Harrisson & Son, Darlington. 1877.
The watch has a substantial size 18 Fusee movement in a silver case made in 1877. A nice, well made watch as well it might with 4 well known names associated with it.


Long Case Clock by W. Harrison of
Hexham c1825 and insert English
Watch Co Chronograph 1882 signed by
W.E. Harrison of Stockton-On-Tees.
The first and most obvious is that of Harrison (and Son) of Darlington on the dial and movement, the Harrison’s were a large clan of watchmakers from the north east of England, probably related to the John Harrison who won the longitude prise for his 18th century chronometers who originated in Northumberland.
Unfortunately without a great deal of research the actual relationships between the various branches of the family is likely to remain unclear, particularly as many of them were called John or William and several seemed to move around quite frequently.

As best as I can make out from Loomes[i], the Harrison who made our long case clock in the 1820’s and who was at the time based in Hexham (before that he worked in Newcastle upon Tyne and after in Morpeth, then Warkworth and then back to Newcastle) was probably the father or the uncle of the Harrison of Harrison & Son of Darlington.

The second and third names are a bit harder to find, but under the dial the movement is stamped “N & Y”, this is for Isaac J.T. Newsome and (Frederick) Samuel Yeomans, two important men in the Coventry watch trade in the late 19th century.

A Newsome finished CWCCo movement 1894.
Some years after the Fusee watch was made they were trading on their own accounts running two of the larger watch manufacturing operations in Coventry – although small by comparison by Rotherham – making high quality watches.
Unusually both signed at least some of their movements under the dial so they can be identified and they also had their own silver marks so many complete watches are also identifiable.

Early watches were from Prescott ebauché but both were early customers of the Coventry Watch Movement Company and for at least one it is easy to see why......

An unusual watch - made by the Lancashire Watch
Company but resold by Yeomans. 1896.
I have seen considerably more movements by Newsome which suggests that he had the larger business which may be attributable to Yeomans in 1889 being one of the founders and chairman of the Coventry Watch Movement Company. 

Later an S.T. Newsome[ii] was also involved with the CWMCo but it is unclear from my reading in what capacity although he was clearly senior as in 1903 he stood in for the then chairman at the AGM.
The forth big name is the case maker, John Hammon of Clerkenwell.

The Hammons were important makers with addresses in London from 1822 onwards (including a “Manufactory” in Sekforde St) and with what was probably another branch of the family in Coventry from 1869[iii].

[i] Watchmakers and clockmakers of the World, Brian Loomes, NAG Press, 2006.
[ii] Watches 1850 – 1980, M. Cutmore, David & Charles, 1989.
[iii] Watch Case Makers of England, Philip T. Priestly, NAWCC, 1994.

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