Current issue of Antiquarian Horology


Volume 44, Issue 4 December 2023

On the front cover: We don’t have records of the names of the men who wound the Great Clock of Westminster in the early days, but they have left their marks in the form of footprints worn into the ground around the clock. Photo Simon Camper.
‘Big Ben’ features prominently in the section AHS News in this issue.

This issue contains the following articles:

‘Clockmaking and practical mathematics in the provinces of Britain and France, 1500–1800’
by Anthony Turner (pages 461–487)
Summary: Clock- and watch-making in Early Modern France and Britain was not exclusively an urban activity. In towns and villages throughout the provinces time-measurement by clocks, watches or sundials was required, while elaborate astronomical clocks acted as mechanical almanacs and advanced popular education. At the same time, such items displayed their makers’ skills, opening a path to income and reputation. This article is based on the AHS London lecture delivered on 9 March 2023. AHS members can watch a recording of the lecture in the website member area.

‘The Bull family of clockmakers Part 2. Randolph Bull (c. 1557–1617)’
by Adrian A Finch,Valerie J Finch and Anthony W Finch (pages 488–506)
Summary: Continued from Antiquarian Horology, September 2023, 339–352. The second part of this article continues the story of the Bull family with Randolph Bull, who was John Bull’s brother and apprentice. Randolph Bull was trained in John’s workshop probably by Michael Nouwen but he worked with Bartholomew Newsam in the early 1580s and established himself independently in St Gregory by St Paul’s parish in 1582. He was appointed as royal clock-keeper in 1589 on the death of his brother. Randolph Bull’s workshop produced the earliest pocket watch bearing an Englishman’s name and trained a significant part of the watch and clock-making community of the period. His eldest son Cuthbert was introduced to the Goldsmiths’ Company in 1605 but died soon afterwards. Randolph tried to bring his son Emmanuel to take over his business, but Emmanuel displeased his father and was replaced in Randolph’s succession by Anthony Risby and Francis Foreman. Randolph died in 1617; the community trained by the Bulls would in the fullness of time become a central part of the workforce that established the Clockmakers’ Company in 1631.

Grande sonnerie monumental clocks of Detouche and Houdin (c1855). Part 1’
by Denis Roegel (pages 507–516)
Summary: In the early 1850s, the clockmakers Constantin-Louis Detouche (1810–1889) and Jacques-François Houdin (1783–1860) developed a new system of ‘grande sonnerie’ for public clocks. This article aims at describing this little known system.

‘John Donegan’s watch factory in Ireland’
by David Boles (pages 517–528)
Summary: In ‘The Irish Museum of Time, Waterford, Ireland’, published in the December 2022 journal, mention was made of a contemporary description of John Donegan’s watch factory, published in the Dublin Weekly Nation newspaper edition of 1 May 1858. This article offers a transcription of this interesting document, with a short introduction and some explanatory insertions.. (Read this article here)

‘Stephen Rimbault (1711–86)’
by James Nye (pages 529–537)
Summary: When the Seven Dials Trust recently decided to press ahead with erecting a plaque in Monmouth Street to commemorate Stephen Rimbault, the AHS was asked to verify his dates. What might be thought to be a trivially easy enquiry revealed that no biographical summary for this well-known maker had been undertaken previously. The following notes address this deficiency, and correct some misinformation that is regularly repeated, particularly with regard to working dates.

‘Picture Gallery: Three coach watches’
by Artemis Yagou (pages 538–544)
In this Picture Gallery we illustrate three objects from the Timekeeping collection of the Deutsches Museum in Munich, that, because of their size, may be classified as coach watches.

‘Unfreezing Time #16’ by Patricia Fara (pages 545–547) (Read the whole series of articles here)

The issue totals 144 pages and is illustrated mainly in colour, and is completed by the regular sections Horological News, Book Reviews, AHS News, Notes from the Librarian, Letters and Further Reading.