Research resources

The AHS offers a wide range of resources to those studying the story of time as well as to family historians, biographers, dealers, collectors, writers, and media researchers looking for key facts in the history of horology. Below is a set of digital resources we have made available to everyone.

AHS members have additional access to a bigger and growing set of online resources as part of their subscription, including free-text searchable access to Antiquarian Horology from 1953 to two years ago, Horological Journal from 1858 to two years ago, Watch and Clock Maker from 1928 to 1939, Horological Review from 1964 to 1965, and the Electrical Horology Group's Technical Papers series, as well as the following resources:

  • Recordings of AHS and other lectures
  • Full list of AHS books and manuscripts at Guildhall Library
  • Synchronome clock serial number database
  • Details from Sun Life and Royal Exchange fire insurance records (1710–1863)
  • G.H. Baillie, An Historical Bibliography Volume II (1800–1899)
  • Information about the London Gazette and the English horological trade (1720–1849)
  • Information about the horological trade in Georgian London and evidence from Old Bailey trials (1715–1839)
  • Data files about the English watchmaking industry seen through the 1881 UK census
  • Data files regarding Edward East
  • Information about Bahne Bonniksen
  • Extended correspondence from Antiquarian Horology.

Joining the AHS is quick and straightforward online using PayPal or payment cards, or by phone or post.

Women and horology

AHS Women and Horology project
Su Fullwood and Geoff Allnutt are involved in an ongoing research project to uncover and record the work of women in horology. Their growing spreadsheet of names and information is updated regularly and they wish to hear from anyone who can add to it. Find out more and study the spreadsheet here

Research guides

Swiss research resources
This page gathers together links to a series of Swiss online platforms and databases containing research resources relating to the history of horology. Enter the world of Swiss horological history here

Historical timelines

Historical timeline of clocks
A historical timeline of the most important dates in the development of clocks from the 16th century BCE to the mid-20th century. Study the timeline here

Books and manuscripts

John Harrison, An Explanation of My Watch or Timekeeper for the Longitude..., 1763
Transcription (by Andrew King) of John Harrison’s manuscript written before explaining his ‘H4’ longitude timekeeper to the Board of Longitude. (The transcription was made from a complicated original manuscript; there is the possibility of transcription errors.) Also contains important details of his thinking on precision clocks. Download the pdf here (17.6MB)

John Harrison, A Description Concerning Such Mechanism..., 1775
John Harrison’s last word on his clock and timekeeper philosophy, as well as thoughts on musical scales. Highly controversial and difficult to follow, but contains important statements and autobiographical notes. Download the pdf here (35.9MB)

Edmund Howard, A Narrative of Some of the Occurrences in The Life of Edmund Howard..., 1785
This 1785 autobiography richly illuminates the life of a struggling Chelsea clockmaker, Edmund Howard—unrecorded elsewhere. Howard, a Quaker critical of his fellow Friends, lived a long and colourful life. Download the pdf here (5.8MB)

Antiquarian Horological Society, Electrifying Time, 1976
In early 1977, an exhibition of electrical horology was mounted at the Science Museum, London, to commemorate the centenary of the death of Alexander Bain. This publication records the history of electrical timekeeping up to the introduction of atomic time, and is the catalogue of that exhibition. Download the pdf here (38.2MB)


R. Howgrave-Graham, A Great Cathedral Clock Rediscovered, 1929
In 2018, the AHS added the Watch and Clock Maker to its extensive library of digital resources available free to AHS members. This sample article describes the Salisbury Cathedral clock, possibly the oldest in the world. Download the pdf here (280KB)

Electrical Horology Group, The Synchronome Master Clock: Adjustments and Setting to Work, 1978
This illustrated document, by Arthur Mitchell, is one of 95 Technical Papers so far published by the AHS’s Electrical Horology Group, one of its three specialist groups. AHS members have full digital access to the Technical Papers in the searchable digital archive. Download this pdf here (1.6MB)

Electrical Horology Group, English Clock Systems Limited: 1-Second Master Clock, 2002
A comprehensive historical overview of the ECS master clock, by Martin Ridout, which builds on earlier EHG Technical Papers, all of which are available to AHS members. Download this pdf here (4.0MB)

Electrical Horology Group, Pul-syn-etic Clocks: Installation, Maintenance and Repair, 2012
Derek Bird’s EHG Technical Paper on Gent Pulsynetic clocks is a comprehensive servicing guide to these popular electric clock systems. Further Gent information is available in other Technical Papers, available to ahs members. Download this pdf here (1.4MB)