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 the journals Antiquarian Horology back to 1953, Horological Journal from 1858 to 2000, and Watch and Clock Maker from 1928 to 1939, as well as the following databases and publications:

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 regarding Edward East (1602–c.1695); and extended correspondence from Antiquarian Horology.

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


Historical timeline
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


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)


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)


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)