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, bibliographies and indexes

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

Alun C. Davies bibliography
In researching his 2022 book The Rise and Decline of England’s Watchmaking Industry, 1550–1930, Alun C. Davies developed an extensive bibliography, covering nearly fifty pages. It is a vitally useful tool for researchers studying the history of horology. Find out more and download the bibliography here

Index to Thomas Earnshaw, Longitude, An Appeal to the Public..., 1808
Created by Jonathan Betts. Many historic and interesting books on horology are without indexes. Finding useful references and checking for content relevant to one's research can be difficult in such books. An interesting case in point is Thomas Earnshaw's historically important book of 1808, Longitude, an Appeal to the Public..., but in this case indexing has now been carried out and can be found here. Further indexing projects might be undertaken in future and if so, these will be added to this resource.

Timelines, animations and directories

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

Horological animations
John Redfern was a leading horologist and animator as well as a long-standing AHS member and lecturer. With a background in the film industry, his horological animations were world-leading. On his death in 2019, a website was created to gather together his animation work as well as his wider contributions to horology. Explore Redfern Animation here (the AHS has no connection with any of the content linked from here)

Directory of early clockmakers and apprentices
Valerie, Anthony and Adrian Finch, Antiquarian Horology authors and Percy Dawson medalists, carried out extensive research over the years 1980 to 2010 into early English clockmakers and apprentices. Their summary notes have been compiled by Adrian Finch into a directory comprising over 1,000 entries. You can visit the directory here (the AHS has no connection with any of the content linked from 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)

James Upjohn, The Life and Travels of James Upjohn…, 1784
Edited by John Leopold and Roger Smith (2016), this offers Upjohn’s first-hand insight into the state of the British and Continental watch trade in the mid-eighteenth century. It contains images of the original manuscript with a transcription, scholarly interpretation by John Leopold and Roger Smith, maps showing Upjohn’s journeys, and a full index. Download the pdf here (187MB)

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)

Translation of Albert Schück, Der Kompass (volume 1), 1911
English translation, by Peter de Clercq, of volume 1 of Albert Schück’s comprehensive work on the history of the compass. Includes a translator's introduction, list of Schück’s publications, synopsis of volumes 2 and 3, images of the 46 original plates, and the original German text. Download the high-resolution pdf here (156MB) or the low-resolution pdf here (7MB)

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)

Dr Alun C. Davies, ‘Rural Clockmaking in Eighteenth Century Wales: Samuel Roberts of Llanfair Caereinion, 1755–1774’, Business History Review, 59 (1985), 49–75.
This article offers an analysis of a rare and important business record, the ‘Register of Clocks, 1755–74’ of a Welsh clockmaker. Download this pdf here (3.5MB)