By Donald Saff. Clockmaking in the Bond Family.

From Celestial to Terrestrial Timekeeping

Years in the research and writing, this magnificent new AHS publication traces the achievements of the remarkable Bond family, who excelled in practical and theoretical work in astronomy, clock design, time distribution, and celestial photography—assisting astronomers to map the sky, sailors to determine longitude at sea, and the New England Railroads to run to time.

At the 1851 Great Exhibition, the Bonds introduced the drum chronograph to the scientific community, combatting the human inaccuracies inherent in observing star transits. The system was greatly admired and universally employed. The Astronomer Royal, Sir George Airy, even coined a term for it: the ‘American Method’.

The book has extensive endnotes, a detailed index and bibliography, and is profusely illustrated with 450 images, mainly in colour (featuring Bond family members, astronomer colleagues, shop drawings, and clocks and chronographs with details) as well as measured drawings of selected Bond clocks. The Appendix list clocks with historical details, advertisements, correspondence, publications, sales notes, servicing records, and a genealogy. The book is of 440 pages, casebound, 270mm x 210mm, in a buckram cloth cover and on 150gsm art silk paper, with head and tail bands and silk ribbon, and a printed dustjacket.


Ch. 1 Commodification of Time

Ch. 2 An Extraordinary Family

Ch. 3 The Family Business

Ch. 4 From Chronometric Expeditions to the Transatlantic Cable

Ch. 5 Time for New England’s Railroads

Ch. 6 Break-Circuit

Ch. 7 Time Service, Electricity, and the Role of Harvard College Observatory

Ch. 8 The Chronograph, The ‘Spring Governor’, and the Conical Pendulum

Ch. 9 Failed Experiments: Isodynamic Escapement and Multiple Pendulums

Ch. 10 Bond’s Variation on Denison’s Escapement

Ch. 11 The Trio: Bond nos. 394, 395 and 396



Orders may be placed by telephone and paid for by credit or debit card (please note that we are unable to accept American Express at present).

Telephone 020 7062 7479, international +44 20 7062 7479 (24-hour answering machine)

Alternatively, please send your order together with the appropriate remittance to:


4 Lovat Lane



Cheques should be made payable to 'Antiquarian Horological Society'.

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