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Database of Antique Clock Clockmakers' Names and Dates

The Clockmakers’ Company

The reader will notice in this list a great many names that have the notation “C.C.” after them. This refers to their admittance to the London clockmakers’ guild.

As Moore writes: “In 1344 the Master Clockmakers of Paris were incorporated by statute, and in 1627 a proposal to grant letters patent to allow French clockmakers to carry on their trade in London caused such an agitation in that city that a committee of clockmakers was formed, and a petition for a charter was presented to Charles I., which he granted August 22, 1631, as “The Master, Wardens, and Fellowship of the Art of Clockmakers of the City of London.”

Like the other guilds or companies, the clockmakers were empowered by their charter to regulate the trade in London, or within ten miles of the city, and to a certain extent throughout the kingdom. Like other companies they had the “right of search,” which now seems very arbitrary. In order to “prevent the public from being injured by persons making, buying, selling, transporting, and importing any bad, deceitful, or insufficient clocks, watches, larums, sundials, boxes, or cases for the said trade,” powers were given “to enter with a constable or other officer any ships, vessels, warehouses, shops, or other places where they shall suspect such bad and deceitful works to be made or kept, for the purposes of searching for them.” They might enter by force if their progress was denied. This right of search was in force till about 1700.

About the Accuracy of Names and Dates

The accuracy of the dates, places and even the names in this list must not be relied upon unquestioningly. Discrepancies and conflicting data were found between the various sources during the process of their reconciliation, calling into question the accuracy and transcription of the original research. In some cases the differences in dates can be explained by the differences in sources used. One may have cited an advertisement contemporary to the clockmaker as evidence of his active dates; another may have used records from the Clockmakers Company or other official documents.

In many instances a “circa” date is given, meaning the clockmaker was active around that time but that the exact dates of his business activities are unknown. In some cases we could not even approach a reasonable reconciliation of the sourced data. In such cases we have left the disparate entries intact and leave the reader to judge which is the better citation.

Therefore, if a decision is to be made regarding the financial value or disposition of a clock based in large part on the attribution of its maker, this list should be used as the starting point for further research rather than as the final authority.

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