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G.P. Reed
George P. Reed was born in 1827 in Grafton, N.H., and apprenticed to Jacob Carter in Concord, N.H. He worked for Dennison, Howard and Davis in Roxbury and Waltham, Massachusetts, and may have been involved from the very beginning of the American watch industry. He was granted 13 patents during his career including his mainspring barrel safety patent, a feature on early Howard key wind watches, that prevented damage to the watch train in the event of a mainspring failure (Harrold, 21). In 1865 he started his own watchmaking business producing chronometers, and 16S and 18S watches. 

Where this example, signed "G.P. Reed Fitchburg Mass", fits into Reed's history is not known but it appears to predate his 1865 venture. 
 
G.P. Reed Watch
 
https://sites.google.com/site/americancolonialwatches/home/colonialwatches/g-p-reed/GP%20Reed%202.JPG

Maker:
Number:
City:
Date:
G.P. Reed
69397
Fitchburg, MA
1851
Description: Full plate detached lever fusee movement, with 
bimetallic compensating balance, 19J. "RL 18 0" stamped on the dial plate. Missing dust cap. Movement back plate engraved G P Reed Fitchburg, Mass. Silver consular case has Chester date mark for 1851 and makers mark "RS" Ralph Samuel of 54 Wood Street, Liverpool. 

G.P. Reed Watch


Ralph Samuel appears to be one of the larger Liverpool case makers producing about 600 gold and 800 silver cases a month. He testified to the House of Commons in 1856, "There is an immense trade in uncased watches, or movements, sent to the United Sates in tin boxes, and there they are cased", highlighting a concern that American case makers were forging London and Chester 18K gold marks on substandard 8 carat cases (Priestley, 52). While this watch is cased in silver, the testimony by case maker Ralph Samuel evidences the large trade in both movements and complete watches to America in the 19th century.  


References and recommended reading:
  • Michael Harrold, American Watchmaking, A Technical History of the American Watch Industry 1850-1930, NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin Supplement No. 14 (1984)
  • Philip Priestley, Watch Case Makers of England, NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin Supplement No. 20 (1994)