Watchmaking Advertisements

By the late 17th century, watchmakers utilized rough movements (also called unfinished movements, movements in the grey, and ébauches) and component parts made by others. Small-scale watchmaking was also taking place in colonial America using comparable methods and tools. (expand for more information)

The required skills, tools, workmen and establishments were all in place as advertisements and probate records evidence. We also know with certainty, thanks to the research of Catherine Hollan, Philip Priestly and others, that a significant number of casemakers and even a few champlevé dial makers were operating in colonial America in the 18th century.

1737 Joseph Richardson, Boston: Makes Watch Cases

In October 1737 he charged clockmaker John Wood £0/8/1 for "Caseing a watch Case silver & Making." In 1738 charged John Young £1 for making a watch case weighing 1 oz. 14 dwt. (Martha Gandy Fales, Joseph Richardson and Family, Philadelphia Silversmiths, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, 1974)


1745 James Turner, Boston: Makes Watch Dials (silver champlevé dials)

James Turner, Silversmith & Engraver, Near the Town-House in Cornhill, Boston, Engraves all sorts of copper plates for the Rolling Press, all sorts of Stamps in Brass or Pewter for the common Printing Press, Coats of Arms, Crests, Cyphers, &c., on gold, Silver, Steel, Copper, Brass or Pewter. He likewise makes Watch Faces, makes and cuts Seals in Gold, silver, or Steel: or makes Steel Faces for Seals, and sets them handsomely in Gold or Silver… (The Boston Evening-Post, June 24, 1745)


1745 James Atkinson, Boston: Finishes Watches

James Atkinson, Watch-Maker, in Cornhill, near the Market in Boston, from the North-Side of royal Exchange in London. Makes and sells all Sorts of Watches and Clocks made in a complete manner of his own name, warranted, a variety of both he has now by him: also repairs all sorts of Watches in a careful and expeditious Manner; finishes the Dial Plate, &c. and fits them up in all Respects complete and as reasonable as in London; sells Ladies Chains for Watches, and all sorts of Men’s Chains, Seals, Gold and silver and plain Watch Strings, Ear-Rings, Diamond Rings, &c. … Has likewise sundry Goods to dispose of, imported in the last Ships from London ...(Boston Gazette, January 8, 1745)


1753 James Atkinson, Boston: Supplies Parts

James Atkinson, Watch-Maker from London, Opposite the Governor’s House, near the Secretary’s Office in Halifax; Repairs and cleanses all Sorts of Watches, at the lowest Prices, with Fidelity and Dispatch. Sells all Sorts of materials for Watches, Viz. Main Springs, Glasses, Pendants, Keys, Seals, Strings, Chains, Enamel Dial Plates, &c. Buys Old Silver, Gold and silver lace, &c. (The Halifax Gazette, August 25, 1753)


1754 Henry Flower, Philadelphia: Makes Mainsprings

To be sold by Henry Flower, Watch-maker, At the sign of the Dial, in Second-street, Philadelphia, Choice Watch-Springs by the dozen, made in this city, and warranted to be good…(The Pennsylvania Gazette, April 4, 1754)


1755 Henry Flower, Philadelphia: Gilds Movements

Henry Flower, Watchmaker, at the sign of the Dial, in Second-street, between Black-horse Alley and Chestnut-street, Makes and repairs all sorts of watches and clocks in the best manner. Likewise gilds sword hilts, watch movements and Pinchbeck cases, chased or plain, snuff-boxes, watch-chains, or anything of the kind. (The Pennsylvania Gazette, September 18, 1755)


1757 Carden Proctor, New York: Movement Finisher and Gilds Cases

Carden Proctor, watch movement maker, and finisher, in Hanover-Squire, between the fire-engine house, and the sign of the Unicorn & Mortar, sells and repairs, plain, repeating or horizontal watches; also clocks: He likewise gilds plain or chased cases, lady's chains, snuff boxes, buckles, sward hilts, &c. in the best and cheapest manner… (The New-York Mercury, August 18, 1755)


1757 Richard Glover, Philadelphia: Gilds Movements

Richard Glover, watch gilder from London (Hollan, Philadelphia Silversmiths & Related Artisans to 1861)


1764 Owen Biddle, Philadelphia: Supplies Blistered Steel (for Spring Making)

Owen Biddle, clock and watch maker … makes and repairs all kinds of clocks and watches in the neatest and best manner. Also Trenton blistered Steel, warranted to be of the best quality, is sold in any quantity, at a moderate price, with allowance to County Store keepers and Retailers. (The Pennsylvania Gazette, November 15, 1764)


1765 James Hanna, Quebec: Supplies and Finishes Wheels, Makes Cases

James Hanna, at the Sign of the Eagle and Watch, in Construction Street, makes and sells gold, pinchbeck and silver watches, large house clocks, and camber ditto… Watchmakers may be supplied with any thing in their way, with all sorts of watch wheels, plain and repeating, cut and finished in the best manner. He gives the highest prices for old gold and silver. (The Quebec Gazette, August 8, 1765)


1766 Thomas Skidmore, Lancaster: Finishes Watches

Thomas Skidmore. Wanted, an Apprentice to a Watch-maker; he must be a lad of Genius, and of creditable parents; he must serve Seven Years, and notwithstanding he will have an Opportunity (which is not very common in America) of making the Movement, and finishing the same, the Apprentice Fee (if small) provided the Boy Suits, will be accepted…N. B. The said Skidmore learnt his Business in London. (The Pennsylvania Gazette, November 20, 1766)


1767 Thomas Skidmore, Lancaster: Finishes Watches, Supplies Parts

Thomas Skidmore. Watch finisher, from London, Now living opposite the Court-house door, in the borough of Lancaster, Undertakes to make good, sound, and neat silver watches, for £12 currency; and as many people have been under the necessity of importing good watches from England or Ireland, he now assures those who would incline to have good watches, that he has, besides himself, two regular bred workmen from England; the one a movement-maker, and the other a motion-maker: Therefore any person who wants a watch, he will warrant it for three years, without mending, to the purchaser, and whatever size the purchaser chooses, from the size of a half dollar, to a larger, they may have, and in three months' time from bespeaking of it. He also repairs watches after the neatest and best manner, and at a reasonable price.

N. B. He also makes wheels, pinions, verges, &c. for watch-menders, which he will sell low. Any person wanting a watch of Twenty Guineas price, may be here supplied as in London. (The Pennsylvania Gazette, September 24, 1767)


1768 Burrows Dowdney, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Finishes Watches

Burrows Dowdney, Watch and Clock-maker, in Front-Street, a few doors above the Drawbridge, in the shop lately occupied by Mr. Emanuel (?), Makes and repairs all kinds of Clocks and Watches, after the neatest and best manner. All those that will favor him with their custom may depend on having their Work done as reasonably as possible, and executed with the utmost care and dispatch.


1769 Estate of Watchmaker Rudy Stoner, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

1 watch, £5/0/0

1 timepiece and case, £5/0/0

1 new 8 day clock, £12/0/0

1 small time piece with alarm, £2/10/0

1 chime, £12/0/0

1 horisontal watch, unfinished, £2/10/0

1 alarm watch, unfinished, £4/0/0

5 other watches, unfinished, £2/10/0

1 oz old silver, £0/8/0

1 Watch, unfinished, £1/0/0

1 springs, warranted, £2/15/0; 6 do, £1/4/0

2 clock faces, £0/8/0

7 doz & 4 Watch Christials, £0/14/0

9 hour hands, £0/8/0

3 Chenea Watch faces, £0/14/0

2 do, £0/5/0

5 setts of Hands for Watches, £0/10/0

4 toys for Watches, £0/2/0

7 Watch Chains, £0/5/0

2 Magnifying Glasses, £0/2/6

1 Cutting Engine for Watch work, £12/0/0

2 Bench Vices, £2/0/0

1 Fuse Engine, £1/5/0

1 polishing Engine, £0/15/0

1 prass Lathe, £0/10/0

1 Adjusting Tool, £2/0/0

2 Stakes, 1 Hamer for watche Cases, £0/12/0

1 Beckhorn #3 screw plates, £1/0/0

4 pair cutting Nipper, £0/4/0

5 pair of plyers, £0/6/0

3 pair of Handvices, £0/6/0

2 pair of Stidlongs & 1 pinvice, £0/8/0

3 pair of Dividers, £0/10/6

1 Large clockmakers Lathe, £0/15/0

1 Smaller do, £0/15/0

1 Magnet Artificial, £0/15/0

1 Fusee Engine for Clock work, £0/10/0

1 Barrel Tool, £0/4/0

1 cutting Engine for Clock work, £8/0/0

1 Machine for making Clock Chains, £0/3/0

1 Stock Vice, £1/5/0

1 Adjusting Bob, 1 Spring Blewer, 1 Caleper, £0/14/0

4 Hammers & frosting tools, £0/12/0

1 clock head, £0/5/0

1 pair of Small Scales, £0/1/6

1 par of Bellasses, £3/0/0

1 Anveal, £3/0/0

1 Small do, 3 pair Tongs & 2 Hammers, £1/6/0

3 pair of Lead Flasks, £0/12/0

- Led Patrons, £0/4/0

1 Brace, 1 Square & Scriping Tool, £0/12/6

2 Screw plates, 1 Countersink, 1 Small finning Lathe, £0/7/6

12 Arbers with brass Collects, 9 do with wood, £0/5/3

1 Barrel arbor for Clock Work, 1 do for Watch work £0/8/0

12 turning tools, £0/2/6

8 Ingravers, £0/2/8

5 Opners & 1 Burnishers, £0/1/0

6 Turning Tools, £0/2/0

4 Brass Scrapers, 1 Reemer with 2 Stakes, £0/2/6

5 doz.: watch makers files with Handles, £1/10/0

1 doz: & 8 do., £0/8/4

2 Doz: & 2 do, new, £0/18/0

25 Burnishers Opners Sliting files & Turning Tools, £0/12/6

7 Doz: Collects, £0/2/4

26 Drills & Opners, £0/4/2

2 blowpipes, 2 spring Pliers, £0/6/0

1 foot & 1/2 pinnion wire, £0/3/0

2 Counter Sinkes, 2 Rivetings tools, 1 Gage, £0/2/6

4 Watch makers files, £0/5/0

2 pair Callipers, 2 pair Compasses, 1 pair of Dividers, £0/3/6

6 Clock bells, £0/18/0

1 set Chime bell patrons, £0/2/6

1 Spinthel & Wheel lathe, £0/15/0

1 Small Stone Collerd Case, £0/15/0

1 Blew do., £0/7/6

1 Bird Organ, £0/10/0

8 lb pewter patrons, £0/8/0

1 Case of Tool Drawers, £1/0/0

1 Case of Bench drawers, £0/7/6

1 Glais’d Case for holding watches, £0/3/0

1 Brass Morter & pistol, £0/5/0

2 Chene plates, £0/12/0

1 lot of Ground in Henry Mussers Town, £10/0/0

1 Fucee Gun, £2/15/0


1769 John McLean, Boston: Finishes Watches

John McLean Movement Maker, & Watch Finisher, Begs Leave to acquaint his Friends and the Public, that he has open’d the Shop formerly occupied by him, right over against the Watch-House, and next Door to Mrs. Jane Eustis’s in King-Street. –Where those that are pleased to favor him with their Custom may depend on having their Work executed in the best and most reasonable Manner. Said McLean is now at Work on a Watch, the whole of which will be finished in the Province, except the Two Plates and Cases. (The Boston Gazette, October 9, 1769)


1768 James Hathorn, Philadelphia: Supplies Tools

Just imported per ship Prince George, James Hathorn, Master, from Bristol, and other vessels from England, and to be sold by James Eddy at his store in Second-street, between Market and Chestnut-streets; a large and neat assortment of Ironmongery, &c. amongst which are, … A large and very neat assortment of clock and watchmaker's tools. …(Pennsylvania Gazette, August 18, 1768)


1769 John Harris, Boston: Makes Cases

John Harris, … The same Artist Makes all Sorts of Watch Cases; he covers them with Shagreen, and repairs those which are defective; in the Branch he hath assisted almost every Watch maker in Town. (The Boston Gazette, May 8, 1769)


1770 John Wood, Philadelphia: Finishes Watches

John Wood, Clock and Watch-Maker, at the Corner of Front and Chestnut Streets, has for Sale, A Parcel of neat Philadelphia made Watches, warranted good, and at as low a Price as imported Watches of equal Quality can be afforded. Any Gentleman, or Lady, inclining to encourage this Manufacture, may be suited to their Fancy, at a short Notice, by their humble Servant, John Wood. (The Pennsylvania Gazette, August 2, 1770)


1771 John Wood, Philadelphia: Supplies Parts and Tools

John Wood Jr. Imported, and to be Sold, by John Wood, clock and Watch-Maker, At the Corner of Front and Chestnut-streets, Cast and forged clock-work, sheet brass, finished faces, cast watch-work, clock pinions cut, hard brass wire, pillar brass, clock bells, watch case springs and buttons, gold, silver and pinchbeck pendants, fusee chains, chain hooks, silk strings, catgut, flour emery, rotten stone, pumice stone, silvering, borax, pinion wire, click steel, steel wire, small square steel, flat ditto, clock hands, watch ditto, Turkey oil stones, polishing stones, crocus martis, gilding wax, and scratch brushes, clock gravers, clock turn benches, watch ditto, enameled dial-plates, watch bench vices, hand and tail vices, sliding tongs, cutting nippers, watch beak irons, small hammers, watch-case hammers and stakes, broaches, pinion and frame gauges, clock and watch screw plates, punches, spring saw frames, braces and bitts, spring blowers, steel tweezers, dividers, calipers, scrapers, freezing tools, beam compasses, clock and watch plyers, riveting tools, endless screw keys, blow pipes, screw drivers, black wax, watch pendulum wires, bunting chains, oil stone slips, colored watch papers, &c. Also all kinds of clock and watch files, and a parcel of silver watches. (The Pennsylvania Gazette, June 27, 1771)


1771 John Wood, Philadelphia: Finishes Watches

John Wood. --- Philadelphia-Made Watches. The subscriber, having engaged in his employ some capital workmen from London, in the different branches of watch-making, can furnish any gentlemen with repeating, horizontal, seconds, or plain watches, warranted good. – The advantage of having the maker of such machines on the spot, is obvious to every purchaser, as reputation and interest will engage him to put out of his hands such work only as will give satisfaction; which will be the constant endeavor of the public's humble servant, John Wood. (The Pennsylvania Journal, October 24, 1771)


1772 William Skinner & James Ballentine: Finishes Watches

Having taken James Ballentine into partnership with me, we beg leave to inform the public that at our shop, facing the Parade Ground, we mend and make all sorts of Plain, Repeating, and Musical Clocks, also Plain, Repeating, and Horizontal Watches, with or without gold cases, in the neatest manner. As we both served a regular apprenticeship in our trade in London, and worked some time after in several principal shops there, such Gentlemen as will favor us with their custom either in making or mending way, may depend on having their work faithfully done by their humble servant. William Skinner. James Ballantine. (Virginia Gazette, 30 April 1772, from James Whisker, Virginia Clockmakers and Watchmakers, c. 1660 – 1860)


1772 John Wood, Philadelphia: Finishes Watches

John Wood. --- Watches, of various prices, just imported and to be sold by John Wood, clock and Watch-Maker, In Front-street, at the corner of Chestnut-street, where is done all kinds of Clock and Watch Work, with care and dispatch. He has for sale, some neat and good Philadelphia made Watches. Also, all kinds of Clock and Watch tools and materials. (The Pennsylvania Chronicle, September 26, 1772)


1773 Charles Jacob & Abraham Claude, Annapolis: Finishes Watches

Charles Jacob and Abraham Claude, watchmakers from London, have just opened shop, opposite Mr. Ghiselin’s in West Street, where they repair all sorts of repeating, horizontal and plain watches, in the neatest and most approved manner, and at the most reasonable rates. Those ladies and gentlemen that please do favor them with their custom, may depend on having their work done with the greatest punctuality and exactness, as they will execute all the work themselves without employing any other person, and engage their work for one year; they will also supply any person with watches of their own make and warrant them as good as if bought in London. (Maryland Gazette (Annapolis), February 4, 1773)


1773 David Evans, Baltimore: Finishes Watches

David Evans, Clock and Watch-Maker, From Philadelphia. Informs his Friends and the Public, that he has opened Shop, at the Sign of the Arch-Dial and Watch, next Door to Messieurs Shields and Mattison, Hatters, and adjoining Mr. Francis Sanderson’s, Coppersmith, in Gay-Street; Where he makes musical, horizontal, repeating and plain Clocks, in the neatest manner, and newest fashion, and at the lowest prices. He likewise makes Watches (having employed workmen, regularly bred to the different branches of Watchmaking in London) which he engages to be as good, and equal in quality to any imported… (The Maryland Journal and The Baltimore Advertiser, August 20, 1773)


1773 Thomas Harland, Norwich: Finishes Watches, Supplies Parts

Thomas Harland, Watch & clock Maker, From London, Begs leave to acquaint the public, that he has opened a shop near the store of Christopher Leffingwell, Esq; in Norwich; where he makes, in the neatest manner, and on the most improved principles, horizontal, repeating, and plain watches, in gold, silver, metal, or covered cases. Spring, musical, and plain clocks; church clocks, regulators, &c. He also cleans and repairs watches and clocks with the greatest care and dispatch, and upon the most reasonable terms.


N. B. Clock faces engraved and finished for the trade. Watch wheels and fuzees of all sorts and dimensions cut and finished upon the shortest notice, neat as in London, and at the same price. (The Norwich Packet, December 9, 1773)


1774 Thomas Harland, Norwich: Finishes Watches

Thomas Harland, Clock and Watch Maker, in Norwich, Returns Thanks to his Friends for their kind Encouragement in the above Trades - - Begs leave to inform them, and the Public in general, that he has now completed an Assortment of Warranted Watches, viz. Horizontal, showing Seconds from the Center, Day of Month, Skeleton and Eight-Day Watches, in gilt Tortoiseshell and plain Silver Cases; eight-Day Clocks, in Mahogany and Cherry-Tree Cases.


He also keeps Workmen in the Jewelry Business, … Watches, Clocks, and Jewelry repaired at the shortest Notice and most reasonable Rates. A Second-Hand eight-Day clock, and several Second-Hand Watches, For Sale. Cash given for old gold, silver copper, Brass, Pewter and Lead. (The Norwich packet, November 10, 1774)


1774 William Lambert, Philadelphia: Gilds Movements

William Lambert, 21 year old watch gilder arrived from London as an indentured servant on the ship Sally in 1774. (Hollan, Philadelphia Silversmiths & Related Artisans to 1861)


1775 Thomas Morgan, Philadelphia: Gilds Watches, Supplies Parts

Thomas Morgan, Watch and Clock Maker; At the Sign of the Arch Dial in Market-Street, two doors above Mr. W. Adams, Innkeeper, at the Running Horses, Informs the Public, and his old Customers in particular, that he carries on the business as usual; hoping for a continuance of their favors, as his constant study shall be to give satisfaction. N. B. The Gilding Business completed in all its branches. Said Morgan has for sale, Watch Maker's Files, Main Springs, Crystals, Dial-plates &c. &c. (Dunlap's Maryland Gazette; or, the Baltimore General Advertiser, November 28, 1775)


1775 Lawrence Birnie, Philadelphia: Motion Works and Finisher

Lawrence Birnie, --- A Journeyman Watch maker, who can motion and finish completely, will meet with encouragement, by applying to Lawrence Birnie, Watch maker, in Second-street, near Arch-street, Philadelphia. (The Pennsylvania Journal, June 21, 1775)


1775 Matthias Eyre, Philadelphia: Makes Mainsprings

Watch springs of all sizes and the best quality, made by Matthias Eyre, from London, at his house, No. 45, lower end of Third-street, between South and Shippen-streets, Philadelphia, where all orders will be duly attended to. (The New-York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury, January 16, 1775)


1775 Matthias Eyre, Philadelphia: Makes Mainsprings

Watch Main-Springs, made in Philadelphia, are sold by the manufacturer, Matthias Eyre, Spring-maker, from London, at his house in Third-street, below South-street, and by John Wood, Watch-maker, in Front-street, at the corner of Chestnut-street, Philadelphia, where watch-makers and others may be supplied with any quantity of springs much cheaper than can be afforded when imported from England from which circumstance, and the good quality of the springs, the maker hopes for the encouragement of the watch-makers in this and the neighboring provinces, whose orders will be gratefully receive and faithfully executed. N. B. Thirty shillings by the dozen, and three shillings the single spring. (The Pennsylvania Packet, January 30, 1775)


1775 Mervin Perry, New York: Finishes Watches

Mervin Perry, watch and clock maker, living between the Fly market and Burling slip, in the house that lawyer James Riker lately moved out of, opposite William Posts, painter, mends and repairs, in the best manner, and at the most reasonable rates, musical, repeating, quarterly chime, and common weight clocks; repeating, horizontal, skeleton, transparent skeletons; days of the month, and common watches… He wants an ingenious lad an apprentice, that can be well recommended, where he will have an opportunity of learning to make movements, and to finish, being the requisite and necessary branches to make the complete workman. (The New-York Journal; or, the General Advertiser, June 8, 1775)


1775 Mervin Perry, New York: Finishes Watches

Mervin Perry, repeating and plain watch and clock-maker, from London. Where he improved himself under the most eminent and capital artists in those branches, has opened shop in the Square, at the Sign of the Dial … where he mends and repairs, in the best manner, and at the most reasonable rates, musical, repeating, quarterly, chime, silent pull and common weight clocks. Repeating, horizontal, skeletons, transparent skeletons, days of the month, and common watches. All clocks and watches that he sells, with his own name, he will keep in good repair, the first three years, gratis; and will warrant to import and sell watches and clocks from the price of four guineas to a hundred, cheaper than any private gentleman can import them for their own use. Any gentleman that wants to be supplied, are desired to send their orders to said shop, and they will be complied with as speedy as possible. He wants an ingenious lad, and apprentice, that can be will recommended for sobriety and honesty, where he will have an opportunity of learning to make movements, and to finish, being the requisite and necessary branches to make a complete workman, and will be the first that ever was taught those branches in this place. (The New-York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury, October 21, 1776)


1776 Isaac Doolittle, New Haven: Locally Made Mainsprings

Ready money given for any quantity of lead, by Isaac Doolittle, who has by him an assortment of watch keys, springs, seals, &c. N. B. The Springs were manufactured in this Country. (The Connecticut Journal, March 20, 1776)


1778 Charles Geddes, Philadelphia: Finishes Watches

Charles Geddes. Two Guineas Reward. Lost on the evening of Thursday last, A Silver Watch, with a silk strap, and pinchbeck seal, maker’s name Charles Geddes, New-York; she is of singular construction, having no figures for the minutes on the dial-plate, which is the only one of the kind, with a cap, of Mr. Geddes’s make in America; the name is engraved on the works and cap, so that she may be easily detected, if exposed or offered for sale…(The Pennsylvania Ledger: or the Philadelphia Market-Day Advertiser, January 21, 1778)


1779 David Evans, Baltimore: Finishes Watches

David Evans, clock and Watch-maker has for Sale, at his shop, in Gay-street, Baltimore, a few finished Eight Day clocks, of different prices. Likewise Watch Crystals, Mainsprings and Borax. – He begs leave to inform the Public in general and his Old Customers in particular, that, as the business of his shop has been much neglected during his absence at Camp, and otherwise, that he has now two excellent Workmen, regularly bred to the business in Europe, and flatters himself, with the above assistance, in future, to give general satisfaction to those Ladies and Gentlemen who please to employ him. – N. B. New Watches, when bespoke, made on the shortest notice. (The Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, March 2, 1779)


1782 - 1785 John Charter, Philadelphia: Taxed as a Case Maker

John Charter, taxed as a Case maker. (Hollan, Philadelphia Silversmiths & Related Artisans to 1861)


1783 Johann Dohla: Watch Finishing

"There are many artisans and handworkers here in this city (Yorktown, Pennsylvania) and pocket watches are manufactuered here." Johann Dohla, A Hessian Diary of the American Revolution, University of Oklahoma Press, 1993 p.224. (Thanks to Bob Frishman for this reference)


1785 Thomas Harland, Norwich: Supplies Parts

Thomas Harland, … The following Articles, imported direct from London, will be sold to the Trade as cheap as can be had at York or Boston; silver Watch-Cases, Watch-Movements, Main-Springs, Fuzee-Chains, enamel'd Dial-Plates, Clock and Watch-Hands, Clock and Watch-Glasses, Verges, Pinions, Steel Wire for Main-Springs, Broaches, Drills and Gravers, Pumice-Stone, Emery, binding Wire, blue and grey Hones, Lacquer, Varnish, and Silvering. A few slight Silver Watches that will be sold for ready pay very low…. Wanted in the above Shop, a Boy about 13 or 14 Years of age, as an Apprentice. (The Connecticut Gazette, June 17, 1785)


1787 Thomas Harland, Norwich: Finishes Watches

Thomas Harland. --- Clocks & Watches. The Subscriber has left with him for Sale, a few very neat gold and silver Watches; made by some of the best Workmen in London; which he will sell at a very small Advance from the London Price, for good Pay.


He has also for Sale a variety of Watches and clocks of his own making, showing Seconds, day of Month, Skeleton and Plain; with chain, spring, eight-day and thirty-hour clocks. – Also a small assortment of Jewelry, plated goods, Chains, Seals, &c. for Cash or Produce, on the lowest Terms. Watches clean'd and repair'd as usual on the shortest notice. Wanted a sober, diligent Boy, about 14 years of age, as an Apprentice to the above Trades. (Norwich Packet, April 13, 1787)


1787 Matthew and William Atkinson, Baltimore: Makes Cases

Matthew and William Atkinson, Clock and Watch-Makers, Respectfully inform their Friends and the Public, that they have removed from Gay-street, to the Corner of Market and Holliday-street, and nearly opposite the post-Office, where they carryon their Business in the best manner and on the lowest terms.—They also enamel Clock Faces, and make Watch Cases. (The Maryland Gazette; or, the Baltimore Advertiser, September 18, 1787)


1787 J. Deverell, Boston: Makes Main Springs

J. Deverell, Watchmaker, next door to the Treasury, Marlboro Street, begs leave to inform the public, that he has engaged the person formerly employed by Mr. Dukerley, and now carries on the gold and silversmith business in all its branches. Has imported, in the last vessels from London, ladies' and gentlemen's set shoe buckles, ... ladies and gentlemen's watch strings and chains, gentleman's newest ? Watch Strings… Watch Main Springs made and sold, wholesale and retail with a number of other articles in the Watch business. (The Massachusetts Gazette, May 11 1787 & The Massachusetts Centinel, May 30, 1787)


1787 J. Deverell, Boston: Makes Main Springs, Supplies Watch Dials

J. Deverell, Watch-maker, next door to the Treasury, Marlborough Street, Boston, makes all sorts of Watch and clock Main-Springs to any size, repairs all sorts of repeaters and horizontal watches in the best manner, all sorts of watch dials, and a number of other articles in the watch business. (The Essex Journal & New-Hampshire Packet, June 13, 1787)


1788 J. Deverell, Boston: Makes Main Springs, Supplies Tools

J. Deverell, Watchmaker and Jeweler, next door to the Treasurer's Office, Boston, having established the manufactory of watch and clock main springs, any person may be supplied with the best, and as cheap as any imported, of all sizes. Likewise a quantity of the best Lancaster Files, with many other articles in the watch and clockmakers line… (Massachusetts Spy: Or, The Worcester Gazette, August 21, 1788)


1789 Henry Voight, Philadelphia: Finishes Watches, Makes Cases

Henry Voight In Second-street nearly opposite the Buck-Tavern above Race-street. Respectfully informs his friends in particular, and the public in general, that he carries on the watch-making business, in all its branches, such as making all sorts of new watches, upon all the principles which they can be made on in Europe, &c. He flatters himself, that from his past experience, he shall be able to convince all those who may be pleased to employ him, that he has made some improvements on watches, which will be of great utility. He likewise carries on the watch-case and watch-hand making business in all sorts of metal. Watch-makers in the country, or in any other part, may be supplied on the shortest notice. Watches and watchcases gilt; clocks, watches and watch-cases repaired at the most reasonable rates. (The Freeman’s Journal, April 29, 1789)


1792 Thomas Harland, Norwich: Supplies Parts & Tools

Thomas Harland, has on hand the following articles, for the use of Watch-Makers, Jewelers, &c. – which for good pay, he will sell as cheap as can be purchased on this Continent. Watch movements barr'd. Do. Plain. Enamel'd dial plates. Gold and steel hands. Mainsprings. Fuzee Chains. Ground and blown Glasses. Pinions, Verges, Balances. Pendulum Springs, Wire. Silver Watch Cases of various sizes – Turkey Oil-Stone, Oil-Stone-Powder, Pumice=Stone, Rotten Stone, blue and grey Putty, Calcathar-Vitriol, Crocus, Martis, &c. – best Dutch Gutt for Clock Lines, Smaller sorted sizes for Bow-Strings – hard Wax, Gold Lacquer and Varnish, of the best quality, for Clock-faces. He has also completed, in Mahogany and Cherry-tree Cases, Chime, Spring, plain 8 day and 30 hour Clocks, Surveyors Compasses, new and second hand Silver Watches, of various kinds—Neck-laces, Earrings, Spoons, Buckles, &c. Cash, and the highest price, given for old Gold, Silver, Copper, and Brass. N. B. A steady industrious Boy, wanted as an Apprentice. (The Connecticut Courant, November 19, 1792)


1772 Thomas Morgan, Philadelphia: Finishes Watches

Thomas Morgan, Watch and clockmaker, Late of Philadelphia, At the Sign of the Arch Dial, in Gay-street, Baltimore, Takes this method to acquaint the public, that he has employed two Journeymen from London, who were regularly taught the art and mystery of Watch and Clock making where he intends carrying on the business in all its extensive branches. Likewise intends repairing and cleaning repeating, horizontal, musical, quarterly and plain watches and clocks, after the best and neatest manner; and further, proposed to engage his performance for one year, provided the owners do not abuse the same, nor apply to unskillful hands, where many good watches are greatly abused for want of experience.


N.B. Any Gentleman may, by applying, have new Watches and Clocks made after the neatest and best construction, and he most gratefully acknowledges the many favors he has received from the Public, and hopes for a continuance of them, as he will make it his constant study to merit their esteem. The said t. Morgan intends working at the same rates and prices as done at Philadelphia. (The Pennsylvania Gazette, March 19, 1772)


1793 - 98 A.L. DuCommun, Philadelphia: Makes Cases

A.L. DuCommun taxed as a watch case maker (Hollan, Philadelphia Silversmiths & Related Artisans to 1861)


1793 Daniel Waldo, Worchester: Supplies Parts and Tools, Possible Supplier to Goddard

Daniel Waldo, Jun. Has just received a fresh assortment of Goods, which are now ready for Sale, at the Brick Store in Worcester… Beautiful enameled Clock and Watch Faces; Clock and Watch Glasses; Clock Springs; fuzee Chains; Mainsprings; Pendulum Wire; Hour and Minute Hands; brilliant Button Stones; Emery; Crucibles and Black Lead Pots; Watch Chains, Seals and Keys; with all kinds of Watch and Clockmaker's Files, Vices, Plyers, Screw Plates, Nippers, Dividers, Shears, Hammers, Gravers, &c. … (Massachusetts Spy, published as Thomas's Massachusetts Spy: or, The Worcester Gazette. Worchester, Massachusetts, 12-19-1793) Thanks to Michael Edidin for this reference.


1774 John Norman, Philadelphia: Makes Cases

John Norman, From London to Philadelphia, advertised did all sorts of silversmith's work, elegantly ornamented watch cases… Later in Boston circa 1780. (Hollan, Philadelphia Silversmiths & Related Artisans to 1861)


1774 Thomas Morgan, Philadelphia: Finishes Watches

Thomas Morgan, Watch and clock-Maker,. Informs the public, that he has removed from Gay-street into Market-street, two doors above Mr. William Adam's tavern; where he carries on the business as usual, those ladies and gentlemen who please to favor him with their custom, may depend on his punctuality.


N. B. He has a quantity of new Clocks and Watches, just finished which he will engage Equal to any imported. (The Maryland Journal, and The Baltimore Advertiser, March 31, 1774)


1794 Robert Leslie, Philadelphia: Makes Watches (Made in London for U.S. Market)

LESLIE & PRICE, Clock and Watch Makers, Market street, No. 79, Respectfully inform their friends and the public, that R. Leslie is now resident in London, where he is enabled to put in execution the various improvements which he made in clocks and watches previous to his leaving Philadelphia, as also some valuable additions since his residence in England.


Nautical Watch, No. 1, is just imported in the ship George Barclay, and now lays at their shop for the inspection of the public, and such in particular as are acquainted with the true principles of clock and watch work. R. Leslie has the satisfaction to assure the public, from the authority of several scientific men in London that this watch exceeds every other kind for convenience, utility and simplicity of construction, as it shows at one view, the time at place sailed from, and the time of the present place, the time of the tide, &c. and the bad effects of heat and cold, friction &c. are remedied at much less expense than any other.


R. Leslie has other watches and clocks on new and improved principles, which he will forward to Philadelphia, in the course of a few months for the whole of which he has obtained patents in England and he begs leave to inform the public that he has disposed of a share of his patents to Joseph Dodds, goldsmith and watchmaker, No. 12, Aldersgate street, London where orders for any of these articles will meet due attention.


Also, just received in the ship Delaware, William Penny and George Barclay, a complete assortment of warranted watches, consisting of capt and plain warranted watches, selected by R. Leslie. They trust their present assortment will merit the attention of purchasers, either wholesale, or by the single watch. (Philadelphia Gazette, May 7, 1794)


1794 John Harcourt, Boston: Teaches Main Spring Making

John Harcourt, clock and watch spring maker, from London, offers his services to the public in this line. He will undertake to instruct any person in this art, on very moderate terms, and particularly those who are conversant with the hammer, he will engage to teach in a very short time. Any black or whitesmith, who has not full employ, will find his account in learning to make springs, and the tempering business, in general. For further particulars inquire at the Steam Jack Manufactory, opposite Faust's Statue, Newbury street where may be had, watch springs, by the gross, dozen or single. Any commands left, shall be faithfully attended to, by said Harcourt. (Columbian Centinel, February 8, 1794)


1795 Thomas Pons, Boston: Makes Cases

Thomas Pons, No. 51, Newbury-street, Opposite Fuast's Statue, … Every Branch of the Jewelry and Watchmaking Business is carried on by Mr. Ponns, or which purpose he employs experienced Workmen, in each Branch. Gold and silver Watch-Cases, made in the neatest Manner, and repairs the movement, and every part appertaining to a Watch, with care and expedition. (The Independent Chronicle, August 27, 1795)


1795 Thomas Pons, Boston: Supplies Parts

Thomas Pons, No. 51, Newbury-street, Boston, has for sale, warranted eight-day clocks, and assortment of watches and watch-furniture. Also, enameled watch-faces, hands, glasses, verges, fuzee chains and hooks, pendulum spring wire, and main-springs, case springs and buttons, silver bows and pendants. Said Pons has engaged a complete workman, who has been regularly taught the watch-maker's business in London, by one of the principal workmen in that city, who will undertake to repair all kinds of repeating and horizontal watches, and others in the most difficult and imperfect state. He can make or finish any part appertaining to a watch, the gilding excepted. To those in the trade, a very handsome discount from the rules of work, making proper allowances for finishing work, in well finished watches. (The Columbian Centenel, January 10, 1795)


1796 A.W. Lay, New York: Makes Cases

A.W. Lay. Watch Maker and Jeweler, No. 85, Nassau-street, New-York. N. B. Watch cases of every kind neatly made. (The Weekly Museum, July 30, 1796)


1798 Richard Salter, Providence: Supplies Parts &Tools, Possible Supplier to John Cairns

Richard Salter, Watch Furniture, just arrived in the ship Nancy, Capt. Orne, from London, and for Sale, by Richard Salter, Jun. Store No. 4 Court-Street, adjoining Mr. John Carnes’s. A general assortment of Watch furniture, viz. Best Glasses, all sizes; Glass Gauges, best gilt Chains, twisted Wire, Common, do. best gilt keys, Common do. best gilt Hands, Steel so. fashionable Dial plates, Gilt edges, assorted Pinion Wire, Good Steel wire, various Cannon Pinions, best Verges, Balances, Locking Springs, Bobbin Pendulum Wire, best Springs sized, good Movements, Dials, , Motions, Springs &c ready for finishing, stout long silver Pendants and Bows, Balance Wheels in pinions and fusees finished, contrate wheels on pinions, finished; Clock wire, inside Chains, Case Springs and Buttons, ... a capital Engine with spare Cutters for finishing of teeth of Watch Wheels, Turning Lathe with collar and mandrile, spare chucks, &c. Turn Benches, with rests, best gravers, Pivot Files, Balance Wheels, Files, Spring Saws, framed, Pin Vices, Fine Scratch Brushes, Hair do. Best Crocas, Gold Second Hands, Cock and Slide Screws, &c. &c. The above articles will be sold low for cash, or Notes payable in three months, with good Endorsers. (Colombian Centinel, October 31, 1798)


1778 Thomas Morgan, Baltimore: Finishes Watches

Thomas Morgan, Watch and Clock Maker; At the Sign of the Arch-Dial, two Doors above Mr. William Adams's, Market-Street, Baltimore, … N. B. New Watches made upon the best construction, and the shortest notice. (The Maryland Journal, and Baltimore Advertiser, May 5, 1778)


1791 Nathan Storrs, Northampton, MA: Movement Maker

Nathan Storrs, clock and watch-maker. Lately from New-York. Takes this measure of informing the public, that he has established his business in Northampton, nearly opposite Mr. Lyman's Inn, where he carries on the various branches of clock & watch business… and as he has a complete set of tools, he can supply any gentleman with whatever movement should be wanting to either clocks or watches. All which will be performed at said shop, and afforded at the most reasonable rate, and pay made easy as possible… N. B. Cash given for old silver, brass and copper (The Hampshire Gazette, July 6, 1791)


1795 Joseph Lovis, Portland, ME: Gilds Movements, Finishes Wheels

Joseph Lovis, Watch-maker, respectfully informs the public, that he carries on the business of watchmaking, in all its various branches, at the sign of the Golden Watch, Fish Street, Portland, where every person who will be pleased to favor him with their commands, may depend on having the executive with neatness, fidelity and dispatch. Watch cases and movements, gilt in the neatest manner. A general assortment of goldsmith's and jeweler's ware French hair-worked rings, warranted plated buckles, &c. &c. Said Lovis acquaints his brother watchmakers in town and country, that he makes an gilds every kind of horizontal, balance, and flat wheels, which he will supply them with at the shortest notice, and on the most reasonable terms. Horizontal, perpetual motion, and repeaters repaired. (Gazette of the Maine, November 12, 1795)


1799 Thomas Harland, Norwich: Finishes Watches, Makes & Gilds Cases

Thomas Harland. --- The subscriber has for Sale at his shop in Norwich, -- a good assortment of European and American made Watches: Consisting of Gold Watches, Cap'd & plain, Silver Watches, with seconds. Day of month, day of week, and plain Chime Clocks; eight day repeating Do. With silver and enameled faces; mahogany and cherry tree Clock Cases, and Glasses … Watches of all kinds carefully repair'd, new cases made, and metal cases new gilt, at the shortest notice. The above goods and work will be put at the lowest prices for Cash, Grain, Flannel, Tow-cloth, &c. Cash given for old Gold and Silver. (The Connecticut Gazette, July 3, 1799)


1800 John Cairns, Providence: Finishes Watches

John Cairns, Watch-Maker, Next Door to Mr. Sanders Pitman's, respectfully informs the Public, that he has commenced the Business of Making and Repairing Watches, from a simple to the most complex Construction. Those who may please to favor him with their Custom, may depend on his utmost Exertion to give that Satisfaction, which, from the Opportunity he has had of acquiring a perfect Knowledge of the Business, he flatters himself with a Hope of affording. N. B. Plain watches made, of any Fashion required, for 25 Dollars; Horizontal 28, warranted for two Years without Expense, except in case of Accident. (Providence Gazette, January 4, 1800)


1801 John Cairns, Providence: Finishes Watches

John Cairns, Clock and Watchmaker, Next Door South of Mr. Sanders Pitman, takes this Method to inform his Customers, and the Public, that he has on Hand A Good Assortment of high and low priced English and French Watches. Likewise a few of his own Manufacture, together with a very handsome Assortment of clocks of different Prices. All of which he will sell on as reasonable Terms as can be purchased in New England. N. B. Clocks and Watches repaired. (Providence Gazette, May 30, 1801)


1803 Goddard & Hamilton, Shrewsbury: Finishes Watches

Luther Goddard & James Hamilton, Inform their customers and the public, that they carry on the Watchmaking business in Shrewsbury, on the Post road from Boston to New York; that they make day of the month and plain Watches, and also Watches constructed on the Litherland and company plan, which are allowed to be the best timekeepers; and that they repair all kind of Watches in the best manner, and with the greatest dispatch, on as reasonable terms as can be obtained in the Commonwealth, and warrant all their work. N. B. A good journeyman finisher, and also one or two boys as apprentices to the said Watch making are wanted by the said Goddard and Hamilton. (Massachusetts Spy or Worcester Gazette, November 16, 1803)

Advertisement Sources:

  • J. Carter Harris, The Clock and Watch Makers American Advertiser, Sussex, UK, Antiquarian Horological Society, 2003

  • Catherine Hollan, Philadelphia Silversmiths and Related Artisans to 1861, Hollan Press, Missouri, 2013

  • The Adverts 250 Project: The Adverts 250 Project (last accessed 2/2019)

  • Personal communications, as cited.

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