Joseph & Thomas Pearsall

Joseph Pearsall and Thomas Pearsall were prominent Quaker clock makers from Long Island during the 1770s and 1780s. The brother's partnership together in the firm "Joseph & Thomas Pearsall" lasted only 3 years from 1770 to 1773. They were located between Beekman and Burling's Slip in New York and advertised as watchmakers in May, 1770. The following year, they advertised as both clock and watchmakers selling gold, silver, metal, skeleton, plain and day of the month watches (Harris, 335-336).

Thomas Pearsall is also known for his partnership with Effingham Embree in the firm Pearsall & Embree ten years later.

Pearsall Pocket Watch

Few American colonial era watches survive. This one was made in about 1770. Calendar watches, being more expensive than standard watches are seldom seen and this watch has a particularly nice dial. The hour and calendar hands are missing. Lovely silver chain, marked "Coin."

Revolutionary War Watch
New York Pocket Watch

The movement is signed Josh & Thos Pearsall, New York, serial number 8684, and has a fusee with verge escapement, square baluster pillars, and pierced asymmetrical balance table.

Contract Watch
Inner Case Hallmarks
Contract Pocket Watch
Outer Case Hallmarks

The matching silver pair cases have London assay date letter "P" for 1770-71. This was the year of the Boston Massacre leading up to the Revolutionary War.

Case maker’s mark unidentified.

Benedict Silversmith

Benedict Watch Paper

Simón Bolivar

Simón Bolivar Watch Paper

The Joseph & Thomas Pearsall watch contains two watch papers and a number of remnants. The outermost paper in the case is for S.W. Benedict of New York and the other is a wonderful commemorative paper of Simón Bolivar who overthrew Spanish colonial rule in South America during the early 19th century.

Additional References and recommended reading:

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

  • Frank Hohmann III, Timeless, Masterpiece American Brass Dial Clocks, Hohmann Holdings LLC, New York, 2009