Hews Pocket Watch

Abraham Hews Pocket Watch

Abraham Hews Pocket Watch

Abraham Hews Jr. was born in Weston, Massachusetts in 1797 and worked as a silversmith in Boston from 1823 to 1867. He is listed in city directories at 243 Washington Street in 1845, 217 Washington Street in 1855, 151 Washington Street in 1860 and 456 Washington Street in 1865. More research is needed to determine if the address changes were due to renumbering or actual physical moves. The firm A. Hews Jr. & Co., a partnership with Augustus H. Hews that existed when this watch was sold, is listed as a silversmith and jeweler from 1850 to 1855 (Voss).

Liverpool watches like this example were imported and sold by watchmakers and silversmiths throughout America.

Private label watches

Hews Movement

Massey 3 escapement

Full plate Massey III lever fusee movement with three arm uncut steel balance, enamel dial with seconds and stop feature. Signed dial reads "A. Hews Jr. & Co. Boston". Unmarked dust cap. Silver consular case with Chester assay date mark for 1850-51 and casemaker's mark "RS", for Ralph Samuel of 54 Wood Street, Liverpool. See Thomas Blundell, S. Hovey & Co. or B. & M. M. Swan watches for other Ralph Samuel cases. 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 18 carat cases. Ironically, this casemaker (Ralph Samuels) was caught with fraudulent substandard Chester assayed 18K cases (Priestley, 298, 333). See Baldwin & Jones watch dated 1815.

Ralph Samuel Casemaker

RS Case Maker's Mark for Ralph Samuel

Additional References and recommended reading:

  • Philip Priestley, British Watchcase Gold & Silver Marks 1670 to 1970, National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, 2018

  • William Erik Voss, http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~silversmiths/makers/silversmiths