B&E Clark

Benjamin Clark Pocket Watch

Benjamin and Ellis Clark, son and grandson of the celebrated maker Ephraim Clark, were in partnership together from 1811 to 1845 at the southeast corner of Front and Market Streets in Philadelphia. Ellis, and other siblings learned the trade working for their father, Benjamin, and grandfather, Ephraim. Father and son, Benjamin and Ellis, continued the business under the name B&E Clark after Ephraim's retirement in 1811.

In addition to retailing watches and clocks, they became the largest supplier of (imported) forgings and castings for Pennsylvania tall case clockmakers (Gibbs, 24).

Benjamin Clark Watchmaker

The movement is signed "B&E Clark, Philadelphia 659" and has a 3 wheel rack lever escapement and fusee, large three arm escape wheel, plain dust cap and gold hands. Balance table engraved and marked "PATENT". Peter Litherland of Liverpool, England patented this dead-beat escapement in 1791. Although watches with this escapement are scarce today, many were shipped to America.

This watch was once owned by Henry Eisenbeis, a Union Soldier in the Ringgold Light Artillery, who carried it at the Battle of Gettysburg. Acquired by David Mycko from an ancestor’s estate near Reading, Pennsylvania, more information about Eisenbeis and his watch is in Mycko’s article titled, “A Rack Lever Fusee Civil War Watch With A Story."

B&E Clark Pocket Watch

HA Case Maker's Mark

Silver inner case with Chester assay letter for 1815-16 and case maker initials "HA" that is likely Hugh Adamson of Liverpool.

Clark family watch papers are displayed for reference; Ephraim Clark's watch paper reads Ephraim Clark Watch & Clock Maker, The South East Corner of Front and Market Streets, Philad. Uncut early American papers like this one are rarely seen, circa 1780. Benjamin Clark, Clock & Watch Maker, No 1 South East corner of Front & Market Streets, Philadelphia. The third paper for Benjamin and Ellis is the same as the previous except for the added name.

Ephraim Clark Watchmaker
Ephraim Clark Pocket Watch
Benjamin Clark Watch Paper

Additional References and recommended reading:

  • James Gibbs, Pennsylvania Clocks and Watches, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1984, pp. 23-24

  • David Mycko, A Rack Lever Fusee Civil War Watch With A Story, https://www.worthpoint.com/articles/collectibles/rack-lever-fusee-civil-war-watch, Last Accessed July, 11, 2021.