B. & M. M. Swan

Benjamin Swan Pocket Watch

Benjamin Swan Pocket Watch

Benjamin and Moses M. Swan, father and son, were clock and watchmakers in Augusta, Maine from 1840 to 1865. Benjamin, born 1792, apprenticed for Frederick Wingate in Augusta in 1808 and worked from about 1814 to 1840 as a silversmith in Hallowell and Augusta, Maine. Moses apprenticeship with his father began in about 1831 (Voss).

The Benjamin and Moses Swan partnership was from 1842 to 1856, and they advertised in The Kennebec Journal as watch, jewelry, and silversmiths with locations at Water and Oak Streets and No. 7 Arch Row in Augusta (Katra, 123).

Moses Swan Pocket Watch

Benjamin Swan Movement

Full plate Massey III lever fusee movement, serial number 6168, with three arm uncut steel balance, Liverpool jeweling, enamel dial with seconds and stop feature. Intricate Fleur-de-lis gold hands. Movement engraved B & M. M. Swan, Augusta, ME., and PATENT. Unmarked dust cap with cap makers initials J.B. stamped on the inside.

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

Silver consular case with Chester assay date mark for 1847-48 and maker's mark "RS", for Ralph Samuel of 54 Wood Street, Liverpool. See watches signed Thomas Blundell, S. Hovey & Co. or A. Hews Jr. & Co. for other "RS" marked 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

Dust Cap Initials

Benjamin Swan's watch paper shown for reference.


Benjamin Swan Silversmith

Additional References and recommended reading:

  • Joseph Katra Jr., Clockmakers & Clockmaking in Maine 1770-1900, Columbia, PA., National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, 2008

  • 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