Ephraim Clark

Ephraim Clark Watch

Ephraim Clark Pocket Watch

Ephraim Clark arrived from England in 1780 settling in Philadelphia. He was a distinguished maker as was his son, Benjamin, who learned the trade from his father. They worked together retailing clocks and watches and in 1793 succeeded the eminent Philadelphia clock and watchmaker John Wood. Wood headed the local guild, The Philadelphia Clock and Watchmakers Company (Harris, 699).

Benjamin's sons, Charles, Jesse and Ellis all worked in the business at times until 1811 when Ephraim retired. Benjamin and his son Ellis continued under the name B&E Clark from 1811 to 1845 and became one of the largest material dealers, including the largest suppliers of imported forgings and castings to Pennsylvania tall case makers (Gibbs, 24).

Ephraim Clark Watchmaker

Ephraim Clark Movement

Ephraim Clark Clock

John Adamson Case Maker


Several Ephraim Clark signed watches are known and all are beautifully finished. This example is engraved E. Clark Philadelphia, serial number 5968, and has a fusee and verge escapement, round baluster pillars, enamel dial and beetle and poker hands.

The silver pair cases have Birmingham assay letter for 1791-92 and maker's mark "IA" for John Adamson, Liverpool. They also have a King George III export duty mark that was used from 1786 to 1798 and indicates that the tax was paid on the silver cases (Priestley, 28).

Philadelphia watch paper by James Brearley located within the case. It reads, Ja., Brearley, Watch maker, No 115 No. Third St. Philadelphia.

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. Read about American Watch Papers.

Ephraim Clark Philadelphia
Ephraim Clark Watchpaper
Benjamin Clark Philadelphia
Ephraim Clark Colonial Watchmaker

Additional References and recommended reading:

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

  • Carter Harris, A Philadelphia Clockmakers Company: Some Documentary Evidence, NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin, No. 233 (December, 1984), pp. 698-703

  • Richard Newman, Colonial and Early American Watchmakers, NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin, No. 389 (December, 2010), pp. 692-706

  • Philip Priestley, Early Watch Case Makers of England 1631– 1720, NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin Special Order Supplement No. 3 (2000)