Thomas, Benjamin & Samuel Demilt were important suppliers of nautical instruments, chronometers, and watchmaking parts and tools in New York City. They were located at 156 Water Street and various addresses on Pearl Street from the late 18th century to about 1840. The firm was founded by Thomas Demilt in about 1796. Thomas was a listed silversmith and watchmaker and his agent in England to supply imported tooling and parts was the well-known Peter Stubs of Lancashire. The Demilts partnered with Nathaniel Hawxhurst (Hauxhurst) and watches signed Haushurst & Demilt from the late 18th century are known, as are watches signed by Nathaneil Hawxhurst.
The renowned chronometer maker, Dominic Eggert, worked for the Demilt firm starting in about 1820 and took over their business at 233 Pearl Street after Benjamin Demilt's death in 1839 (Crom, 64).
Demilt Pocket Watch
This watch dates to Thomas Demilt's first year of operation. It is pictured and described in the book Horological and Other Shop Tools, by Ted Crom and was once part of Ted Crom's personal collection. Crom states, "Almost no recognition has been accorded to the Demilts of New York City. Yet they were perhaps the foremost horologists of New York City from approximately 1800 to 1845" (Crom, 60).
IG Case Maker's Mark
The verge escapement and fusee movement has a seldom seen dust ring that fits around a chamfered edge on the back plate to protect the mechanism from dust, moisture and inadvertent damage. The watch is signed Tho. Demilt, New York, serial number 4922 on the movement. The silver pair cases have London assay date letter for 1795-76, Thomas Demilt’s first year of operation, and a maker's mark "IG" for Joseph Glenny, London. The cases also have a King George III export duty mark that was used from 1786 to 1798. Plain balance table has been riveted to the original foot, a 19th century repair. It is interesting to note that the case maker is the same London silversmith as found on Nathaniel Hawxhurst and Stephen Van Wyck watches, two other New York makers working at about the same time..
Watch papers by Henry Davis of London, Sanderson of Comrie, and Ted Crom located within the watch case.
Additional References and recommended reading:
Ted Crom, Horological and Other Shop Tools 1700-1900, Florida, 1987, pp. 59-72
Snowden Taylor, Research Activities and News, NAWCC Watch & Clock Bulletin, No. 243 (August, 1986), pp. 310-311