New England Chapter No. 8 NAWCC

Worcester Holiday Inn, Worcester MA

Meeting Highlights

Workshop and Luncheon Speaker Robert Cheney (left) with President Bob Frishman

New England Chapter met April 14 at the Holiday Inn in Worcester, This was the first Sunday meeting ever held by Chapter 8. in response to many requests to try Sundays. With a registration of 250, results were inconclusive but another Sunday event is planned for August. An active mart with 70 vendors provided plenty of action.

Our first program featured Antique Watchmaker Tools from the 1900 era. Harry Blair and Mel Smith, both from New Jersey, set up and outstanding display of every conceivable type of tool used by turn of the century watchmakers. Both speakers have extensive collections and are extremely well versed in how the tools were used.

Included for all of us to see were wheel cutters, fusee cutters, bow cutting engines, general and special lathes. There were all types of measuring instruments, staking sets, a screw head polishing machine, and a vibrating tool for hairsprings. Not only were the tools well displayed, but Harry and Mel had overhead projections to show greater detail of the machines. They pointed out that the 1900 watchmaker worked with greater accuracy than the watchmaker of today. Of particular note, our speakers lamented over the present scarcity of watchmakers, despite the $75,000 pay range today!

Robert Cheney presented a workshop titled "Roxbury Eight-Day Movements and the English Connection: 1785-1825". The result of twenty-five years of research, Cheney's thesis is that the Willards and their apprentices used sub-contracted movement components in their clocks rather than doing their own manufacture. His starting point was, why are the movements of their clocks so diverse and how was the Simon Willard Clock Manufactory able to offer such a vast array of products?

Archival records on Willard's methods are non-existent. While the work of other clockmakers shows obvious use of patterns resulting in consistency of design, that of the Willards does not and the mechanical diversity in Boston and Roxbury clocks shows no continuing improvement.

The dials used on the Willard clocks were made in Birmingham, England. Birmingham was a renowned center for the manufacture of painted clock dials at the time. Many clock parts were available from trade suppliers in England and Cheney's research led him to conclude that the mechanical parts used by Willard were sourced from makers in the town of Prescott, Lancashire, just north of Liverpool. Prescott was at that time a town of small workshops and more than half the homes in the town had workshops attached to them producing clock components. John Wyke, for example, published a tool and parts catalogue, and sold complete eight day clock movements. Brass components, supplied in "clock sets", were imported into America in large quantities through New York, Philadelphia and Boston. Davis and Brown, a warehouse operation in Boston, was one importer and Willard is know to have bought supplies from them although Cheney believes that the Willard Manufactory probably imported most of their requirements directly from England themselves.

His conclusion is that the movements were assembled from components imported from England and set into cases with Birmingham dials and sold as the work of the Willard Manufactory.

His research was published in Antiques magazine in April 2000 and is being accepted by many now as probably the real way Willard produced in contrast to the many myths and unsubstantiated theories associated with his clocks.

After lunch, Bob changed hats and as a NAWCC Museum trustee (currently he is secretary of this group), he presented to the chapter a slide show of the new facilities at Columbia.

Bob pointed out that in 1943 a small watchmakers collector's club has now evolved into an association of 182 chapters and 32000+ members.

The Museum has over 6000 donated and purchased items. It was rebuilt in 1999. He gave much credit to the role of Warner Bundens in getting all this started. Bundens was the sixteenth President from 1975-1979. During this term, the Museum became a reality.

There was a general review of all the services offered today by the NAWCC plus a pictorial tour of the Museum with the new layout for the exhibits, Library, and Horological School. The slides also showed the diverse variety offered to both the serious horologist and the casual visitor. Bob urged one and all to visit Columbia and take advantage of this unusual treasure.

-- Harold Lincoln and Dick Trepp

* * *


Worcester Holiday Inn
500 Lincoln St., Worcester MA

Directions to Worcester Holiday Inn, Worcester, MA.
     From Mass Pike (90), East, or West: - Take Exit 10 onto 290 East. Take Exit 20 (Lincoln St). Bear to right off ramp onto SR-70 (Lincoln St). Holiday Inn will be at the third set of lights, about ½ mile on your left. Turn left at the lights to enter Inn driveway. There is a Dennys on that corner.
     From the North:  I93 South to 495 South - take Exit 25B onto 290 West. Take Exit 20 (Lincoln St) and follow as above.
     From the South:  I95 North to I 295 North to 146 North to 290 East. Take Exit 20 and follow as above.

Registrations by April 9, 2002 are $19.
Registrations received after April 9, 2002 and "walk-ins" will be $25.
As always, registration includes your luncheon and is required for participation in any of the meeting activities.

7:30 AM Registration name tags available for those members who preregistered.
Registration table open for "walk-ins".
8:00 AM Mart area open for setup by table holders only.
8:30 AM Mart open with closing at 11:30 A.M. for 12:00 Noon Luncheon.
Silent Auction Table will run from 8:30 to 10:30A.M.
9:45 AM New Jersey members Harry Blair and Mel Smith will present Antique Watchmaker Tools, a description of the watchmaker at his bench in 1900, the tools he used and how he used them. There will be two tables of antique tools exhibited at this talk, such as wheel-cutting engines, lathes, etc.
10:45 AM Robert Cheney will present Roxbury Eight-Day Movements and the English Connection: 1785-1825. This presentation is based on recent research and was published in the April, 2000 issue of The Magazine Antiques, and describes a reinterpretation of the manufacture of Roxbury tall clocks by the Willards and their known apprentices.
11:30 Break for Lunch, Mart closes
Luncheon Speaker: The National Watch and Clock Museum, Columbia, PA: Robert Cheney will continue his speaking engagement with this program, which traces the origins of the NAWCC museum from the mid 1940’s to the official opening of the new museum in 1999. The Association's collection has grown to over 12,000 clocks, watches and ancient timekeepers. This talk will discuss the museum and some of the clocks housed in Columbia at our National Headquarters.

Robert C. Cheney, of Brimfield, Massachusetts is a Fellow of the NAWCC, Secretary/Treasurer for the Board of Trustees at the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, a clockmaker, consultant and dealer in American clocks. He has authored numerous book reviews and articles such as that of our 10:45 workshop, also a book, Clockmaking in New England, 1725-1825. His most recent project was an appointment as Scholar in Residence at the Concord Museum to offer the first major reinterpretation of American clockmaking in 100 years.

Be sure to stop by the Chapter Mart table to see a working grasshopper skeleton clock built by member Mike Yawitch, from the drawings and instructions of Mr. W.R. Smith of Tennessee. The Smith clock was featured in the National Crafts Contest and won first Prize.

Silent Auction Table will run from 8:30to 10:30A.M.
There is a change to a flat fee of $3.00 per item, multiple items for one bid to count as one item. The charge is collected in advance. It applies regardless of whether item sells or not. We hope you find that this is cheaper and easier for you.

President's Message - Bob Frishman
You are being invited to our Chapter's first Sunday meeting. We hope this encourages attendance by members who are tied up with family or business activities on Saturdays. It looks like more than half of the NAWCC chapters meet on Sundays, and we plan to include some Sunday meetings on our yearly schedules.

The next national NAWCC convention is coming up in July in Anaheim. For those who regularly attend, and for those who have never attended, I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to buy and learn and meet and greet.

The NAWCC Awards Committee (of which I am a member) is asking each chapter to suggest candidates for NAWCC Fellow. If you have someone who you think we should consider, please contact me for the criteria, which include active volunteer and educational work on the local and national levels of our organization.

And finally, our membership numbers and renewals continue to run substantially ahead of last year. We all can feel proud to be part of a growing successful chapter.
- Bob Frishman

Schedule of Events for 2002 (We have had many requests for some Sunday meetings):

Sunday - May 11th, Special Event-Joint meeting with Chapters 2, 84, and 148 at Timexpo Waterbury, CT.

Saturday - June 29th, Willard House Workshop, Grafton, MA.

Sunday - Aug 4th TBA

Thur - Sat-Oct 17th-19th Rolling Green Inn, Andover MA. National Seminar, "Boston: Cradle of Industrial Watchmaking". Chapter 8 is cosponsoring this and this will be in lieu of our fall educational symposium.

Saturday - Nov 2nd, Worcester Holiday Inn, Worcester MA.

Chapter Contacts:
If you any of you have a question or wish to contact someone in the chapter, get in touch with any of these four and they will get your message to the right person if they cannot help you.

President Bob Frishman
53 Poor St., Andover MA 01810

1st Vice Pres Dave Deutemiam
81 Kingman St., Lakeville, MA 02347

Treasurer Wayne Paskerian
5 Warren St., Winchester, MA 01890

Secretary Dick Trepp
573 Longmeadow St., Longmeadow, MA 01106


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