**Deadline 2 September 2016**
The Antiquarian Horological Society (AHS) has far wider interests than its name might suggest, and is not bound by centuries or particular approaches. Its journal Antiquarian Horology is equally at home covering the Antikythera mechanism, late twentieth-century watch production or the cultural implication of different approaches towards time & its measurement.
The AHS has some funding and wishes to promote new research; thus, you are invited to suggest a research topic for consideration as a pilot project.
Please submit a brief project proposal by 2 September 2016. No more than a paragraph or two (i.e. up to about 250 words) per topic is required at this stage. For each suggestion, please could you provide:
1. An observation;
2. A research question which emerges from this observation;
3. The benefits from having answers to this question; and
4. What work, if any, already exists, and by whom.
Please send your proposals to James Nye, AHS Chairman: [email protected]
For further details on how to write your research proposal, please see below for two sample questions:
a) Fromanteel clocks
The majority of surviving Fromanteel clocks are dated to the period prior to the Restoration. There do not appear to be as many extant London clocks signed Fromanteel which post-date the Restoration as one might expect, an outcome which might be explained by the known links between Ahasuerus Fromanteel and Cromwell and Fromanteel’s pro-Commonwealth sympathies. Nevertheless, significant numbers of post-1660 clocks exist, signed under a variety of other names, which have, in places, a resemblance to those of the Fromanteel stable, with respect to a range of well-defined criteria (e.g. fixing and shape of the bell stand, shape and structure of back cock, type of repeating work in spring clocks, structure of barrels, type of latches on plates, form of hour and minute hands etc). It has been suggested that a Fromanteel workshop in London may have provided movements for other London makers, and that this reveals the London trade operating on something of an ébauche system, or even as buyers of completed movements, as early as the mid-seventeenth century.
Can the systematic gathering and analysis of data on a wide range of such post-1660 (possibly) Fromanteel clocks establish if such a proposition is tenable? Documentary and archival evidence could supplement this analysis. Laurence Harvey and Roger Harris have both conducted initial research in this area, but nothing has been published. It would provide a very intriguing change in our view of the structure of the mid-seventeenth century London clock trade if the existence of such a workshop, and therefore probably others like it, can be shown to be likely.
b) Upjohn watches
James Upjohn claimed to have ‘made’ 2,000 to 3,000 watches in a year. It is clear he was the controlling mind in a large operation, which will have outsourced production across a large range of suppliers. There are some forty or so trades involved in the manufacture and finishing of any watch.
From what we know of the production rates of a sample of such trades, the sales prices of the watches, the wage rates for piece workers etc, is it possible to establish what degree of economic activity was involved in supporting Upjohn’s business, and how this fits within the context of other London trades of the period? What market share did Upjohn occupy? Is there a methodology for estimating the proportion of surviving watches from the period which may have come from the Upjohn stable? By identifying a sufficient number of his watches signed by Upjohn himself, is it possible to derive a means of identifying other watches likely to have been produced by Upjohn? There is no work yet published in this area. The publication of The Life and Travels of James Upjohn has broadened our knowledge of the trade, but further contextualisation and an assessment of the scale of the wider trade would be valuable.