Your Garage Best Books of the Month Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc $5 Albums Fire TV Stick Subscribe & Save Patriotic Picks Shop-by-Room Amazon Cash Back Offer roadies roadies roadies  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Starting at $49.99 All-New Kindle Oasis UniOrlando Best Camping & Hiking Gear in Outdoors STEM
Profile for Fortunat Mueller-maerki > Reviews

Browse

Fortunat Mueller...'s Profile

Customer Reviews: 55
Top Reviewer Ranking: 259,562
Helpful Votes: 287


Community Features
Review Discussion Boards
Top Reviewers

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Fortunat Mueller-maerki RSS Feed (Sussex, NJ USA)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
pixel
ProCase Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 Case - Stand Folio Cover Case for 2015 Galaxy Tab S2 Tablet (9.7 inch, SM-T810 / T815), with Hand Strap, auto Sleep/Wake (Black)
ProCase Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 Case - Stand Folio Cover Case for 2015 Galaxy Tab S2 Tablet (9.7 inch, SM-T810 / T815), with Hand Strap, auto Sleep/Wake (Black)
Offered by Tech Vendor
Price: $12.99


ProCase Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 Case - Leather Stand Folio Case Cover for 2015 Galaxy Tab S2 Tablet (9.7 inch, SM-T810), with Multiple Viewing angles, auto Sleep/Wake, Document Card Pocket (Brown)
ProCase Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 9.7 Case - Leather Stand Folio Case Cover for 2015 Galaxy Tab S2 Tablet (9.7 inch, SM-T810), with Multiple Viewing angles, auto Sleep/Wake, Document Card Pocket (Brown)
Offered by Tech Vendor
Price: $16.99
3 used & new from $13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars mostly good fit for the tablet model, February 17, 2016
PROMPT SERVICE, PRODUCT AS DESCRIBED, mostly good fit for the tablet model, although cutout for the fingerprint scanner is a bit too small for fingerprint scnner to work reliably


Antikythera Mechanism - The Book
Antikythera Mechanism - The Book
by Stikas Constantin
Edition: Hardcover
3 used & new from $80.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars and scholars like Bromley, Light and Mangou develop competing interpretations in ..., December 15, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Trying to Explore all Aspects of a Very Complex, Geared, Time Calculator Built about 2200 Years ago in the Eastern Mediterranean

Antikythera Mechanism – The Book -

Conceived and created by Constantin Stikas, with scientific editing by Yanis Bisakis. With contributions by Eleni Kladaki-Vratsanou, Lefteris Tsavliris, Brendan Foley, Nikolaos Kaltsas, George Kakavas, Ioannis Theofanidis, Derek Sola Price, Charalambos Karakalos, Michael Wright, Mike Edmunds, John Seiradakis, Xenophon Moussas, Yanis Bitsakis, Agamemnon Tselikas, Alexander Jones, Roger Hadland, Tom Malzbender, Theodossis Tassios, Efthymios Nicolaidis, Girolamo Ramunni, Dominique Fléchon, Philippe Poniz, Aurel Bacs, Jean-Claude Biver, Mathias Buttet, Stephen Forsey, Eric Robuchon, Catherine Garcia-Maisonnier, Julie Duleau, Arnauld Maury, and Andrew Carol. ISBN 978-960-93-6387-7 Hardbound edition, ISBN 978-960-93-6386-0 Leatherbound luxury edition in Slipcase. Published 2014. 215 pages, 31cm x 25 cm. 36 page ‘Album’ section with moumerous, mostly color images. Index of subject and names. Available from amazon.com at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/9609363873/ .

I became fascinated by the Antikythera mechanism in the early 1980s when I stumbled on Derek J. de Sola Price’s 1974 small book “Gears from the Greeks” telling the unlikely story of sponge fishermen off the Greek island named Antikythera in the year 1900 finding a shipwreck predating the birth of Christ, which in addition to bronze statuary, and everyday items also yielded fragments of an unexplained geared mechanism now known as the Antikythera Mechanism.

The scholars at the Archeological Museum in Athens soon reached the conclusion that this could be a time calculator or a model of planetary motions. But the object, ossified after a millennium in saltwater, at first yielded little information, because X-rays and sonar were not yet invented. Professor Price studied the object in the 1950s and published an article on it in ‘Scientific American’, and in the 1970s the first X-ray images are taken, leading to the 1974 book by de Solla Price. The mechanism quickly becomes an icon for history of technology, and scholars like Bromley, Light and Mangou develop competing interpretations in the 1980s and 1990s.

In 2005 a major high technology analysis of the object is launched by an international team of experts, which during years of imaging and analysis leads to new findings, which are published in the scholarly journal ‘Nature’: The Antikythera Mechanism is much more complex than anybody expected, but essentially –as expected- it is a mechanical device that models and predicts the celestial mechanics and –a hereto unknown feature- can be used to figure out when the antique Olympiads were held. The findings were published primarily in the academic journal ‘Nature’ but also in other scholarly journals. A journalist, Jo Merchant, wrote a full length book on the subject for the lay reader. Do go and look at it in the Archeological Museum in Athens if you ever get to Greece

But what was missing until late 2014 was serious and well rounded treatment of the now famous object as a cultural icon. What is its significance as a milestone of human civilization? And this is where the book under review fits in: Constantin Stikas, of Greek origin, a photographer by training, a journalist by temperament, but a horologist by passion, has been the engine behind various journalistic ventures dealing with horology both in Greece and on a global scale.

Clearly he was the person who had the connections, the motivation, and the skillset to put together our era’s most comprehensive book on the Antikythera Mechanism. Fortunately he also got the cooperation of Hublot, a Swiss luxury watchmaking brand, which recreated a miniature interpretation of the Antikythera mechanism in wristwatch format. The book under review is a weighty project, both intellectually and on a weight scale. Stikas has convinced 30 experts in various fields, from around the world to talk to him about the Antikythera story. Of course I am not familiar with all 30 authors, but I recognize about a dozen of them, and those are all thoughtful individual who had something to say, and are recognized leaders in their fields of specialization.

The book starts with a 40 page ‘Album’ section, containing all images of the book. This is followed by the main section of the book, the “contributions” of the 30 discussion partners of Stikas. The ideas and opinions expressed are those of his discussion partners, but the exact wording however is the result of the editing process. This is organized into five distinct, themed sections:

• Archeology and the Shipwreck (5 contributions)
• Research and Models (11 contributions by the involved scientists)
• Ancient Science and Modern Exhibitions (3 contributions)
• Horology (6 contributions)
• Educational Projects (2 contributions)

In addition the book features a detailed ‘Timeline’ (with 55 entries. 2 pages) and a superbly useful ‘Index’ of names and places.

The books are not cheap, given the nature of the subject the production cost could not be spread over a huge print run. But it is highly encouraging that there are still people to invest in the upfront costs of a thoughtfully put together major publication. Thank you to Constantin Stikas and his contributors and his production staff for doing their share in assuring that this unique building block of the technological history of mankind remains in our collective memory.

Fortunat F. Mueller-Maerki, Sussex NJ, December 2015


Marie Antoinette's Watch: Adultery, Larceny, & Perpetual Motion
Marie Antoinette's Watch: Adultery, Larceny, & Perpetual Motion
by John Biggs
Edition: Paperback
Price: $19.99
30 used & new from $12.24

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ... trying to write a book about one of the greatest watches ever built, November 1, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book is the unfortunate result of a journalist of the internet a ge trying to write a book about one of the greatest watches ever built.

The author, who considers himself an expert on fashion and style regarding contemporary trendy writswatches, and in the past has dabbled in various subjects proves with this book that he realy knows very little about horological history, horological terminology, and the role f timekeeping mechanism in society. For a serious student of horological history the book is painfull to read, every second or third page seems to have some piece of horological history or horological technology that is woven into the narrative in a misleading, inapproriate out outright misleading manner.

While the overall story line is more or less factual it becomes rapidly clear that the author, while undoubtedly a skilled reporter on trends in contemporary horological fashions is out of his league when attempting to write up story starring one of the most intreaging persons of an fascinating decade of history, and one of the most complex mechanical objects ever designed and built.

FORTUNAT MUELLER-MAERKI
Chairman National Watch and Clock Library
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 28, 2015 2:09 PM PST


A Long Time in Making: The History of Smiths
A Long Time in Making: The History of Smiths
by James G.D. Nye
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $32.23
34 used & new from $27.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The corporate history of the largest British clock manufacturer of the 20th century: “Smiths Industries”, June 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The corporate history of the largest British clock manufacturer of the 20th century: “Smiths Industries”
Bookreview 2015 by Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

A Long Time in Making – The History of Smiths By James Nye. Published in 2014 by OxfordUniversity Press, Oxford, United Kingdom. ISBN 978-0-19 – 871725-6. 375 pages, 246x171mm, hardcover, dustjacket. 61 illustrations (reproduced b&w photographs) and 17 figures in the text. Six appendices (I. Family Tree, II. Activities Overview 1851-1014, III. Financial Data 1915-2008, IV. Companies Acquired, Formed and Sold, V. List of officers, VI. List of Interviews. Bibliography with over 38 primary sources, and 146 secondary sources. Index of Names (8 pages), Index of Subjects (15 pages). Available through amazon.com for US$ xx plus postage at http://www.amazon.com/Long-Time-Making-History-Smiths/dp/0198717253/ for US$ 45 .

When most students of horological history think about factory made clocks produced on an industrial scale in the 20th century they think of American brands like Seth Thomas, or of towns in the Black Forest, like Junghans in Schramberg, or even of Japy Freres in the French Jura region, but most non-british amateur horological historians don’t realize that the United Kingdom also had big clock making enterprises of a similar scale, and one of the biggest was “Smiths”, which between 1900 and 1980 produced several hundred million timekeepers. Not much had been published on that maker until recently, but James Nye’s 2014 book fills this gap in horological history.

The author is probably best known as the Secretary of the Electrical Horology Group of the Antiquarian Horological Society (the British sister organization to Americas NAWCC); he is a former businessman and international dealmaker and keen student of horological history, who in recent years has become a part time teacher of business history, and this book reflects this new role. The book is the very comprehensive academic and scholarly history of the Smiths enterprise.

The roots of Smiths go back to the 1851 opening of a retail jewelry store in London’s Elephant & Castle district by Samuel Smith, leading to a more prominent and upscale store on the Strand by the beginning of the 20th century. At that time the first automobiles appeared, and with them Smiths began offering an ‘automobile timepiece’. During the formative, pre first world war, years of the British car industry Smiths pioneered in 1904 a mechanical car speedometer, then an optional after-market accessory, for the very few people who could afford cars. This eventually led to other motor car accessories and components like carburetors, car lights (both acetylene and electricity based). Originally these items were sourced from third party manufacturers, but soon Smiths was not only selling, installing and servicing them but started manufacturing them, and selling them wholesale to the car manufacturers as these items became standard car equipment. Given their precision mechanics knowhow during the 1914-1918 war years military products became a significant business, while the traditional jewelry and retail side diminished in importance. By 1919 they employed over 3000 people, and in 1920 reported making 3000 speedometers, 2000 motorcar clocks, 1000 fuel gauges, 2000 car lighting sets, 2000 carburettors and 2000 mechanical horns per week.

The depression in the 1920s hit the company hard, but the growth of automobile sales in the 1930s led to growth again. Coupled with the desire to decrease the UK dependence on imported goods, such as German made clocks which then dominated the mass market, Smiths invested heavily into clock manufacturing capacity, both for conventional mechanical movements, as well as the then exploding market for electrical synchronous mechanical movements. Separate companies like Smiths English Clocks Ltd., and its subsidiary Synchronous Electric Clocks Ltd. were started and within two years were producing nearly 200,000 synchronous clocks per year. By 1934 Smiths produced over half of all clocks made in the UK that year, and in the following years dominated the British market both for conventional and synchronous clocks.

During World War Two once again the clock factories expanded rapidly and switched to military products (such as center second wristwatches for use in both the army and the navy), and Smith’s aviation instrumentation business grew significantly. While producing clocks (and also some watches) steadily at high volumes with in depth manufacturing capacities (dedicated plants making synthetic watch jewels, a platform escapement plant etc.) from 1945 through the early 1960s the clocks business became gradually less important as their automotive components volume exploded as cars became affordable to the masses. By 1970 clocks were but a component of Smith’s group C (clocks, appliance controls and industrial instruments). The last proactive move in timekeeping was the presentation of Smiths first line of quartz watches, the Quasar, at the 1973 Basel Fair, at exactly the time it became clear that international competition (the Swiss and Seiko) were way ahead of them. Their buildings, their staff and their employees could produce higher returns with other products and by the end of the decade Smiths was really no longer in the horological business. The last part to close was the Blick time recorder company in 1980. Their horological peaks had been in the late 1930s and the mid-1950s. While overall production figures are very hard to guess the Smiths group undoubtedly produced several 100 million timekeepers, maybe even approaching a billion over the 80 years they produced clocks.

The corporate entity however continues to thrive to the present day as a diversified technology conglomerate with 23’000 employees and a market capitalization of near 5 billion UK Pounds.

Dr. Nye’s narrative of their corporate history covers a fascinating, easy to read part of English industrial history and provides one of preciously few insights into a huge - but grossly under documented - chapter of British horology.

Fortunat F. Mueller-Maerki, Sussex NJ


British Domestic Synchronous Clocks 1930-1980: The Rise and Fall of a Technology (History of Mechanism and Machine Science)
British Domestic Synchronous Clocks 1930-1980: The Rise and Fall of a Technology (History of Mechanism and Machine Science)
by Les Pook
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $109.00
48 used & new from $69.81

3.0 out of 5 stars Everything you ever wanted to know about British Made Synchronous Clocks of the 20th Century, June 4, 2015
Everything you ever wanted to know about British Made Synchronous Clocks of the 20th Century
Bookreview 2015 by Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

British Domestic Synchronous Clocks 1930-1980 – The Rise and Fall of a Technology. By Leslie Philip Pook. Published in English 2015 as Volume 29 in the Series ‚History of Mechanisms and Machine Science’ by Springer International Publishing. ISBN 978-3-319-14387-3 [hardcover] or ISBN 978-3-319-14388 [e-book], ISSN 1875-3442. 248 pages. Well over 500 illustrations, mostly in color. Includes Glossary and References. Available through Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/British-Domestic-Synchronous-Clocks-1930-1980/dp/3319143875 for $109.

This book is a unique and very useful addition to the working library of any clock collector or clock restorer interested in - or working on - British made, electrically driven mechanical clocks made between 1930 and 1980. There simply is no other publication –in or out of print- that covers the subject in the same depth and detail.

The following sections make up the book:
1. Introduction, terminology, etc. (14 pages)
2. Trade Associations, Production volumes, Identification, Brands (4 pages)
3. Manufacturers (Synoptic histories of 21 makers), (13 pages)
4. How a Synchronous Clock Works (24 pages)
5. Synchronous Clock Cases (14 pages)
6. Servicing Synchronous Clocks (10 pages)
7. Marketing & Reliability (12 pages)
8. Gallery of Synchronous Clocks (mantel clocks, bedside clocks, wall clocks, floorstanding clocks) 1-2 specific examples per page, short paragraph on each clock, each with front and back view (189 pages)
9. Gallery of Synchronous Movements (37 movements from 15 makers illustrated and described, 1 to 7 images per movement) (60 pages).

It is apparent that the author knows and understands the material thoroughly and the book contains hundreds of details useful to the repairer/restorer or the collector alike. Much of the information is in the hundreds of color photographs (usually front and back of case and movement) of over 100 different clocks. This is a ‘Reference Text’ not a ‘read through’ book, and nothing remotely similar has ever been published before. Any serious electrical horologist –professional or enthusiast alike- needs this book in his library.

What is curious is the publishing venue; Springer is a globally leading publisher of academic textbooks, many of them targeted to small niche readerships. The hobbyist/craftsman/collector market admittedly has some similarities to academic textbooks, but these target audiences are even smaller. While the book offers comprehensive coverage of the technology of synchronous electric clocks (and the author has taught engineering students) there are vastly more images of cases and back labels (i.e. material aimed at the collector/restorer rather than at the repairer). This reviewer also wonders how horological readers will react to academic text book pricing.

Congratulations to the author for the labor of love of assembling all this specialized material for a rather small niche audience. The horological world should be thankfull for the role authors like Leslie Philip Pook play in documenting and preserving obscure corners of the world’s horological heritage.

Fortunat Mueller-Maerki - Sussex NJ, USA

18 March 2015


Longitude's Legacy  James Harrison of Hull 1792-1875:   Turret Clockmaker  The Last of the Harrison Clockmakers
Longitude's Legacy James Harrison of Hull 1792-1875: Turret Clockmaker The Last of the Harrison Clockmakers
by Chris McKay
Edition: Paperback
Price: $38.00
17 used & new from $32.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Horological Achievements of the Descendants of John Harrison’s Youngest Brother James Harrison, June 4, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Horological Achievements of the Descendants of John Harrison’s Youngest Brother James Harrison
Bookreview 2015 by Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

Longitude’s Legacy – James Harrison of Hull 1792-1875: Turret Clockmaker – The last of the Harrison Clockmakers. By Chris McKay. Published in English February 2015 by the author (Print on demand). ISBN 978-1-51181033-5. 978-1511810333 289 pages, softcover, forestgreen, 28x22 cm. Numerous b&w illustrations. Includes 15 chapters, 7 Appendices, Bibliography and Index. Available through Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=longitudes+legacy for $38 plus shipping.

While John Harrison (1693-1776) of longitude fame is a universally recognized clockmaker, and some horologists know that his younger brother James 1 (1704-1766) played a major role in actually building H1, few know that James1’s grandson James 3 [born 1767], and especially his great-grandson James 4 [born 1792] in the years spanning 1790 to 1875 were prolific and innovative turret clock makers active in the Hull (UK) area. Chris McKay, the eminent historian of British tower clocks has meticulously researched – and now published – that hereto unexplored chapter of horological history.

The first parts of the book provide the wider context: Chapter 1 is a short introduction, Chapter 2 summarizes the longitude issue, Chapter 3 John ‘Longitude’ Harrison’s quest for a solution, and Chapter 4 explores the activity of the Harrisons in bell foundering and bellfrys. Chapters 5-8 deal with James 1 (known for the wooden Brocklesby Park clock ca.1720, but mainly for his 80 bell-frames, and as founder of 46 bells) and his son Henry 2 (1732-1780), also a bell founder.

Henry’s son James 3 (1767-1834) took over the family bell foundry business at age 17 when his older brother died, and soon moved it from Barrow to Barton-upon-Humber. This Harrison was very inventive and argumentative as described in Chapter 9. In his lifetime he cast about 210 bells, and left a long trail of inventions (starting with a ‘bell tuning machine’) and correspondence, including many letters to “The Mechanics’ Magazine” (fully reprinted in Appendix 3 of the book). Chapter 10 describes in detail the clock of his design in the church of Alkborough, built together with his son in 1826, and Chapter 11 discusses the design and functioning of the novel ‘Detached Escapement and Fly’ which he invented. At his death James 3 was insolvent.

His son James 4 (1792-1875), in 1821, when he married was known as a cabinetmaker, and settled in Hull, but undoubtedly was active in the bells and tower clock field for most of his life. Some 30 clocks with his name survive, all of them following a standard design, using cast plates and usually a form of the detached escapement invented by his father. This escapement was delicate to adjust and maintain, and therefore not adopted any other makers. Most examples were converted to more conventional escapements once James 4 no longer serviced the clocks, as his successors did not understand the mechanism, as described in Chapter 12. James 4 for most of his career did not employ others.

Chapter 13 –with 40 pages by far the longest chapter in the book- describes and documents (including over 100 photographs) the 26 surviving clocks built by James 4, most located within a two day horse ride of his residence in Hull. This chapter forms the core of the book. Chapter 14 offers a slightly speculative analysis of how the James Harrison detached escapement may have influenced the detached gravity escapement which Dennison installed in Big Ben a few decades later, and Chapter 15 is a short epilogue titled “Longitude’s Legacy”.

The seven appendices -for this reviewer- provide a major element when considering if you want to purchase this book. Accounting for over half the pages of the book, they all contain numerous full transcripts of contemporary original source documents from the time of Harrison’s heirs (some published but impossible to find, some manuscripts) which are essential to understanding the role Harrisons heirs played in British horological history. None of this material is published anywhere else. A two page bibliography and a six page index concludes the book.

While harboring no illusion that Chris McKay’s book will become a horological bestseller, this reviewer congratulates the author for his tenacity and perseverance to finally illuminate a corner of British horological history which too long has rested in the shadows, and providing so much new original source material to his fellow scholars of horological history.

Fortunat F. Mueller-Maerki, Sussex NJ (USA)
May 2014


Finding Longitude: How ships, clocks and stars helped solve the longitude problem
Finding Longitude: How ships, clocks and stars helped solve the longitude problem

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An exhibit at Greenwich celebrating the tercentennial of the UK longitude act -and its catalog, July 23, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
An exhibit at Greenwich celebrating the tercentennial of the UK longitude act -and its catalog

Finding Longitude - How ships, clocks and stars helped solve the longitude problem - Royal Museums Greenwich - Ships, clocks and stars: The quest for Longitude - Exhibition at the National Maritime Museum. By Richard Dunn and Rebekah Higgitt. Published in 2014 by Harper Collins Publishers, for Royal Museums Greenwich, as the catalog of the exhibition “Ships, Clocks and Stars: The Quest for Longitude” at NMM, 11 July 2014–4 January 2015. ISBN 978-0-00-752587-7, 255 pages, 27 cm x 23 cm, Hardcover (paperback edition only available at the exhibit), dustjacket, 143 illustrations (mostly color, many full page), 199 footnotes, Biographical list for ‘Further reading’ (68 titles), 8 page index. Available at amazon.com for about 21 US$ plus shipping.

The year 2014 marks the tercentennial of the British Act of Parliament titled “An Act for Providing a Publik Award for such Person or Persons as shall Discover the Longitude at Sea”, commonly referred to as the Longitude Act. As most students of horological history know this triggered a dramatic improvement in the performance of mobile precision timekeeping, with John Harrison winning in 1773 the biggest award yet paid for a technical discovery.

The details of Harrisons story are well known, mainly due to the journalist Dava Sobel attending the 1994 Time Symposium of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors held at Harvard University, and her account of the proceedings, the 1995 book ‘Longitude - The true story of a lone Genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time’, becoming the only horological book to ever reach mayor bestseller lists.

Sobel’s book tells the ‘human interest story’ of the outsider and uneducated carpenter Harrison as a compelling narrative of a practical - and genius – clockmaker’s struggle against the elitist Astronomer Neville Maskelyne. But it mostly ignores the broader story of how the Longitude Act, with its ‘life changing’ award sum (over $ 1.5 million in today’s currency) fundamentally changed the role of technical and scientific discovery within British society. Its effect on the economy and community at large over the course of the 18th century provided the foundation for Britain’s dominance as a world power throughout the 19th century.

That broader and more complex story is the subject of a major temporary exhibit at The Royal Museums Greenwich which opened on July 11, 2014, and was curated primarily by the two authors of the book under review. (Reportedly, the exhibit will in subsequent years go on a global tour, but no details of this have been announced as of this writing). This book is essentially the scholarly “catalog” of this exhibit, but it definitively reads more like an action filled historic narrative than like a catalog.

With its 143 carefully documented illustrations (including detailed photographs of both cases and movements of the most important earliest marine chronometers), 199 scholarly footnotes, a bibliography of 68 titles, the book has all the trimmings of an academic text, but reads more like a suspenseful thriller than a scholarly text.

This is not a book for the technical horologist who seeks to learn how specific historic timekeepers were made, or how they function, but for the reader with a broader mindset, who is eager to discover more about how historic timekeeping (and navigational) apparatuses have over time fundamentally shaped the society and the world we live in.

Fortunat F. Mueller-Maerki, New Jersey 16 July 2014


Méridiennes du monde: Tome II (French Edition)
Méridiennes du monde: Tome II (French Edition)
by Andrée Gotteland
Edition: Paperback
Price: $28.30
16 used & new from $23.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Most comprehensie listing in this subject, April 5, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a factual reference book that documents pertinent facts about Meridian lines (which are very rudimentary sundials built into buildings) This is to my knowledge the first comprehensive inventory of Meridian lines (many hundreds of years old) that is global in scope. Meridian lines were and are mainly incororated into temple, churches and other places of worship, to provide calendarical and time information in real time.

This is one of 2 volumes (they are organized by countries.


Thomas Tompion 300 Years
Thomas Tompion 300 Years
by Jeremy Evans
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive biography and oeuvre overview of Thomas Tompion, the best clockmaker of the golden age of British horology., March 21, 2014
Bookreview

Thomas Tompion - 300 Years - A celebration of the life and work of Thomas Tompion.

By Jeremy Evans, Jonathan Carter and Ben Wright; with a foreword by David Thompson; Photography primarily by Andy Green. Published 2013 by Water Lane Publishing (Stroud, Glouchestershire, UK, in a limited edition of 750 copies, plus a luxury edition limited to 100 signed copies). ISBN 978-0-9927561-0-9. 664 pages; 31cm x 25 cm; hardcover, cloth, dust jacket. Countless illustrations, mostly large format and in color. Includes a ‘catalog’ section of 281 pages, describing 121 items in detail, plus an exhaustive table of all known pieces [revised and corrected list based on Evans’ 2006 publication], a 46-item Bibliography and a substantial Index of 11 pages. Available from the publisher at [...] for UKP 175 (ca. 300 US$) plus shipping (Luxury edition is UKP 500). NAWCC members may borrow a copy from the NAWCC lending library.
Most horological historians of England would agree that the most celebrated craftsman making timekeepers in England during their golden era of clock production is the London based craftsman Thomas Tompion (1639-1713).

Until a few months ago there was only one comprehensive scholarly book describing his life and his output, and that book was published over half a century ago. (R.W. Symonds: Thomas Tompion, His Life and Work, First published 1951 by B.T. Batsford). The only other Tompion monograph of substance was Jeremy Evans’ book ‘Thomas Tompion at the Dial and Three Crowns’ (published 2006 by the Antiquarian Horological Society), consisting of the text of the richly illustrated Dingwall-Bellowe lecture on Tompion by Evans (given in 2003), accompanied by the Tompion serial numbers list which Evans had assembled in the course of 35 years of research.
A new comprehensive book on Tompion and his output was overdue. Much of the facts had already been meticulously assembled by the lead author over the decades, but – as the tercentenary of Tompion's death was approaching - it became clear that an infusion of new blood was needed to get an updated, comprehensive book to the public by the 300th anniversary of Tompions death. Two young horological dealers, Tompion enthusiasts and scholars of the classic era of British clocks, Ben Wright and Jonathan Carter, rose to the challenge, and worked with Evans to meet the deadline.

The resulting book represents a milestone in British horological scholarship and publishing: It unites in one hefty publication (over 4 kilograms) most of the existing knowledge about Tompions life and oeuvre. It is not a ‘narrative’ that anyone will read cover to cover, but rather an authoritative resource that a horologist will turn to again and again to check some fact related to Thomas Tompion or his vast oeuvre.

The book is structured into six distinct sections, each of which could easily by itself stand alone as a valuable publication on Tompion:

1. The book starts with “A Chronology of Events in the lives of Thomas Tompion and those around him”. This is a 122-page list of dated events stretching from 1597 (The first documented use of the Tompion family name, by a blacksmith in Bedfordshire) to the 17th of October 1743 [The burial date of the widow of James Tompion (a watchmaking nephew of Thomas Tompion, and the last Tompion horologist) in the churchyard of the church where Thomas Tompion had been baptized 104 years earlier]. This section, strictly chronological, lists on each page ten to twenty ‘events’ relevant to the Tompion story on a given date (sometimes even giving the hour) and often quoting original source material. On most page-spreads there are - along the right margin - three captioned, small illustrations showing people, locations, events or objects relevant to the listed events. No narrative, just several hundreds of timed facts surrounding the life of Tompion.

2. “A Study of Tompion’s Domestic Clocks” (81 pages) documents in considerable detail the way the Tompion workshop was organized to produce a large number of both spring-driven clocks (42 pp) and longcase clocks (20 pp). The role of third-party ‘outside’ craftsmen is examined, and production techniques are described. A 7-page section explains the Tompion system of numbering (some of) his clocks. Virtually every page of this section is illustrated with detailed color photographs (up to 12 per page) documenting specific features of clocks, and how they evolved over the years in Tompions workshop. Dials, hands, spandrelscase feet, name engravings, etc are discussed, and the functionality of three different repeating systems (Silent Pull-Quarter Repeat, Striking and Pull-Quarter Repeat, Three-Train Full Grande Sonnerie Striking and Trip Repeat) are explained and illustrated in full detail. For numerous examples fully detailed train counts are provided. A discussion of decorative plate engraving takes up 12 pages, and 19 pages are devoted to case details of spring driven (9 pp) and long case (10pp) Tompion clocks.

3. “Tompion’s Customers and visitors to his shop” with ‘only’ 38 pages this is the shortest of the six sections. Starting with the sovereign houses of Europe [England and Scotland (6 patrons), France (2), Germany (3), Denmark (1), Netherlands (2), Italy (2), Spain (1) and Sweden (1)], and then moving on to ‘British subjects and others’ (alphabetically from Thomas Bruce Ailesbury, who ‘on 19 March 1689 paid Mr.Tompion mending 2 watches £1:2;6’ all the way to a Dr. Zanches, who ‘met Hooke at Tompion’s on a rainy day, 16th January 1690’). This chapter contains mini-biographies (mostly illustrated) of 132 prominent persons of his time known to have either visited the Tompion workshops or ordered a timekeeping device from him.

4. “Tompion’s Watches & Watchmakers” (52 pages) primarily documents 34 specific examples of typical pocketwatches produced in his workshop. Over 5000 watches were made there overall. In the collective conscious of the horological community, Tompion is known primarily as a clockmaker, but in reality, in his life, in his business dealings, and in the activities of his workshop, watches were as important, if not more important than clocks. In this section of the book a selection of 34 specific Tompion pocket watches is presented in a short descriptive text, each illustrated with one to six images. Some individual tradesmen working for the workshop are identified, some train counts are documented and there is a table of punch marks found on Tompion watches, and some matches between names and identities are suggested. That section concludes with the astonishing observation that “of Tompion’s assumed watch production about 80% remain unaccounted for”.

5. The “Catalog” Section, which is in the opinion of this reviewer the core – and the most valuable part- of the book, with 281 pages, accounts for nearly one third of the length of the book. 131 items are documented in detail. In the six subchapters of the catalog listed below, each clock or watch typically merits about a half or a full column of text. Each entry lists ‘Name’, Number, Date, Dimensions, Case, Dial, Duration, Movement, Escapement type, Strike type, Provenance and Comment, and features one to six images (ranging from a quarter page size to full page size. Images typically showing both movement and case, sometimes dial close-ups, or unusual case or movement details. This results in catalog entries ranging from one to four pages in length for the 131 items with full catalog entries.

5A. “Spring Clocks”, 68 pages, 33 clocks
5B. “Grande-Sonnerie Spring Clocks”, 37 pages, 11 clocks
5C. “Special Spring Clocks”, 29 pages, 8 clocks
5D. “Longcase Clocks”, 42 pages, 20 clocks
5E. “Special Longcase Clocks”, 44 pages, 16 clocks
5F. “Miscellaneous Clocks and Instruments”, includes timers, sundials, towerclocks and barometers, 21 pages, 12 items
5G. “Watches”, 29 pages, 19 watches

6. “A Concise Check List of Clocks, Watches and Instruments from the Workshops of Thomas Tompion and his Associates” This is a revised, augmented, updated and corrected version (60 pages, in table format, includes its own reference sources) of the list first presented in Evans’ 2006 book. It is a priceless reference tool, and hopefully will be updated and maintained for the benefit of future generations of horological researchers.
An eleven-page Index concludes this amazing publication.

For any horological enthusiast with a serious interest in the core era of British clockmaking there is little choice. This is a ‘must-have’ and core element on your ‘British Horology’ bookshelf. Admittedly, the book is not cheap, but as pointed out before, because this single volume really combines the material and insights usually spread out over multiple publications into one massive book, so it is a good value. In addition, it is beautifully produced, features gorgeous photography by somebody who understands clocks, is well printed and solidly bound.

The three authors, who self-published the book, deserve high praise for their willingness to share their insights, their expertise and their knowledge accumulated over decades.

Fortunat F. Mueller-Maerki, Sussex NJ - March 2014


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6