Leigh Extence
Fine Antique Clocks

Rotherhams

The firm’s origins start in 1747 with the founder clockmaker William Vale of Coventry and by 1754 had become Vale, Howlett & Carr.  It was in 1790 that the Rotherham name enters the scene when Richard Kevitt Rotherham, an apprentice at the firm, becomes a  partner in Vale & Rotherham, which is again renamed in 1842, Richard Kevitt Rotherham & Sons.  In 1843 an attempt was made to use a factory system (not machine based) to manufacture 6,000 watch movements per annum but  with little success. In 1867 the firm, known since 1850 as Rotherham & Sons, held a successful trial using John Wycherley’s system of manufacture. (see chap 4, Watches) and many movements of this period bear the JW stamp on the frontplate.  It was in 1876 that Mr Gooding joined the firm becoming a prominent member of the workforce working alongside John Rotherham.  It was Gooding who in circa 1880 and now the firms manager, was sent to America by John Rotherham to arrange the purchase of  machinery from the American Watch Tool Co, being similar to that used by Waltham. It is suggested by some that it was  Rotherhams in 1880 who made the first truly English machine made watch, but the history of both the EWC and Ehrhardt, among  others, would refute this, although in 1881 Rotherham’s machine made parts were shown to the Society of Arts by Rigg, who  suggested that ninety-nine machines were used in the making of one watch movement.   By circa 1900 the company had diversified by using the machinery to make bicycle parts, and gas & electrical lighting amongst  other items just as John Rotherham, in 1905, celebrated fifty years at the firm.  In 1911 the Lancashire Watch Company held a nine-day auction having had receivers in for a short period, with a representative of  Rotherhams in attendance having plans for extensions to the watch making side of the business. Ten years later, Mr Gooding  having retired in 1915, Rotherham’s exhibited at the British Industry Fair showing watches made not only in Coventry but in their  Swiss factory, possibly the Rode Watch Company in La Chaux de Fonds. In 1932 they become agents for Buren of Switzerland, after the collapse of their previous agent, H. Williamson, and by 1934 were  the only watchmakers on show at the British Industry Fair. But by 1937 watches had become an insignificant part of the rapidly  diversifying  Rotherham’s manufacturing business, with it doubtful any were now being made in Coventry.  Rotherhams movements are either full-plate keywound, with one exception; or three-quarter plate keyless, with the latter having a  Swiss style index whilst the former has a modified Bosley with a raised silvered index, and all with a split bi-metallic balance. All are  spring barrel driven with the one exception mentioned below. Frames are stamped with the Rotherham trademark and the  dustcovers, where applicaple, are stamped ‘Patd 7204’. All are signed on the backplate unless otherwise stated.  Full-plate Movements  1 W.J. Ching, Kingsbridge, 15279: the dial signed by Ching and with the Rotherham trademark with a patent stamped dust cap.  William Thomas Ching is recorded working at 28 Fore Street circa 1889.  2 Squire & Son, Bideford, 138408: also signed on the dial and with the Rotherham trademark.  Robert Squire & Son are recorded working at 12 High Street from circa 1866 until at least 1902, with the church clock at St Giles in  the Wood signed and dated 1879.  3 Albert & Dark, Barnstaple, 214512: the dial damaged but indistinctly signed Albert & Dark, Barnstaple, The Favorite, with a  patent stamped dust cap. 4 B. Butland, 90 Old Town St, Plymouth, 163554: with a patent stamped dust cap.  Ben Butland is recorded working at 15 Old Town Street from circa 1883. until at least 1896.  Two Full plate movement frontplates, one showing the normal keywound example & the other an unusual  keyless example. 5 Anon, 222117: with usual keywound system, with a patent stamped dust cap.  6 S. Lanyon, Portsmouth, 185901: with unusual keyless system for a full plate, missing the balance, balance cock and  regulation. S Lanyon is recorded working at 4, Ordnance Place, Portsea, Portsmouth, Hampshire from circa 1895 until 1931.  Three-quarter Plate Movements, all keyless  Large Size  7 Page, Keen & Page, Plymouth, 400801: James Andrew Page is recorded working in George Street circa 1866 until at least 1902.  8 Page, Keen & Page Ltd, Plymouth, ‘The Service’, 385655: also signed on the dial. See previous exhibit for biographical details.  9 Thos. Peake, 142 from 118, Wardour St, London. W, 248078:  To show the frame with the Rotherham trademark.  Thomas Peake is recorded working from circa 1857 until at least 1881.  10  Jay, Richards, Attenborough & Co, Ltd, 142 & 144 Oxford St, London W: and signed on the dial Jays, 142 & 144 Oxford  Street, London. W. Mid Size 11 J. Willoughby, Kilkenny, 92326: Small Size 12  G.E. Searle & Sons, Plymouth, 44187: also signed on the dial.  13  Anon, 198979: with a plain dial.  14  Bond & Kedge, Clock House, Putney, 44145: a small keyless three-quarter plate movement with a split-bimetallic balance,  the frame with Rotherhams trademark. (Used in image for an article written by Dennis Bacon in the Antiquarian Horology magazine,  Winter 1996, fig. 9)  Other  15  Rotherham’s, London, 34738: as signed on both the top plate and dial, the full-plate movement with a modified Bosley  regulation and bi-metallic balance and the only movement in the collection of any style that is actually signed by Rotherham’s  themselves and is also the only example which has a fusee and not a going-barrel.  Click on Image below to Enlarge
11  Willoughby, Kilkenny
15  Rotherhams
14  Bond & Hedge, Putney
14  Bond & Kedge bottom plate
4  Butland bottom plate
15  Rotherhams dial
7  Page, Keen & Page
2  Squire, Bideford
3  Albert & Dark, Barnstaple
2  Squire dial
4  Butland, Plymouth
8  Page, Keen & Page, Service
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