Leigh Extence
Fine Antique Clocks

H. Williamson Ltd

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In circa 1895 H. Williamson acquired the small factory of Charles Huton Errington (CHE) in Coventry and two years later bought the  remnants of the English Watch Company, including the machinery to make both front and backplates.  In 1898 the firm became a public company and took control of, or founded, a Swiss watchmaking concern in Buren to supply the  Coventry factory, using Dennison’s idea of making the plates in England but obtaining the internal parts from Switzerland. But a year  later Williamson was found guilty of describing watches on both invoices and approbation notices as ‘bolt and cap English lever’ and  ‘domes keyless English levers’ when foreign parts were so obviously being utilised. For this reason by 1901 the Errington factory  expansion was completed which allowed Williamson to make the parts for watches previously imported from Switzerland.   In 1902 Williamson acquired a clock factory in Salisbury, Wiltshire supplying a number of concerns with clock movements, including  the rapidly expanding S. Smiths & Sons. Unfortunately in 1909 a fire destroyed this factory and clockmaking transferred to the  Coventry factory. In 1912 the British Horological Institute made a visit to the factory to report on its operation, check HJ.   The intervention of the Great War saw the factory turned over for the war effort and in 1918 it was reported that Williamson’s were  producing around 1,000 watches per week for the Government.  In 1921, in common with the majority of English watch producers, Wiliamson saw the need to diversify and the business was  expanded to now making gramaphones. But by 1931, after a period of six years of losses, a receiver was appointed  The end of the company virtually ending the mass-production of watches for this period in England. S. Smith & Sons acquired the  remaining Williamson clock making department.  Williamson Movements Generally Williamson watches came in two main types; full plate keywound and three-quarter plate keyless both types with lever  escapement. Full Plate Keywound Movements  1 H. Samuel, Manchester, 13241, going-barrel movement with the steel balance having three poising screws, the trame stamped  H. Williamson, Coventry, with the dial signed for H. Samuel.  2 H. Samuel, Market St, Manchester, 17417, Patent Trip Action, along with the Samuel registered trademark, with an engraved  balance cock and split-bimetallic balance, without pillars but inclusive side pieces, the dial signed for H. Samuel.  3 Anon, 49118, going barrel with a false fusee and a split-bimetallic balance, the dial with bold numerals as also seen in exhibit 9.  4 Warranted English Lever, Non Magnetic, 10988, a going-barrel movement with a ‘false’ fusee, with the steel balance having  poising screws and inclusive side pieces, with a numbered dust cap.  CHE Patent  5 Anon 12058, a going-barrel movement with a ‘false’ fusee, finely engraved balance cock, with a bimetallic compensating balance  and, unusually for the Williamson exhibits shown here, a traditional Bosley escapement but with a raised quadrant to the underslung  hairspring rather than a lower version, the frame is stamped CHE Patent, 13069, 18766, 10356, with dust cover.  CHE for Charles Errington.  Three-quarter Plate Keyless Movements  6 Thos Russell & Son, Makers to Queen Victoria, Liverpool, 108731, with winged Tempus Fugit trademark on the backplate,  the dial signed: Thos Russell & Son, 12 Church St, Liverpool.  7 Thos Russell & Son, Liverpool, 74970, the engraved balance cock has a straight line balance with club tooth escapement, the  frame stamped Errington Watch Factory, 73972.  8 Warranted English, 73248, a straight line balance with club tooth escapement, the frame stamped Errington Watch Factory,  72125.  Extras  9 H. Williamson, London, a spare dial with bold numerals as also seen in exhibit 3, with an offset seconds dial and the only one in  the collection actually signed for H. Williamson, London.  10  CHE, Patent, 954: a dust cap differing from the norm by having a round lock as opposed to a slide, the inside stamped CHE,  Patent, 954. Click on Image below to Enlarge
4  Bottom plate
7  Errinton mark
5  Errington patent
5  Bottom plate
3  Anon, 49118
7  Russell 74970
3  49118 Dial
1  H. Samuel
2  H. Samuel
1  Williamson mark
2  Bottom plate
4  Warranted English Lever
6  Bottom plate
10  CHE Patent dust cap
6  Dial
8  Warranted
9  Williamson dial
6  Russell 108731