A Very Short History Of The Pendulum Clock Part 2 – “At The Sign Of The Mermaid In Lothbury”
In part one we traced the development of the pendulum clock from early beginnings in China around 1100, to the improvements made in Italy then Holland in the 1600’s.
Now we can take a look at English clockmaking up to the point where the grandfather or longcase clock as we recognise it today appeared.
Here is an advertisement, which appeared in the London paper “Commonwealth Mercury” in November 1658 – – – – –
“There is lately a way found for making clocks that to exact and keep equaller time than any now made without this Regulator (examined and proved before his Highness the Modern Design Clocks Lord Protector by such Doctors whose knowledge and learning is without exception) and are not subject to alter by change of weather, as others are, and may be made to go a week, a month, or a year with once winding up, as well as those that are wound up every day, and keep time as well, and is very excellent for all House Clocks that go either with springs or weights; and also Steeple Clocks that are most subject to differ by change of weather. Made by Ahasuerus Fromanteel, who made the first that were in England. You may have them at his house on the Bankside, in Mosses Alley, Southwark and at the sign of the Mermaid, in Lothbury, near Bartholomew Lane end, London”
I’ll bet the guy who wrote that went off to America selling Snake Oil shortly afterwards – – – –
What the advert is telling the people of London is that the pendulum had arrived in England at last, and clocks were for the first time reasonably accurate, certainly to within a few minutes a week. The other give away here is the name of the clockmaker, Ahasuerus Fromanteel was a Dutchman living and working in England, this explains how an obscure book written in Dutch came to be recognised so quickly in England, one of Fromanteel’s sons, John, was sent over to Holland to learn about making pendulum clocks from Salomon Coster, the clockmaker who made the clocks for Huygens and by a happy accident he was there within 11 weeks of Huygens being granted his patent for the pendulum.