Fine Two-Day Marine Chronometer Signed Charles Frodsham

$ 8,257
  • Description
    A Sturdy English Two-Day Marine Chronometer Made by the Renowned Maker Charles Frodsham, c. 1860

    A classic expertly produced 19th century English chronometer in a three-tier rosewood case, made c. 1860. The typically brass bound case consists of a lower and a glazed upper part, as well as a top lid. The lower part has two drop handles to the sides, while the front has a lock and key with an inlaid brass escutcheon. In the front of the upper part is a brass button to lock the top lid, as well as a circular bone plaque inscribed as follows: CHAs FRODSHAM 84 Strand LONDON No 2819. The movement is situated in a gimballed brass bowl, which can be secured for transport purposes by a turnable handle in the bottom right corner of the case. The 4" silvered dial is protected by a flat bevelled glass set in a brass bezel, screwed to the bowl. The top rim of the silvered inside of the bezel bears the following text ‘EXPOSITION UNIVERSELLE DE 1855 GRANDE MEDAILLE D’HONNEUR’. In addition, there is an original protective case, in which the chronometer can be placed to protect it from external hazards.

    The maker has signed and numbered the chronometer on the silvered dial in the following manner:
    No 2819

    The time is indicated by a fine pair of gilt brass hands on the silvered dial with a Roman chaptering, five-minute and minute divisions.

    The seconds are indicated by a blued-steel hand on a separate chapter ring below the middle with Arabic ten-second, five-second and second divisions. Below the XII is up-and-down dial 0-56 (hours), indicating the state of winding.

    The two-day movement is constructed between two circular plates and is driven by a spring in a spring barrel via a chain fusee. It has an Earnshaw spring detent escapement with a compensated balance and helical spring. The chronometer is wound by a special key with a ratchet to prevent winding the clock in the wrong direction. The original key can be stored in a hole in the top right corner of the case. The winding hole is covered by a large circular sprung shutter.

    Dimensions: 18x17.5x18.5cm

    The maker:
    Charles Frodsham was born into a dynasty of clock, watch and chronometer makers on the 15 April 1810. His father William James Frodsham (1779-1850) and Hannah Lambert had ten children, five of whom were apprenticed to their father and later became horologists in their own right.

    Charles was educated at Christ’s Hospital, the Bluecoat School in Newgate, London, and as a condition of the Foundation, was apprenticed at the age of fourteen to his father William. He showed early promise submitting two chronometers (numbers 1 & 2) to the 1830 Premium Trials at Greenwich, No.2 gaining the second Premium prize of £170. A further nine chronometers were then entered for trial in subsequent years, until the termination of the Premium Trials, in 1836.

    By the mid-1850s Charles had established himself as one of the period’s most eminent horologists. In 1854 upon the death of Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy, he purchased the goodwill of the business and succeeded Vulliamy as Superintendent and Keeper of Her Majesty’s Clocks at Buckingham Palace. This prestigious title aided the sale of clocks, watches and chronometers worldwide, Charles having overseas representation and agents in America, France and Spain. He was a liberal supporter and judicial advisor to the societies connected with horology, being one of the founding members, and later Vice President, of the British Horological Institute in 1858, and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, in which he served as Master in 1855 and 1862.

    In the same year the Great International Exhibition was held at South Kensington, where Charles not only exhibited but was also one of the jurors. Amongst his exhibits were a month duration marine chronometer.

    Charles died on the 11 January 1871 at his home at 26 Upper Bedford Place, and was buried at Highgate cemetery, London, in the family vault next to that of his father. His obituary succinctly stated that ‘during a long and honourable career, he distinguished himself by his devotion to the science of horology, which he greatly advanced, and his clever works upon the subject are regarded as authoritative by members of the trade'. The firm continued under the leadership of Charles’s son Harrison Mill Frodsham (1849–1922) and exists to the present day.

    References: Tony Mercer, Chronometer Makers of the World, p. 195
    Jonathan Betts, Marine Chronometers at Greenwich, Oxford, 2017
    Frodsham site
  • More Information
    Origin: England
    Period: 19th Century
    Condition: Good. Wear consistent with age and use. Fantastic condition throughout, in perfect order.
    Creation Date: 1860
    Number of Pieces: 2-3
    Styles / Movements: Traditional, Victorian
    Patterns: Beach/Nautical
    Incollect Reference #: 696461
  • Dimensions
    W. 6.89 in; H. 7.28 in; D. 7.09 in;
    W. 17.5 cm; H. 18.5 cm; D. 18 cm;
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