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Exceptionally early balance wheel hanging wall alarm clock made by Robert Harvey of London, dating from about 1600Exceptionally early balance wheel hanging wall alarm clock made by Robert Harvey of London, dating from about 1600

Exceptionally early balance wheel hanging wall alarm clock made by Robert Harvey of London, dating from about 1600

A unique and exceptionally early balance wheel hanging wall alarm clock made by Robert Harvey of London, by whom only two other clocks are so far recorded. Robert Harvey remains the earliest known clockmaker who was born in Britain. Dating from about 1600 this celebrated clock is illustrated in several textbooks. The lower dial shows minutes and quarter hours. SOLD.

HARVEY, ROBERT. London. He is the first English-born clockmaker we know by name by whom any domestic clock survives in the true lantern form. He is not the man working earlier at Oxford, as was previously believed. Robert Harvey of London was born between 1580 and 1583, the son of John Harvey, q.v., of St. Botolph's without Aldersgate, who died on the 1st September 1602. He is probably the Robert Harvey referred to in the will of clockmaker Peter Medcalfe, q.v., proved in 1592: 'I give and bequeathe unto Robert Harvey, a boy which I keepe, the somme of ffyve poundes of lawfull money of Englande to be paied unto him at his age of one and twentie yeres, so that he be ordered and ruled by my Executrix'. He worked at Little Britain, Aldersgate.

He was made free of Clothworkers' Company by patrimony (that is by right of his father's membership) in 1604, and it may be he needed that freedom to trade in view of his father having died in 1602. It may be he was not free earlier because he was under 21 years of age. Jeremy Evans records that 'Robert Harvie' repaired the church clocks at Allhallows Staining 1602-5, St Giles 1606-8 and St Benet St Paul's Wharf in 1614. In November 1613 he took as apprentice through the Clothworkers' Company John Bulbey from Beighton, Derbyshire. He died about May or June in 1615 in the parish of St. Botolph's, Aldersgate, London, leaving a will dated 9th February 1614/15, in which he named his widow, Mary, but apparently no children.

One of this name married at St. James's Clerkenwell in 1606 to Mary Bankes, which may have been him. He also left a bequest of one of his clocks immediately to his younger brother, Thomas, who had been apprenticed to him from 1608 and was still his apprentice at the time of his death, Thomas being free in December 1615. His will was proved on the 17th June 1615, describing him as a 'Citizen and Clothworker of St. Botolph's Aldersgate'.

Two lantern clocks are known by him, both formerly with balance wheel control, one signed 'Robert Harue London feecit', another signed 'Robertus Harue Littell Brittain London feecit'. A balance wheel wall clock, early 17th century is signed 'Robertus Harvie', the dial engraving signed 'G.D.'. See the article by David Watkins in Clocks Magazine for November 1978. See my articles on Robert Harvey published in Clocks Magazine December 2003 and January 2004 and my updated article in Clocks Magazine in September 2012.

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click for details of home page || clocks for sale: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11
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finding a clock by a particular maker

archive (sold clocks): 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27 - 28 - 29 - 30 - 31 - 32 - 33 - 34 - 35 - 36 - 37 - 38 - 39 - 40 - 41 - 42 - 43 - 44 - 45 - 46 - 47 - 48 - 49 - 50 - 51 - 52 - 53 - 54 - 55 - 56 - 57 - 58

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