Furniture Styles

Furniture > European > English > Designers > Clockmakers > George Graham

George Graham Clocks and Biography

Of George Graham, apprentice, partner, nephew by marriage, successor, and executor, to Thomas Tompion, much might be written. That he even excelled his master. Tompion, in the value and variety of his inventions is a fact, and he was acknowledged to be the foremost horologist of his time. Like so many other distinguished members of the craft, he was a member of the Society of Friends. He was born in Kirklinton, Cumberland, July 7, 1673. In 1688 he came to London, and in that same year began his apprenticeship in the Craft and Mystery of Clockmaking with Henry Aske.

He was subsequently employed by Thomas Tompion, and married Elizabeth, who was the daughter of James Tompion, brother to Thomas. In 1713, on Tompion's death, he succeeded to the business. In 1715 he was made Freeman of the Clockmakers' Company, Warden from 1719-21, and Master in 1722.

Among his inventions was the dead-beat escapement; the application of a compensating power to counteract the effects of heat and cold upon the lengths of a pendulum (1715); and in 1724 he greatly improved the horizontal escapement invented by Tompion.

He was an ingenious and skillful maker of mathematical instruments, made the first planetarium used In England, and was famous for his watches with horizontal escapement. He was known as "honest George Graham" and his shop was called "The Dial and One Crown".

In Wood's "Curiosities of Clocks and Watches" he says that Graham was the fashionable watchmaker of the day, and that in the London Magazine for 1753 the ingredients given as required in the manufacture of a fop include:

 A repeater by Graham, which the hours reveals,
 Almost over-balanc'd with Knick-Knacks and seals,

The cases of many of Graham's watches were works of art, pierced, chased with mythological subjects, ciphers and scrolls, and heavily jewelled. Short or long chains were attached, on which were hung tassels of gold, two or three lockets, lozenge-shaped boxes, seals and miniatures, which must have made a merry clanking as the owner walked.

Copyright © 2004-12 International Styles
All Rights Reserved