Clocks logo
  Reader's letter | July 2003 | Clocks Magazine

Thomas Hill watch

With reference to the letter in your May 2003 issue from Mr Richard Wood concerning his 'Thomas Hill' watch, this is probably one of the most interesting watches that I have seen.

It is unlikely that there were others offered as advertisements because watches were very expensive in those times. The dial on this watch is more likely to be the 18th-century equivalent of a personalised number plate on one’s car—and, of course, a means of identification should the watch be lost or stolen.

I have a dictionary of 1754 which lists ‘lath’ and ‘render’ as follows: ‘Lath - a thin piece of splitwood, nailed to the walls and joists of an house, that they may be plaistered to make the ceilings and walls even ...’; ‘Render - in Building, it is the plaistering of walls, called also pargetting.’

From the watch, then, we can deduce that Thomas Hill was a skilled plasterer, probably doing ornamental work as well as just plain plastering. Contrary to modern ideas, skilled tradesmen were well-paid in previous centuries. As a successful tradesman, Thomas Hill could well afford his own personalised watch Finally, perhaps Mr Wood could trace his ancestor and find out more about him.

Fraser Blagg, UK

© 1977 to 2014 Clocks Magazine & Splat Publishing Ltd