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Case Hall Marks
The Maker's Mark - JW = Joseph Walton
The Assay Office Mark - Leopard's Head = London
The Standard Mark = Lion Passant means sterling silver of 92.5% pure silver
The Date Letter (Year) Mark = 1876
Case Number 22945

 

Edward Stephen Comberbach

Watchmaker & Barometer Maker

1816 - 1879

&

1853 - 1895

 

Comberbach Pocket Watch - Dial

Comberbach Pocket Watch     Comberbach Pocket Watch Fusee Movement     Comberbach Pocket Watch

Edward Stephen COMBERBACH, son of John COMBERBACH and Margaret, was born in 1816 in Blackburn, Lancashire. He was baptised on 10 December 1816 in Balderstone, Lancashire. He died 18 October 1879 at 27 Dukes Brow, Blackburn, Lancashire and his Personal Estate was under 5,000.

Edward Stephen Comberbach, son of Edward Stephen the elder, was born in 1853 in Blackburn, Lancashire, England and died 3 February 1895 in Hythe, Kent, England. COMBERBACH Edward Stephen of Eversleigh Seabrook near Hythe Kent gentleman died 3 February 1895 and his effects totalled 12,526 6s 6d.

The above are pictures of one of their pocket watches. The dial is inscribed: Manufactured by E.S. Comberbach & Sons Blackburn. The 'movement' is a 'Fusee Lever' and is signed: E S Comberbach & Sons, No. 31253, 48 Market Place, Blackburn.

The case-maker's identity is "JW" - Joseph Walton and the case number is 22945. The case is at least 92.5% silver, bearing hallmarks for London and made in 1876. Thanks to David Penney at The Antique Watch Store for the identification of the case-maker and year of its manufacture.

Here is the little I have found out about him:

COMBERBACH

     Edward Stephen. Blackburn 1858. W. [Watchmaker]
     E.S. & Sons. London. 1881
 

[Source: Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World Vol: 2 Brian Loomes N.A.G. Press Ltd London: 1976. Guildhall Library - R926/81p.49]
 

COMBERBACH, Edward Stephen, Blackburn 48 Victoria Buildings, New Market Place in 1858.

[Source: Lancashire Clocks & Clockmakers Brian Loomes. David & Charles. London: 1975. Guildhall Library p.81]

Kelly's Directory of the Watch & Clock Trades 1887 [London]. Fourth Edition p.321 Watch Importers & Merchants & p.322 Watch Manufacturers

COMBERBACH E.S. & Sons, 4 Holborn Circus, EC

Here is a catalogue description of one of his watches on sale in 1994:

SILVER FUSEE LEVER with ENGRAVED DUST COVER

A late 19th Century English fully jewelled fusee lever in an open face silver case. Full plate gilt keywind fusee movement with unusual richly engraved dust cover. Harrison's maintaining power. Engraved cock, compensation balance with blue steel spiral hairspring. English table roller lever escapement, screwed in jewelling including the fusee in a large steel setting. Signed white enamel dial with subsidiary seconds, gothic Roman numerals, blue steel seconds hand, gilt hands. Substantial plain silver open face case with ribbed middle, vacant shield shaped cartouche on the back cover. Number corresponding to that on the movement and maker's mark "AW" in an oval.

Signed E S Comberbach Blackburn 1771
Hallmarked Chester 1894 ; Diameter 57 mm ; Depth 11 mm

For more details on just how these types of watches work see: The English Lever Watch

A watch restored and back to working condition

___________________________________________

Before

The Barometer Maker

After

The example pictured here is known as a "wheel" barometer or as a "banjo" barometer. The "banjo" is an obvious name based on its shape. The "wheel" describes how it works. As the mercury within the "J" tube rises and falls with atmospheric pressure then a float rises and falls correspondingly. The float turns a wheel and thus moves the hand on the face.

The case is made of pine and is veneered with mahogany which is described as having a "good colour". The item is decorated with mahogany scrolls. The thermometer was missing but another has been made for it.

This sad and neglected barometer has been restored.

 

As with watchmaking it is difficult to know with certainty just how much of the Barometer was made by Edward Stephen Comberbach. Some makers made the complete instrument; others made the parts and bought the rest, whilst some bough all of the parts, including the case, and assembled them. The remainder, who should be described as retailers, bought the barometers from wholesalers and had their name engraved in the dial or the level plate. Some makers advertised barometers for sale "wholesale or retail".

He is listed in Barometer Makers and Retailers 1660 - 1900 as:

Comberbach, Edward Stephen working 1858. Clock & watch Maker, Blackburn

[Source Barometer Makers and Retailers 1660 - 1900 by Edwin Banfield 1991]

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Edward Stephen Comberbach

1853 - 1895

In 1881, the unmarried 28yr old was living, as a boarder, at 33 Great Percy Street, London. His occupation was recorded in the census as Watch (Agent) (Factor). This was the year that he opened the London Offices of E S Comberbach & Sons at 4 Holborn Circus.

He was married to Jane Amelia Pitt at St. George Hanover Square, London in 1892. In 1893 they had a son Edward Sidney Comberbach. He would later fight in WWI and rise to the rank of Captain.

The Watchmaker

David Penney explains the meaning of "watchmaker":

Lastly, you should be aware that this watch is a Liverpool or perhaps Coventry made watch. Though E S Comberbatch & Son claim to be  'Manufacturers' this was a term commonly used by retailers who sold watches bearing their own name. Watchmaking at this time, and for a long time previously, was a collaborative effort by over 40 specialist trades, with at least the same amount of sub-specialists also involved. This meant that watches were only ever made in the centres of London, Liverpool and Coventry and nowhere else. Similarly, the term 'watchmaker' almost never meant a maker of watches, but one who was trained in the cleaning, repair, or selling of watches.

David Penney

The Antique Watch Store



 


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