John Ellicott clockmaker

John EllicottJohn Ellicott (London, 1706-1772), was an eminent English clock and watchmaker of the 18th century.

His father, a Cornishman, John Ellicott (-1733), was also a clockmaker and had been admitted to the Clockmakers’ Company in 1696. John Ellicott (Jnr) conducted business first from Austin Friars Street EC2 and later from Swithin’s Alley, Royal Exchange, and in 1738 was elected Fellow of the Royal Society. He showed a keen interest in scientific matters and maintained an observatory at his home in Hackney. He was best known for his work on temperature compensated pendulums and his use of the cylinder escapement. His quality workmanship led to an appointment as Clockmaker to George III.

His son Edward (-1791), joined the business in 1760. Over their twelve-year partnership, their clocks were simply signed Ellicott, London.


The Family of John Ellicott

The Ellicott’s were a family of clockmakers following John Ellicott, who was admitted to the freedom of the Clockmakers’ Company in 1696 and was Warden of the Company from 1731 to 1733.

His son John Ellicott born in 1706, was an excellent maker and was elected to the Royal Society in 1738. His house in St John Hackney was fitted up as an observatory and was visited by many of the famous scientists of his time. He made very thin watch movements and paid great attention to detail. As clockmaker to the King he designed public clocks, including that of the London Hospital. He died in 1772 and was followed by his son, Edward, who became Master of the Clockmakers Company in 1834.

The firms were Edward Ellicott & Sons, then Ellicott & Taylor in 1811 and Ellicott & Smith in 1830. Many clocks are to be found with one of these names as the maker. Most are of the standard type, of large size and of excellent workmanship. The only original clock alteration advocated by Ellicott was a modified compensated pendulum with the bob resting on metal levers. The modification was not satisfactory.

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