Howard & Davis
The E. Howard Watch & Clock Company was formed as a joint stock corporation on December 1, 1881 to succeed an earlier firm of similar name founded by Edward Howard (1813-1904).
Howard, a clock making apprentice of Aaron Willard, Jr. had commenced business with David P. Davis, manufacturing high-grade wall clocks under the name of Howard & Davis in 1842. They also became known for their manufacture of sewing machines, fire engines and precision balances.
About 1843, with a third partner, Luther Stephenson, they began to also manufacture tower clocks.
In 1857, David P. Davis left the firm and Howard & Davis was dissolved and was succeeded by E. Howard & Company. Both Howard and Davis had also been involved in watch manufacturing, somewhat unsuccessfully, since 1850,
In 1857, Edward Howard began a new watch company and on March 24, 1861 combined his clock and watch businesses into one joint stock corporation, the Howard Clock & Watch Company, which failed in 1863. Thereafter, Howard formed a new company called the Howard Watch & Clock Company (transposing clock & watch) on October 1, 1863, which was successful for some years but was reorganized in 1881 after financial setbacks. (1)
In 1881, Edward Howard sold out his personal interests and retired, leaving the firm to new management. This firm continued the manufacture of many clock styles, primarily weight driven wall timepieces and regulators of fine quality. Only a couple common wall models, #5 and # 10, were produced as stock items, all others being manufactured by special order. Clocks were manufactured at Roxbury, a part of Boston, but in the early 1930's the operation was moved to Waltham, MA. A new firm known as Howard Clock Products was formed November 5, 1934 to succeed the earlier firm. Clock production was on the wane, but precision gear cutting business kept the firm profitable, particularly from government contract work. Production of smaller clocks ceased in 1957 or 1958 and the last tower clock was produced in 1964. However, in 1975, Dana J. Blackwell, as a new Vice President of the firm, revived clock production, reintroducing several of the more popular models to the market. Movements in these later clocks maintained the high standards the Howard firm had become famous for and cases were made to very strict specifications. (1)
Sadly, the older owners of the firm sold the business to a young seemingly successful businessman named Beckman, in August of 1977. Beckman eventually fired most of the firm's knowledgeable management and proceeded to drain it financially. By 1980, when the firm was at the verge of bankruptcy, Beckman was caught with a bunch of hired thugs in an attempt to blow up the factory building. After a lengthy trial he was convicted, though never served any time in jail. At the time of Beckman's arrest, the Federal Government stepped in and the Howard firm was placed under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code. A shrewd manager was brought in by the bankruptcy court and after creditors were satisfied, the firm sold the clock making portion of the business to private investors who continue to offer fine Howard clocks. (1)
The E. Howard Company manufactured their No.2 tower clock in two models. The Striker was designed for clocks with seven-foot dials and bells weighing 2,500 pounds. The other, called the Special, was designed for clocks that had eight-foot dials and 3,500 pound bells.
This particular example of the No.2 Striker (Fig.1) is fitted with the optional Dennison double three-legged gravity escapement and half-hour strike. The original pendulumand bob have been replaced with a shorter version to permit operating the movement in its current display.
This clock was originally installed in the Eddington Industrial School, Eddington, Pennsylvania in 1888. The list price for this four-dial movement in the 1890 Howard Tower Clock catalog was $775.00. (2)
E. Howard Historical Dates (3)
1842: E. Howard Clock Co. founded
1845: Howard Clock factory built in Roxbury
1850: Boston Watch Co. (Howard, Davis & Dennison Co.) founded
1850: Boston Watch Co. factory built in Roxbury
1857: Boston Watch Co. failed
1857: Howard Watch and Clock Co. founded
1858: Name changed to E. Howard & Co.
1861: Howard Watch and Clock Co. incorporated
1863: Company reorganized
1873: New plant completed
1879: Waltham Watch and Tool Co founded (U.S. Watch)
1881: Company reorganized as E. Howard Watch and Clock Co.
1882: Edward Howard retires
1888–1896: U.S. Watch Co. produces "Suffolk" and "Columbia" watches
1903: Howard Clock and watch manufacturing separated
1903: Clock manufacturing company becomes E. Howard Clock Co.
1903: E. Howard name for watches sold to Keystone Watch Case Co.
1903: U.S Watch Co. sold to E. Howard Watch Co. (and Keystone)
1903–1927: Howard watches produced in Waltham at U.S Watch factory
1927: Howard name sold to Hamilton Watch Co.
1927: Howard Clock Co. buys U.S. Watch factory from Keystone
1933: Howard Clock Products Co. incorporated
1933 to Present: Howard Clock Products Co. manufactures clock and timer mechanisms
Written by Irene Ndikumwenayo '09