Circa 1790



This grandfather clock by James Howden in Edinburgh (Scotland) was made around 1790. Mr howden is listed as a “maker of repute” in Watch and Clockmakers of the World by G. H. Baillie on page 160. There are two listings for a James Howden on that page the first saying he was apprenticed in 1764 and died in 1810 and was a maker of repute. The second listing just records the name as working between 1781 and 1842 which may have been a son.

Included with this clock (in the bottom of the case) is some research done in 2008 by Charles Edwin Inc. ( on several James Howden clocks with the movement of this very clock shown in poor condition at that time. Of note is a remark at the bottom of the first page that supports my contention that this was a clock done by the senior James Howden, it being a brass dial clock with the dial construction typical for a clock of the late 1700s. Later clocks usually had a painted dial.  Mr. Edwin writes of Mr. Howden Jr’s father:

“James Howden, apprenticed to James Cowan, Edinburgh’s most famous 18th century clockmaker, was free in 1775 and became a well-known craftsman and established 3 generations of clockmakers in the area. He died in 1810, leaving the business to James Jr. and his brother William, a silversmith.”

The clock movement has been restored and is in good running order and fully functional. The hands, weights, crank, finials and brass decoration on the hood are not original.

This clock was purchased at Pete’s Auction Service in Madison Virginia in March of 2021. No previous history was provided at the time.  The clock has been restored and is in good fully functional order. A few pictures follow.


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