E. Howard & Co.
E. Howard & Co. was a clock and watch company formed by Edward Howard and Charles Rice in 1858, after the demise of the Boston Watch Company. The pair acquired some of the material and watches in progress, based upon a lien against the defunct company held by Rice, but they were unable to buy the existing factory or machinery, so they moved to Roxbury. Soon afterwards, Howard bought out Rice's interest and thereafter concentrated on high quality watches based on his own unique designs and eccentric production methods. E. Howard & Co. produced high grade watches, regulators, and marine clocks.
In 1881, after Howard sold out his interest and retired, E. Howard Watch & Clock Company was formed as a joint stock corporation on December 1, 1881 to succeed the earlier firm.
Howard was a clockmaking apprentice of Aaron Willard, Jr. and 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. In 1857-8, Edward Howard finished and sold left over "Model 1857" material from the Boston Watch Co. under the name Howard & Rice. In December 1858, Howard bought out Rice's interest and began manufacturing watches of a new design, signed "E. Howard & Co." While the company name changed several times during the firm's watchmaking history, all watches it made continued to be signed "E. Howard & Co." throughout, with only minor exceptions. The Howard firm established itself as perhaps the premier American manufacturer of luxury watches from 1858 into the 1890s.
On March 24, 1861 the clock and watch businesses were combined 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 of a few years previous.
In 1882, 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 two common wall models, #5 and # 10, were produced as stock items, all others being manufactured by special order.
Regular watch making operations ceased in 1903, when the Howard name in association with watches was sold to the Keystone Watch Case Co. Keystone purchased the defunct US Watch Co. factory building in Waltham, Massachusetts (The US Watch Co. of Waltham is not to be confused with an earlier company of the same name in Marion, New Jersey.) Keystone manufactured watches at the location signed "E. Howard Watch Co." These watches were of new designs and unlike those of the original Howard company. Clocks were manufactured at Roxbury, a section of Boston, but in the early 1930s those operations were also moved to Waltham, Massachusetts. A very small number of pre-existing Howard watches were finished in the Howard clock factory between 1903 and 1927.
Howard Clock Products
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.
Sadly, the older owners of the firm sold the business to a young seemingly successful businessman in August 1977. He 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, the new manager was caught attempting to burn down the factory building. After a lengthy trial he was convicted, though never served any time in jail.
At the time of the arrest, the Federal Government stepped in and the Howard firm was placed under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code. A manager was brought in by the bankruptcy court and after creditors were satisfied, the firm sold the clockmaking portion of the business to private investors who continue to offer Howard clocks.
- 1842 E. Howard Clock Co. founded
- 1845 Howard Clock factory built in Roxbury
- 1850 American Horologue Company founded by E. Howard and A. L. Dennison, with financial backing from D. P. Davis
- 1853 The first production watches completed, signed "Warren Manufacturing Co.," which evolved into the Waltham "Model 1857," the first successful industrially manufactured watch.
- 1854 The Warren Mfg. Co. (previously, the American Horologue Co.) is renamed the Boston Watch Co.
- 1857 Boston Watch Co. fails; Royal E. Robbins and partners purchase the machinery and most of the inventory, but Edward Howard teams with lienholder Chas. Rice to remove about 500 watches in progress to Roxbury; Both Robbins and Howard claim succession from the Boston Watch Co.
- 1857-8 Howard finishes left over Boston Watch Co. Model 1857 material under the name "Howard & Rice"
- 1858 Howard buys out Rice and the name of the watchmaking operation is changed to E. Howard & Co.
- 1858 Production of "E. Howard & Co." watches begins based on Reed's divided plate 6-pillar design
- 1861 Howard Watch and Clock Co. incorporated
- 1862 3/4 plate watch production begins at Howard
- 1863 Company reorganized
- 1869 Howard introduces new steel safety barrel on watches with pendant winding and setting
- 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
- 1898 E. Howard Watch & Clock Co. fails
- 1899 Manufacture of new watch parts suspended; Thereafter, watch movements were assembled and finished from existing part stocks
- 1900 E. Howard Clock Co. emerges from reorganized company
- 1902 E. Howard Watch Co. incorporated (shares Boston business address with E.H.C.Co.)
- 1902–1904 E. Howard Clock Co./Watch Co. receive movements made for them by the American Waltham Watch Co.
- 1903 Regular watchmaking activities at E. Howard & Co. cease as E. Howard Watch Co. name purchased by Keystone Watch Case Co. and re-incorporated
- 1903 U.S Watch Co. sold to E. Howard Watch Co. (owned by the Keystone Watch Case Company)
- 1903–1923 A very small number of pre-existing E. Howard & Co. watches are finished and put out by the Howard Clock Co.
- 1903–1927 The E. Howard Watch Co. of Waltham, Massachusetts (a.k.a., "Keystone Howard") manufactures watches of their own updated designs.
- 1904 Edward Howard dies
- 1904–1905 Keystone/EHWCo receive movements made for them by the American Waltham Watch Co.
- 1905–1927 The E. Howard Watch Co. of Waltham, Massachusetts (a.k.a., "Keystone Howard") manufactures watches of their own updated designs
- 1927 Howard name sold to Hamilton Watch Co.
- 1927 Howard Clock Co. buys U.S. Watch factory from Keystone
- 1931 Hamilton buys goodwill and trademarks of the E.Howard Watch Co.
- 1933 Howard Clock Products Co. incorporated
- 1933 to Present Howard Clock Products Co. manufactures clock and timer mechanisms
- 1939 Hamilton finishes one dozen pocket watches marked E. Howard Watch Co., based on Hamilton's grade 917 movement
- 1942, 1946-49 Hamilton produces a little over 1000 wristwatches marked E. Howard Watch Co., based on Hamilton's grade 980 movement
- 1994 to Present, The La Crosse Clock Company purchased E. Howard & Co.
- 2012, EHWC, Inc. begins development to manufacture high-end wrist watches in Boston.
- 2013 A new world record was set on Saturday, November 23 at Fontaine’s Auction Gallery in Pittsfield Ma. when an E. Howard No. 68 Astronomical Regulator clock was sold for $277,300.00 making it the highest price ever paid at auction for a clock by E. Howard & Co.
List of notable clocks created by E. Howard & Co.
- Boston FIRE ALARM Office, Fire Alarm Emergency, 59 Fenway, Boston, MA 02115 ( http://www.cityofboston.gov/fire/ )
- Trinity Episcopal Church (Williamsport, Pennsylvania) First tower clock (Serial Number 281) in the United States of America to sound the "Cambridge Quarters" (popularly known as the Westminster Chime or Westminster Quarters.) Installed 1875 in the church steeple. Electrified in the 1940s by E. Howard.
- Courthouse Clock in the Maverick County Courthouse in Eagle Pass, Texas.
- Clock Tower Building (Former New York Life Insurance Company Building), 346 Broadway, New York, New York.
- Ferry Building, San Francisco, California
- King Street Station, Seattle, Washington
- Saline County courthouse clock, Harrisburg, Illinois
- Sioux County courthouse clock, Orange City, Iowa. Built in 1902.
- Wrigley Building, Chicago, Illinois
- Unitarian Church, Nantucket, Massachusetts
- First United Methodist Church of Westfield, New Jersey. The clock mechanism (Serial Number 1141 or 1111) controls the two tower clock faces and a 2048 lb. church bell that rings hourly, made by the Clinton H. Meneely Bell Company, of Troy NY. Both date from 1886 and were moved from an earlier wooden church building. After not working since the 1930s, the clock was restored and rededicated on January 8, 1994 and continues in operation to this day. The clock mechanism is still manually wound weekly, while the bell striker is wound by an electric motor installed in the late 1990s.
- Haverhill tower clock at Walnut Square School, Haverhill, Massachusetts
- Hertzberg Clock in Texas, maintained by the San Antonio Conservation Society
- Saint Stephen Evangelical Lutheran Church of Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Still manually wound weekly.
- Lamoille County Courthouse in Hyde Park, Vermont Installed in 1911.
- Thayer Academy Clock Tower, Braintree, Massachusetts Thayer Academy
- Atkinson County Courthouse Pearson, Ga. Installed 1920
- Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, Colorado Springs, CO, street clock dating to 1900.
- Courthouse clock & bell in the Red River County Courthouse in Clarksville, Texas, 1885 - the bell still rings out the hour today
- In 1904 the tower clock, manufactured by E. Howard Clock Company, was installed in the cupola of the Eureka, Illinois courthouse in Woodford County.
- Sapporo Clock Tower, installed in 1881, still alive
- North Conway Depot and Railroad Yard Still in use, now home to Conway Scenic Railroad
- Benton County Courthouse Clock Tower, Corvallis, Oregon Still in use. The weights and pendulum remain in the building but the clock is no longer mechanically wound.
- Texas State Historical Commission. "Maverick County Courthouse Historical Marker".
- Ben Simons, Nantucket Historical Association. "The Robber Baron Behind the 1881 E. Howard No. 3 Striking Town Clock".
- "The Hertzberg Clock - San Antonio, TX". Waymarking. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
2. "American Watchmaking," by M.C. Harrold, National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors BULLETIN Supplement #14, Spring 1984
3. "Boston:Cradle of Industrial Watchmaking," National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors BULLETIN Special Order Supplement #5, 2005, based on the proceedings of the 23rd Annual NAWCC Seminar (2002), ISBN 978-0-9668869-4-8
- City of Boston, Landmarks Commission. Five Street Clocks Study Report. (Includes some information about E. Howard clocks)