A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects

Framed chronometer and watch hands

Framed chronometer and watch handsWe are thrilled to announce that our beautiful framed watch and chronometer hands made by William Preston have been selected to be part of “A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects”!

Prescot Museum will now be included in a special trail around Lancashire, telling the story of the County Palatine.

Our object represents the thousands of skilled workers across Lancashire involved in the horology trade making individual components, which when combined made movements for high quality timepieces which were sent out all over the world. Prescot was noted as being a “town of little workshops”.

William Preston senior’s workshop was on Eccleston Street, Prescot. This display of delicate chronometer and watch hands was made for an industrial exhibition as a demonstration of his skill and showed the range of designs he made.

The levels of precision and skill needed to make these watch hands is staggering, and the processes involved could be very hazardous. In order to gild a watch hand, an amalgam of gold and mercury would be applied to it and heated. The mercury would then evaporate away as toxic vapours, leaving a smooth covering of gold behind.