Time and Time-tellers. By James W. Benson (Hardwicke)—Visitors to the International Exhibition of 1862 will remember Benson’s great clock which stood under an architectural dome in the main avenue, struck the hours and quarters, and gave the time to the other clocks in the building. The maker of that clock, Mr. Benson, of Ludgate Hill, thinking that a plain statement of facts about clocks and watches might be useful to many persons who possess timekeepers, has produced the very well written and instructive little book before us, both historical and practical. He gives us information about old dials, water-clocks, and ancient watches, with notes of numerous curious instruments for recording old Time’s progress. Among these are the Death’s-head watch Which belonged to Mary Queen of Scots, the monster watch worn by Oliver Cromwell, Milton’s watch, and many others; incidentally introducing several entertaining anecdotes and, bits of old-world history. Then we have a complete account of modern clocks and watches, with explanations as to their different modes of action, their manufacture, and other particulars; after which are notices of the most celebrated turret clocks, as those at Wells Cathedral, St. Paul’s, and old St. Dunstan’s Church in Fleet Street, the hours of which were struck by two mechanical giants. This specimen of ancient ingenuity is it seems, still in existence, having been purchased by the late Marquis of Hertford, and placed in the grounds of the Regent’s Park villa erected for that nobleman by the late Decimus Burton. Every section of the book is illustrated with engravings and explanatory diagrams; and the book itself is a pleasing instance of literary Work from the pen of a practical manufacturer—another instance, if any were needed, of the intimate connection between artistic and mechanical operations. Mr. Benson’s work is thoroughly well done in every particular, and in none so thoroughly as a the avoidance of anything approaching puffery or self-laudation. He nowhere sets himself up as the best watchmaker, the most scientific of clockmakers, or even as the inventor of the well-known chronograph for marking the time of races and other events to the twentieth part of a second; but he everywhere seems anxious to produce—as he has produced—the best popular and practical treatise yet published on watch and clock making.
Source: The Christmas Bookseller - 1875