Archive for July, 2015

In Memoriam, William O. Smith Jr. – July 2015

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

In Memoriam

William O. Smith Jr.William O. Smith Jr. and his daughter Gail.

William O. Smith Jr. passed away peacefully at his home in West Dennis, Massachusetts, on June 1, 2015 at the age of 88. His wife, Mary, and his daughter Gail were with him. Smith was a Certified Master Watchmaker and Clockmaker. He began his training at the age of 12 at the Western Pennsylvania Horological Institute in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, founded by his father in 1936. In 1966, he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois to participate in a Horological and Micro-Precision Research Project. Subsequently, Smith established a Micro-Precision Technology program at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, where he taught until his retirement in 1984. In 1987, Smith founded Smith’s Time Shop, in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, now located in West Dennis.
    Smith was a past president of The Watchmaker’s Association of Pennsylvania and a Director and Fellow of The American Watchmaker’s Institute. Smith is author of many technical books including Twenty-First Century Watchmaking, Hamilton Electric Watch Repair Manual, and 28 volumes on chronographs and complicated watches.
    Smith enlisted in the Navy during WWII where he served in the Farragut Unit in Washington D.C., and later as head watchmaker at Ship’s Service in Norfolk, Virginia.
    He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Mary (Tomko) Smith; by his children, William O., III and his wife Karen; Mark A. and his wife Sandy; Kent R. and his wife Christine; Lynn M. Marlow and her husband Thomas (Pete); Gail M. Smith; Jill L. Conway and her husband Bob; and Sherri A. Smith; 12 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.
    Funeral services were held on June 8 in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, and burial followed at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Massachusetts.  

Here are some remembrances of Bill Smith from some of his friends and colleagues at AWCI.

In 1995, the Massachusetts Watchmakers Clockmakers Association held a large reception for Henry B. Fried. Bill and Mary Smith were among the 100 or so people who attended that reception to honor Henry that evening. Henry remarked to those of us sitting at his table that there was another person in the room who deserved to be honored even more than he did. That person was William O. Smith Jr.

~Jack Kurdzionak, CW21, FAWCI

Bill Smith with Henry Fried in 1995 at an event honoring Henry Fried.
Bill and Mary Smith were wonderful people. I had the pleasure of working with them at AWI in the early 90s. I have used his incredibly well-illustrated chronograph series over the years. He graciously autographed several of his books for me. Mr. Smith will be missed.

~Robert Porter, CMW

My first encounter with Bill’s work was reading his description of vector physics of various watch parts (written in the late 1970s for AJH) and how and why the engineering designs functioned as they did. The thing that drew me in the most was his readability. He was the first horological writer I had encountered that I could follow in my head. As I read his descriptions, which not only read well but progressed logically, I got it the first time without going back again to pick up what didn’t fit. That is a special talent in writing that few authors possess. It immediately gave me a special respect for this man whom, at this point, I had never met.
    Several years later (by this time I had taught several classes for AWCI) while at an AWCI annual meeting, I bought a copy of Bill’s latest book, Twenty-First Century Watchmaking, with the intention of having him sign my copy. To my surprise, he wrote the inscription: “To my esteemed colleague, warmest regards, Bill Smith.” I was shocked. This was the first time I had met him, and I had no idea how he even knew who I was! When I asked him how he knew me, he told me that his “eyes in the field had eavesdropped on my classes and the reports were excellent!” It took me weeks to get over the compliment! Coming from this man who had a world-renowned reputation as an instructor, watchmaker, and professional was more than a compliment. It was a directive to raise my skill level to its highest and to share everything I knew with others. I think that was what strengthened my resolve as a practicing professional clockmaker.
    Sometime later, Bill and I joined our efforts in developing a more well-rounded education program for AWCI and their (at that time) Academy. We worked out several new items to use within the program frame that would answer some of the stated needs from industry that had been missing. Soon after that experience, I became Education Committee Chairman and redirected AWCI’s entire education efforts and certification programs. But as I worked on those items, I would have constant contact with Bill and get his opinion. Since he had dealt with the international community as well as the US watch community for so long, I felt he understood and knew what was needed. It was never a blind following, as Bill was too good of a teacher and debater to just give opinions. We argued many times, but even if I disagreed with him or his views on something, I could never get mad at him. He was just too kind of a person to let anything but intelligence and honesty prevail.
    He was a strong family man, and I got to see how he raised several of his kids—Bill and Gail, in particular. The kids I met seemed to share the same gentleness that Bill had. His wife, Mary, was no slouch here either. As Bill’s editor, she kept him in line as he worked.  
    In the end analysis of what we leave this world when we pass, all we can hope to do is leave it with some knowledge of what we hold to be the best, not only for ourselves, but for the future. We evaluate what we leave by looking at what the future does with what we offered. In my case, I garnered more than a comment in a book. I garnered a way of practicing my professional skills and a need to do them at the highest level; an honest desire to share what I have been given (skills, knowledge, and dispositions) by Bill and so many others; and a need to try to help those who share these desires and want to make our profession vibrant and productive. I will always miss the person, but I will never be without his contributions to my success.

~Jerry Faier, CMC21, FAWCI

Industry News, July 2015

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

The Tom Scott Collection
More than 100 rare and important clocks, watches, and scientific instruments go on display

By Donna HardyUnique Surveying Compass

Assembled over 30 years by entrepreneur and philanthropist Tom Scott, this collection contains over 100 clocks, watches, and scientific instruments. Forty-seven of the items were made by or have a link to Thomas Tompion (1639–1713) and his successor, George Graham (1673–1751).
    Perhaps the greatest leap in the mechanical evolution of clocks came in the second half of the 17th century, after Christiaan Huygens patented the application of the pendulum to clockworks, leading to greater accuracy. This led to scientific and technological advancements in this field, some of which are in this collection.
    Among the mechanical innovations by Tompion over this period were his grande sonnerie striking clocks, of which there are three in the collection, as well as pull-quarter repeat systems.
    Other highly regarded clockmakers, Joseph Knibb (1640–1711), Daniel Quare (1649–1724), and later Tompion’s successor, George Graham (1673–1751), are represented in this collection with some of their finest clocks.
    Prices range from £2,000 to £4.5 million ($3,054 to $6.8 million).
    A book has been written about the collection, The Golden Age of Horology, Masterpieces from the Tom Scott Collection. Look for a review of this book in an upcoming issue of Horological Times.  
    Exhibition at Carter Marsh & Co., Winchester, UK–

    Part I: July 4–25, 2015

    Part II: November 7–28, 2015

Miniature Ebony and Gilt Brass Mounted Striking Spring Clock

 

Donna Hardy is Managing Editor of Horological Times.

A Message from Our AWCI President, Fred T. White, CMW21, July 2015

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015


The Four P’s of Watchmaking and Clockmaking…

PATIENCE * PRIDE * PASSION * PERSEVERANCE

PFred T. White, CMW21, AWCI Presidentassion is defined as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.” If you don’t talk about your work with excitement and enthusiasm, then you should find something else to do, because you are not passionateabout what you do. You should be enthusiastic when you talk to your customers about the repairs you are going to do for them. To you it may be another job, but to them it is a family treasure or a watch they may have carried through a war or other trying times in their lives.  If you are not passionate about what you are doing, then your business will never grow. To quote Wally Amos, the founder of The Cookie Kahuna, “The fuel that drives many of us is passion. If you are passionate about what you are doing, it is impossible to quit. Another strong supporter is Attitude. A positive attitude will see you through just about anything and everything.”  
    Show me an athlete who is not enthusiastic and excited about whatever game he or she is participating in, and I will show you one who is not a good athlete.  The same rules apply to watchmaking or clockmaking. If you are going to be a horologist, then why not strive to be the best horologist you can be?  Read books, attend classes, attend seminars and conventions, and find a mentor. You may think that what you are doing is the best way of doing that project, but when you talk with another craftsperson, he or she may have a better way of doing it and can do the project much faster than you can.  None of us should be an island: we all need a mentor, coach, or friend who will share information, parts, or moral support with us. I have learned more at a table over a drink or in a hallway exchanging ideas with others than I can put into words.  Develop a network of people you can call on to help you. But remember, it must be a two-way street: when they call on you, you must be willing to reciprocate.  Some of my best friends, those who are here and those who have passed on, have been watchmakers and clockmakers. These friends are passionate about what they do. You could say they love their job, their calling, using their God-given talent to satisfy their clients. Ewell Hartman, CMW, FAWI, had a saying: “Enthusiasm makes the difference.”

 


 I will say more about the Four P’s of Watchmaking and Clockmaking next month when I talk about perseverance. To be continued.