Famous Clockmaker JJ Elliot of London

JJ Elliot was one of the supreme clock craftsmen of the late 19th century. He was also one of the greatest innovators, with particular interest in making clocks more interesting to listen to. In 1865 James Jones Elliott of 156 Cheapside in the City of London began his clock making apprenticeship with "Bateman" of Smithfield, London. By 1882, Elliott was established as a "manufacturer of fine quality clocks".

Elliot specialized initially in producing pinions and balance shafts, but he soon progressed to making and patenting a weight driven movement which had chimes on tubes. This original Elliott clock was very successful and resulted in considerable trade with America. Elliot's love of chimes led him to experiment with several different chiming mechanisms. In fact, he actually used real piano strings and hammers in some of his clocks. On the 16th April, 1904, Elliott died and his son, Frank, succeeded him in the clock-making business.

In 1909 the JJ Elliot shop combined with Grimshaw Baxter, and in 1911 their factory moved to Grays Inn Lane, London. In 1917 the factory moved again to larger premises in St Annes Road, Tottenham, London. The partnership with Grimshaw Baxter was dissolved in 1921. Frank Elliott then joined the well known firm of Gillett and Johnson Ltd, in Croydon. Two years later, he took over their clock factory and formed the famous company of F.W. Elliott Ltd. An interesting fact is that Grimshaw Baxter kept the JJ Elliot name after the dissolution and adverts for Grimshaw, Baxter & JJ Elliot clocks were being seen as late as 1958. This is testament indeed to the quality of JJ work.

There is actually a clip on YouTube of one of his mantle clocks striking. The video, although not good quality, shows the complexity of his mechanism. Take a look at the video below.