Watchmaker's benches

Hi gang,

In a fit of karmic symmetry, I scored last week: found a hundred year
old solid oak watchmaker’s bench. With a rolltop even. It’s in
desperate need of refinishing, but that’s not hard, just tedious.
This leads me to a couple of questions.

Anybody know when they stopped fitting watchmaker’s benches with
treadles to run the lathes? (or when they switched over to electric
motors?) (This one lacks the treadle, but has clear internal marks
from where it was.) Second, this one, (and many others that I’ve
googled) has a blank hole on the front, just to the right of the
main center drawers. It looks like it should be for another tall,
thin drawer, except it clearly isn’t. It has a little half-round bit
of moulding on the front bottom lip, and the back of the hole has a
wooden panel blocking it off at about 4" deep. Some later ones do
have a drawer there, but many don’t. Any clue what that was for?

For pictures, check out my Orchid Blog.

I don’t suppose I really want to ask this, but I will anyway: anybody
have a spare treadle? I’ve already got a Boley that I use for wax.
I’m thinking to set this bench up for wax work & inspection. (No, I’m
not giving up the Frankenbench, not even for a beauty like this.)


What a fab find Brian! That’s beautiful.


I don’t have a spare treadle for you, but I’d look into finding an
old sewing machine. I’d think with a few spare parts, a custom length
belt, and several hours of love, you’d be able to jury rig up your
own without too much trouble.

Treadle sewing machines sometimes come pretty cheap at auctions and
flea markets.


Wow, I am so jealous !!! But you’ll take care of it & fix it up
nicely. We knew a great older wtachmaker- Mr.Thunig who could tell
you the answers burt unfortunately he relocated to be with St.
Peter…Congrats on your find-it was meant to be !

From Drippy & Wet SF…
Jo-Ann maggiora Donivan