Book Reviews


Master Keys for Making Profits on Lapidary, by Gerald L. Wykoff. 1993. 198 pages. 63 black/white illustrations. $39.95. (JCK Data Center JR-006) To order call (717) 741-2469.

This book focuses on how to profit from your lapidary talents. Though written for hobbyists and professional lapidaries, the business concepts are for beginners.

Profits in Lapidary is not for someone interested in getting in-depth information on niche marketing. It gives ideas and suggestions on breaking into every market, from specialty and gift shops to flea markets, fund-raisers and the jewelry trade.

The book contains a lot of valuable information, but it’s not organized logically. While I read the book, I highlighted several sections so I could find them more easily later.

Wykoff stresses setting up a selling and marketing plan, doing a thorough analysis of cost and the importance of selling techniques. I enjoyed the last section of the book the most because of its interviews with successful lapidary entrepreneurs. Their advice and personal experience provide fertile ground for ideas.

Written in a conversational tone, this book is easy and enjoyable to read. The illustrations are sometimes distracting because they aren’t relevant, and I came across several typographical errors. But if you overlook these shortcomings, you’re guaranteed to come up with several new and innovative ideas on how to profit from your lapidary work – Roma Strong Zanders, Timio 24K Custom Designs, Tempe, Ariz.; JCK Book Judge.


Early English Clocks, by Percy C. Dowson, D.B. Drover and D.W. Parkes. 1995. 582 pages. 800 black/white, 36 color illustrations. $99.50. (JCK Data Center JJ-061) To order call (800) 252-5231.

This large book about English clocks from the beginning into the 18th century is a joint project by three of England’s most knowledgeable authorities. They’ve combined their experience to produce an encyclopedic account of clocks produced in England, the most prolific clockmaking country in that period.

Parkes, a fourth-generation clockmaker and a legend in his own time, is recognized as the leading restorer of old English clocks. Dawson is a respected specialist of clock cases who was chosen in 1962 to head the domestic clock section of the British Clockmakers Heritage Exhibition in the Science Museum. Drover is a specialist in the era of prependulum clocks of Great Britain, France and Flanders. All three are founder-members of the British Antiquarian Horological Society.

Readers learn the subtleties of age, design, repair, alteration and concealment through the experienced eyes of these masters.

Descriptions of movements and their construction are revealed in the book, many for the first time. Similarly, the authors describe the construction methods, wood choice, moldings and finish of clock cases, which often have tell-tale clues overlooked by collectors, dealers and restorers.

Eleven main chapters cover different periods and types of clockmaking. Table clocks and early musical clocks of the 16th century, for example, are clearly revealed in first-class black-and-white and full color where the subject warrants. Photos of spring-driven English clocks indicate that some of the earliest did not employ the fusee. Examples – all of museum quality and condition – will surprise the uninitiated with the artisanship and skill of these early clockmakers, cabinetmakers, dialmakers, engravers, chasers and founders.

Many lantern clocks are pictured, dated and described, some of which were later converted to pendulum operation. The advent of the pendulum by Huygens and his Dutch clockmaker, Samuel Coster, brought these to England. Many examples are shown in detail. The lantern escapements, long pendulums and year-going clocks were evidence of the evolutionary trend toward precision timepieces.

Clocks of famous makers are discussed, together with the distinctive features of each. Striking, repeating systems, dials, hands and ornaments of these artisans show up well in the color photographs.

Any clockmaker, collector or restorer who is trying to service such clocks should study this book. It’s also recommended as a virtual catalog of the finest English clocks produced in the early years of English supremacy. – Henry B. Fried. JCK Horological Editor, JCK Book Editor.