The British Museum's collections, £16.99
Explore / Articles
Thomas Tompion (1639-1713)
Thomas Tompion was one of the most successful and celebrated clock and watch makers in Europe in his lifetime, with customers such as King William III of England and Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany. The ownership of a Tompion clock or watch at the end of the seventeenth century was limited to monarchs, princes, the aristocracy and wealthy merchants.
Tompion supplied time measuring machines that were of international importance in the advancement of science and technology (for example the regulators made for the new Greenwich Royal Observatory in 1676). He also supplied for the ever-increasing market for clocks to be used in a domestic setting. In addition to the standard weight-driven longcase clocks and spring-driven table or bracket clocks, Tompion was also commissioned to make specific pieces, with much more complex mechanisms, for very high prices.
Thomas Tompion was born at Northill, Bedfordshire in 1639. He was a Free Brother in the Clockmaker's Company in London in 1671, an Assistant in 1691, a Warden from 1700 and Master in 1703-4. He died in 1713 and is buried in Westminster Abbey.