Roy C Harris FBHI
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UK Specialist in the Service and Restoration of Marine Chronometers

In this archive are some of the Marine Chronometers which have been sold and serviced by Roy C Harris F.B.H.I.



James Poole & Co.

London

Two-Day Marine Chronometer No. 5818 c.1880

A good two-day chronometer of historical interest. The three-tiered rosewood box having swing brass handles with the gimballed bowl, signed silvered dial with roman numerals and seconds subsidiary.

Chain fusee movement with Harrison's maintaining power, Earnshaw type footed detent with freesprung bi -metallic balance and diamond end stone. Poole's Auxiliary Compensation.

James Poole was known as a fine chronometer and watchmaker he took over the business of his brother John under the name James Poole and Co. later James Poole and Son.

History of this chronometer is very interesting the observatory records show that it was on trial for purchase in 1886 but not purchased until 1888 when it was on trial again with a much improved performance being given a grade 1 for hydrographic survey. The instrument then went with HMS Gannet to spend the next three years surveying the Mediterranean.

My view of this instrument:

A very good and original example of a top of the range chronometer having brass bound rosewood box and Poole's auxiliary compensation. Observatory/Naval chronometers are always desirable but to find one that the first ship it was commissioned on has been preserved is very unique.

SERVICE ON SHIPS

HMS GANNET 1888-1892

HMS WARSPITE 1899-1902

HMS ZINNIA 1915-1919



FRODSHAM SUCCESSORS

TO

PARKINSON AND FRODSHAM

CASTLE STREET LIVERPOOL

Originally set up by Parkinson and Frodsham the Liverpool Frodshams' became manufacturers and suppliers of marine chronometers to the Masters' of the Port of Liverpool and the Admiralty.

The movement of this instrument resembles those that were made by Parkinson and Frodsham. Spring detent escapement, palladium balance spring and having subsidiary seconds and up/down dials, three tier mahogany box with ivory/bone name plaque.

c.1870



Marine Chronometer No. 705 c.1850


A rare and exquisite chronometer of small size. The very original and well preserved three-tiered rosewood box having swing brass handles with the gimballed bowl, signed silvered dial with roman numerals and seconds subsidiary. Chain fusee movement with Harrison's maintaining power, Earnshaw type footed detent with free sprung bi -metallic balance and diamond endstone.


My view of this instrument:


A very good and original example of a top of the range chronometer having brass bound rosewood box. This instrument is most desirable due to its size and original condition. Dial 55mm. box 110 x 110 x 125. I have never seen a chronometer of this size in such a fine and original box, it truly is a delight.



Parkinson & Frodsham


Change Alley, London.


Two-Day Marine Chronometer No. 2327 c.1840

A good small sized Parkinson & Frodsham Chronometer no. 2327. The three-tiered mahogany box with signed bone plague on the middle of the lid bearing makers name of Parkinson's & Frodsham, London.

The box having swing brass handles with the gimballed bowl being 3.25 inch signed silvered dial with roman numerals and seconds subsidiary, the signed movement, housed in a secondary canister with sprung feet. Chain fusee movement with Harrison's maintaining power, Earnshaw type footed detent with free sprung bi -metallic balance and diamond end stone.

The Parkinson & Frodham Partnership.

Of all the Frodsham firms of chronometer makers two were outstanding, the firm of Parkinson & Frodsham and the other being Charles Frodsham.

The Partnership of Parkinson & Frodsham: - William Parkinson.

He would of appeared to have come from a clock making family living in Lancaster, his father being also William. The younger William may have worked for a time in Prescott, an area of outstanding skills in the production of watch and chronometer parts, tooling and finishing's before he went to London. He was made free of the Clockmakers Company in 1802 and died around 1842.

William James Frodsham. Born on the 25th July 1779 and was the eldest son of William Frosham, (the younger) his grandfather William Frodsham (The elder) had already, during his lifetime given William James "his full share of the property" so it may have been assumed that he was well provided for. He married Hannah Lambert of Yorkshire in 1799 when she was 23 years. William and Hannah had ten children of which six became watchmakers.

In 1801 at the age of 23 years he became the partner of William Parkinson, and the renowned firm of Parkinson & Frodsham was founded at 4 Change Alley. They decided to specialize in chronometers and their choice of Change Alley was most opportune since it was an area frequently visited by master mariners, merchants and shippers who came to the local coffee houses to conduct their business. Parkinson & Frodsham soon developed an extensive export trade, chiefly in Northern Europe, in addition to supplying the Admiralty and a number of shipping companies.

October 11th 1802 the Clockmakers Company admitted William James as a Freeman and in later years he was closely connected with the Company, being elected to the Court of Assistants on 12th January 1824. He became a Warden from 1833 to 1835, and then on September 29th 1836 he was elected Master of the Company, being re-elected Master September 29th 1837. He also became a fellow of the Royal Society.

Ref: 'The Frodshams, The story of a Family of Chronometer Makers' by Vaudrey Mercer



DENT, 82 Strand, London No. 2632 Circa 1857

A good early two day chronometer, housed in its three tiered mahogany box with signed and numbered cartouche, brass swing handles with gimballed, bowl, silvered dial with roman numerals, subsidiary seconds and state of wind dial. Earnshaw type escapement with brass footing and dovetailed detent, the bi-metallic balance with circular weights, helical hairspring and diamond end stone.

This chronometer saw service on the following ships: - As Recorded in Edward John Dent and his Successors by Vaudrey Mercer. Also Royal Observatory records.







Dent information: - Edward John Dent was a talented horologist who at the age of 17 years transferred his apprenticeship from the trade of Tallow Chandler to watchmaking under the charge of Edward Gaudin in 1807. By 1814 he was becoming well known as a watch and clockmaker receiving commissions from the Admiralty for a 'Standard Astronomical Clock' and pocket chronometers for the Colonial Office Africa Expedition. In 1820 Dent went into partnership with the renowned watch and chronometer maker John Roger Arnold which continued until 1840 when he left and set up business alone as E.J.Dent 82 Strand, London. Primarily making marine chronometers, watches and precision clocks. In 1852 Edward Dent successfully tendered to make the Great Clock to be house in St. Stephens Tower at the New Palace of Westminster, the clock was completed in 1859, apparently at a financial loss to the firm. However it ensured that the Dent name became a household name synonymous with fine clockmaking. After his death the firm continued by his successors and was still trading well into the latter half of the 20th Century.


Reference - Edward Dent and his Successors by Vaudrey Mercer



A good two-day marine chronometer by the eminent maker

JOHN ROGER ARNOLD

No.410 Circa 1815

A rare Regency Royal Observatory one-day marine chronometer by John Roger Arnold. The movement with going barrel and pivoted detent. The barrel has Breguet style stop work and to my way of thinking the pivoted detent is also reminiscent of LéRoy and Breguet. Arnold was a close friend of Breguet and each of their son's spent time on exchange visits being tutored by the masters. The dial is later signed 'New Balance and Balance Spring by E.J.Dent London. The chronometer was sold on/exchanged by the Royal Observatory to Dent after it left service, it has two rating certificates dated 1861 and 1869, these are made out to a Captain Gay who had obviously become the owner of No. 410.

Provenance:

The finely designed and constructed pivoted balance with gold counter-balancing weight is a possibly exclusive feature of this chronometer.

No 410 was issued to the following Royal Navy ships:


1818: H.M. Surveying Ship Shamrock, Captain Martin White RN, surveying the English Channel, the Irish Sea and the Bristol Channel.


1822: HM Surveying Ship Kangaroo, surveying brig, Master Anthony De Mayne, RN, surveying the West Indies particularly the Gulf of Florida, Cay Sal, New Providence, Nassau and Jamaica. No.410 was used in determining the latitude and longitude of these places. During this period she was surveying, Kangaroo was stuck by lightning and two of the chronometers onboard her ceased to function - this necessitated their being replaced. Arnold No.335 and No.410 were sent out to Port Royal and De Mayne had to break off his surveying and go to Port Royal to collect them.

1832: H.M.S. Reindeer, Brig, Captain William Walpole RN, on the Falmouth Station, No.410 was issued to him September 2nd 1832.


1833: HMS. Firefly, Schooner, Lieutenant Commander John J McDonnell RN, on the North America and West Indies Station, No.410 was issued to him March 2nd 1833.


1835: H.M.S. Curlew, 'Cherokee' Class Brig-sloop, Lieutenant Commander The Honourable Joseph Denman RN, operating off the Coast of Africa, No.410 was issue to him in 1834.


1836: No.410 was transferred to the charge of Lieutenant Edmund Norcott RN and continued to be used on the Coast of Africa.



Finer & Nowland Holborn London (1805-1856)

An Early one day marine chronometer c.1825 in a good mahogany box by Finer & Nowland Holborn London the number on the dial is 285 this dates the chronometer around c.1825. The numbers can be found in Chronometer makers of the World by Tony Mercer. Finer & Nowland are recorded as working at the above address from 1805-1856. Horatio Finer was established in 1794 at 48 High Holborn. Inside the lid there is an old General Directions of use for a chronometer, this may have been a service paper.

c.1825



PARKINSON & FRODSHAM Change Alley London (founded 1801)

The firm of Parkinson and Frodsham produced some of the finest chronometers many of which went on some epic and historic journeys. William Parkinson of which little is known is believed to have gone to London from Prescott. This is a place where he would have learnt the skills of a watch/chronometer maker. William James Frodsham came from the well known family of horologists and at the age of 23 years he went into partnership with Parkinson. Specialising in chronometers both pocket and marine. They built a successful business in Change Alley and Frodsham had ten children of whom six became watchmakers.

Below are two early chronometers (No. 471 & 793) c.1820-25 of small size by these eminent makers. Housed in the original three tier mahogany boxes measuring just 6"x6"x6". The movements have a dust cover as did many of their output, this is also a good safety feature when removing the movement from the bowl.



MURRAY & STRACHAN ROYAL EXCHANGE LONDON (1819-1859)

Chronometer makers Strachan joined partnership with James Murray and traded under the names of Murray & Strachan at the Royal Exchange London 1819-1859. They are recorded as watch and chronometer makers of great repute. Strachan had been firstly working from 1816-1859 30 Cornhill, EC. having a second workshop from 1819-1859 in the Royal Exchange, EC. They are recorded as probably being also in partnership with James Mc Cabe 97-99 Cornhill 1825-26, they also sold watches to the Admiralty. Of the three chronometers and watches which were taken by Weddell to the South Pole, one was a two-day chronometer by Murray & Strachan for which with the other two chronometers taken, performed sufficiently well to recommend the makers for their very improved mechanism to the art.

This fine chronometer is numbered 567 on the 9 cm. engraved silvered dial signed Murray & Strachan Royal Exchange London. The base of the bowl is also stamped M&S 567, as is much of the movement. With gold hands and subsidiary seconds, similarly signed fusee and chain movement with original detent escapement, split bimetallic balance with helical spring, maintaining power, brass bowl case and gimbal fitted to a three tier brass bound mahogany box having ivory plaque numbered 567.

c.1830.



Arnold and Dent 84 Strand London (1830-1840)


A mahogany boxed eight-day marine chronometer by Arnold and Dent, London No. 1069 4.5 inch dial with subsidiary up and down and seconds dials. Reverse fusee to main frame with Earnshaw type spring detent escapement carried in sub-frame assembly.


c. 1840



MOLYNEAUX & SONS 44 DEVONSHIRE STREET LONDON


Robert Molyneaux was a pupil of Thomas Earnshaw who was the inventor of the modern chronometer spring detent escapement and the fused metal compensation balance. Thomas Earnshaw submitted seven timepieces to the Board of Longitude between 1791 and 1798 and by 1805 received a total of £3,000 of the £10,000 offered of which Arnold and Thomas Mudge each received the same amount. Robert Molyneux seems to have started his business at 44 Devonshire Square EC; He is recorded also working at Kings St. Holborn, Southampton Row, and Leicester Sq. He was later in partnership with Charles John Cope making chronometers, also a pupil of Thomas Earnshaw. In the partnership chronometer thermometer No.3 was produced which is a chronometer movement with compensation reversed so that the effects of temperature changes are magnified, change of rate thus gives a measure of change of temperature. This was used in chronometer trials at the Royal Observatory.


A Good brass-mounted mahogany two-day marine chronometer circa 1835. The three-tier box with bone plaque to the front inscribed Respring & Adjusted by JOHN POOLE/ 57 Fenchurch Street/ London. With an interior paper repair label for BRYANT BIGGS. Having brass bowl and gimbal, the 10cm diameter engraved and silvered Roman dial with 56-hour up/down ring signed Molyneux & Sons/44 Devonshire Street London: no.1381, with subsidiary seconds ring, gold hands with blued steel subsidiaries, chain fusee with Earnshaw type escapement, cut bimetallic balance with wedge shaped heat compensation weights, blued steel helical spring, light spot-finished plates. 6 1/8 in square box.


c. 1835



DENT MAKER TO THE KING


61 STRAND & 4 ROYAL EXCHANGE LONDON


A Good Marine Chronometer SIGNED DENT LONDON MAKER TO THE KING No. 55518 The Dent Family tree and reference to this famous firm of chronometer makers is well documented in Edward Dent and his Successors by Vaudrey Mercer. Printed by the Antiquarian Horolgical Society in 1977, over 800 pages. THE ROYAL WARRANT was granted June 16th 1884. In 1884 the triangle plaque was brought in as the official trademark of Dent.

This example: - The silvered dial signed Dent. Maker to the King, 61 Stand & 4 Royal Exchange, London and Numbered 55518, which indicates the chronometer, was made around 1907. The movement with subsidiary seconds, and up/down dials, fusee movement with maintaining power, Earnshaw's spring detent escapement with compensation balance and helical spring, spotted plates, the brass bowl gimbaled in the three tier original mahogany deck box with brass side handles and the triangle Dent trade plaque numbered 55518. In all a very pleasing and original chronometer with original detent.

c.1907



Dent No. 1738.

A historically interesting two day marine chronometer by Dent No. 1738. The plain mahogany box is in very good original condition. As can be seen from the plaque the chronometer was presented to Capt. Buckle (retired full Admiral) by Prince Adalbert of Prussia. Extensive documentation on Capt. Buckle came with the chronometer, some relating to the actual gift.

c. 1843



JOHN POOLE FENCHURCH STREET LONDON 1818-1867


A good two-day marine chronometer by John Poole with his patent auxiliary compensation. The 3-tier original rosewood box with brass stringing, corner mounts and shield, having an engraved ivory plaque signed for John Poole, Fenchurch Street, London and numbered 3891, repeated on the silvered dial with Maker for Admiralty, the bowl is also numbered 3891. John Poole established himself as a maker in 1840 and became one of the great makers of the 19th century. His ideas and movements being used by many other makers. The number of this chronometer 3891 dates it 1867 the year he won a gold medal at the Paris Exhibition and the year in which he died taking his own life.


c.1867



Barraud

A good two-day marine chronometer by the eminent makers Barraud. The box is of fine Cuban mahogany with brass binding and stringing. A shield on the box is engraved; Barque Aspazia Capt. Andrea Chiozza.We found some history of the barque Aspazia and Capt. Andrea Chiozza. The dial of the chronometer is particularly attractive with its well-executed engraving, gold hands and cast gilt crests, the latter becoming a trademark of this fine maker.

c. 1860



THOMAS MERCER MARINE CHRONOMETERS


THOMAS MERCER 1854-1984 The company Thomas Mercer Ltd made chronometers, clocks, instruments and measuring equipment in London and St.Albans from 1858 until 1984 when dial gauges were being replaced by electronic measuring devices and chronometers by GPS thus ending 126 years of chronometer manufacturing by Thomas Mercer and his successors who between them had made over 30,000 of all types.


Thomas Mercer began as a watchmaker in Liverpool, the centre of the horological industry, where he began to manufacture marine chronometer. Having success in the Kew Chronometer trials he expanded his business to St.Albans where the factory soon began to dominate chronometer manufacture producing them for many other makers worldwide. Many other marine and survey chronometers, regulator clocks and precision timekeepers where produced especially chronometer-controlled master clock systems for both cargo and ocean liners. In 1960 Mercer Chronometer collaborated with LeRoy and ATO of Paris on their electrically maintained chronometer balance.


Mercer Chronometers written by Tony Mercer (grandson of Thomas Mercer the founder) records the History, Maintenance & Repair undertaken by this firm. This book has an appendix of serial numbers of Mercer chronometers, twelve months would be taken for production and testing, after which the sale would be immediate, the instrument having been made to order.



Thomas Earnshaw INVT. ET FECIT No.1605

A good two day marine chronometer by Thomas Earnshaw Jnr. He succeeded his father the inventor of the spring detent and fused bi-metallic balance, a combination that became the standard for all mechanical chronometers until their production ceased. In this example of his work can be found the usual features of bi-metallic cut balance with wedge shaped compensation weights, blued steel helical balance spring, diamond end stone and jewels for locking and impulse. It has a well executed dial with fine hands for setting.

c. 1850



THOMAS MERCER MARINE CHRONOMETER No. 16219


A good two-day marine chronometer by Thomas Mercer no. 16219, (Frank Anthony Mercer) the silvered dial with up/down indicator and subsidiary seconds housed in a three-tier mahogany box with plaque signed for Frank Anthony Mercer.


MERCER 1854-1984 The company Thomas Mercer Ltd made chronometers, clocks, instruments and measuring equipment in London and St.Albans from 1858 until 1984 when dial gauges were being replaced by electronic measuring devices and chronometers by GPS thus ending 126 years of chronometer manufacturing by Thomas Mercer and his successors who between them had made over 30,000 of all types. Thomas Mercer began as a watchmaker in Liverpool, the centre of the horological industry, where he began to manufacture marine chronometer. Having success in the Kew Chronometer trials he expanded his business to St.Albans where the factory soon began to dominate chronometer manufacture producing them for many other makers worldwide. Many other marine and survey chronometers, regulator clocks and precision timekeepers where produced especially chronometer-controlled master clock systems for both cargo and ocean liners.


c.1943



BARRAUD 2983

A good two-day marine chronometer by the eminent maker Barraud. The box is of fine Cuban mahogany with inset plaque for Barraud 2983, also is the rare find of a mahogany guard/deck box also signed for Barraud.

The dial of the chronometer is particularly attractive with its well-executed engraving signed Barraud 41 Cornhill London No. 2983 having subsidiary dials for up and down and seconds. Note that these dials are in reversed to that which is the normal layout position for a chronometer, Barraud liked to be different.

c.1860



PARKINSON & FRODSHAM

Change Alley London (founded 1801)

The firm of Parkinson and Frodsham produced some of the finest chronometers many of which went on some epic and historic journeys. William Parkinson of which little is known is believed to have gone to London from Prescott. This is a place where he would have learnt the skills of a watch/chronometer maker. William James Frodsham came from the well known family of horologists and at the age of 23 years he went into partnership with Parkinson. Specialising in chronometers both pocket and marine. They built a successful business in Change Alley and Frodsham had ten children of whom six became watchmakers.

Below No. 2562 one of the typical fine small chronometers produced by these eminent makers. Housed in the original three tier mahogany box measuring just 6"x6"x6". The movement has a dust cover as did many of their output, this is also a good safety feature when removing the movement from the bowl.

c.1835



DENT 2 Day No. 2201

A two-day marine chronometer circa 1840. The original three-tier mahogany box with original hinges Having brass bowl and gimbal, the bowl and movement key numbered 2201. The 10cm. dial with up and down indication, subsidiary seconds ring, with blued steel hands and subsidiaries. Chain fusee movement with Earnshaw type escapement, cut bimetallic balance with wedge shaped heat compensation weights, blued steel helical spring, 6 1/8 in square box.

c.1840



THOMAS MERCER MARINE CHRONOMETER No. 16606


A good two-day marine chronometer by Thomas Mercer no. 16606, the silvered dial with up/down indicator and subsidiary seconds housed in a three-tier mahogany box with plaque signed for Mercer No. 16606 with ordinance arrow.


Records show the chronometer was in service on the following ships:


HMS SUDRA


HMS READY


HMS COQUETTE


RFA ORANGE LEAF


MERCER 1854-1984 The company Thomas Mercer Ltd made chronometers, clocks, instruments and measuring equipment in London and St.Albans from 1858 until 1984 when dial gauges were being replaced by electronic measuring devices and chronometers by GPS thus ending 126 years of chronometer manufacturing by Thomas Mercer and his successors who between them had made over 30,000 of all types. Thomas Mercer began as a watchmaker in Liverpool, the centre of the horological industry, where he began to manufacture marine chronometer. Having success in the Kew Chronometer trials he expanded his business to St.Albans where the factory soon began to dominate chronometer manufacture producing them for many other makers worldwide. Many other marine and survey chronometers, regulator clocks and precision timekeepers where produced especially chronometer-controlled master clock systems for both cargo and ocean liners.


In 1960 Mercer Chronometer collaborated with LeRoy and ATO of Paris on their electrically maintained chronometer balance. Mercer Chronometers written by Tony Mercer (grandson of Thomas Mercer the founder) records the History, Maintenance & Repair undertaken by this firm. This book has an appendix of serial numbers of Mercer chronometers, twelve months would be taken for production and testing, after which the sale would be immediate, the instrument having been made to order.


c.1943



Victor Kullberg No. 9084 with Royal Observatory Record.

A good two-day marine chronometer with Kullberg improved balance, palladium balance spring, reverse fusee and foot detent finished to a very high standard.

This chronometer comes with documentation that appears to be from someone who served on HMS Warspite. There are letters, photographs and a limited edition print relating to HMS Warspite.

The Observatory records show service on the following warships:


HMS Bicester - 1917

HMS Warspite - 1929

HMS Arethusa - 1935




The firm of Kullberg were world famous as the producers of high-grade marine chronometers and watches. To quote Britten 'One of the most most brilliant and successful horologists of the 19th century'.

c.1916



DENT, 82 Strand, London No 1600. Circa 1840


A good early two day chronometer with Airy's compensation, housed in its three tiered mahogany box with signed and numbered enamel cartouche, brass swing handles with gimballed, signed and numbered bowl, silvered dial with roman numerals, subsidiary seconds and state of wind dial. In 1920 the ordnance mark was milled out upon decommissioning. Earnshaw type escapement with brass footing and dovetailed detent, the bi-metallic balance with circular weights and Airy's bar, palladium helical hairspring and diamond endstone.


The admiralty records indicate that Airy's bar was fitted by Dent & Co between February and July 1878. Airy's bar, devised by Sir George Airy (Astronomer Royal from 1835 to1881) is fitted, friction-tight, to the balance staff and at each end has a fine spring, which presses a smaller weight to the balance rim. The bar overcomes the difficulty in fine adjustment of the main cylindrical weights, by adjusting the position of the bar the smaller weight (acting as an extension of the main weight) facilitates a change in compensation equivalent to a minute change in position of the main weights. In 1876 the Admiralty decreed that all chronometers offered for its 1877 trial had to have Airy's bar fitted. Primarily due to the fact that it was incompatible with some balance types the compulsory fitting for trial was dropped shortly after.


This chronometer took part in the 1842 Royal Observatory Trials and performed admirably. (Copies of these have been obtained from the Observatory and are with this chronometer)


This chronometer saw service on the following ships: - As Recorded in Edward John Dent and his Successors by Vaudrey Mercer. (And on a copy obtained also from the Royal Observatory)


No. 1600. Dent Maine Chronometer - Purchased 18th Aug. 1842.







Dent information: - Edward John Dent was a talented horologist who at the age of 17 years transferred his apprenticeship from the trade of Tallow Chandler to watchmaking under the charge of Edward Gaudin in 1807. By 1814 he was becoming well known as a watch and clockmaker receiving commissions from the Admiralty for a 'Standard Astronomical Clock' and pocket chronometers for the Colonial Office Africa Expedition. In 1820 Dent went into partnership with the renowned watch and chronometer maker John Roger Arnold which continued until 1840 when he left and set up business alone as E.J.Dent 82 Strand, London. Primarily making marine chronometers, watches and precision clocks. In 1852 Edward Dent successfully tendered to make the Great Clock to be house in St. Stephens Tower at the New Palace of Westminster, the clock was completed in 1859, apparently at a financial loss to the firm. However it ensured that the Dent name became a household name synonymous with fine clockmaking. After his death the firm continued by his successors and was still trading well into the latter half of the 20th Century.

Possible images of the above ships are now being soured

Reference - Edward Dent and his Successors by Vaudrey Mercer


THOMAS ROBERTS

STRAND STREET LIVERPOOL No. 24/966


An excellent two-day chronometer by Thomas Roberts of Liverpool. A good maker of chronometers and deck watches to the Admiralty. Strand Street 1860-1873.
This chronometer is housed in a very original three tier mahogany box with brass corners and banding

The movement as to be expected is of the finest quality with a well executed dial and blued steel hands.

Having temperature compensated balance helical balance spring and diamond end stone.


c.1865



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