Edward Duffield: Philadelphia Clockmaker, Citizen, Gentleman, 1730-1803


American Antiquarian Society
185 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA 01609
United States

Horologist and American Antiquarian Society member Bob Frishman takes us on a journey through the fascinating life of clockmaker, wealthy property owner, and civic and Anglican leader Edward Duffield (1730-1803).  Duffield made, repaired, and sold elegant floor-standing clocks, surveying instruments, and sundials that today are in museums and private collections.  He was a life-long friend of Benjamin Franklin, serving as an executor to the great man’s will, and the two men’s families were closely connected and often exchanged extensive visits. Thomas Jefferson’s first draft of the Declaration of Independence was discussed by the Committee of Five at Duffield’s Benfield estate where Franklin was staying in June of 1776.

Frishman's talk is based on his comprehensive biography, Edward Duffield: Philadelphia Clockmaker, Citizen, Gentleman, 1730-1803, to be published by the American Philosophical Society in August 2024.  His book addresses all aspects of the clockmaker’s life―from personal details, such as purchases from his upscale tailor, to the practice of clockmaking in colonial America. In an informative historical overview rather than a technical clockmaking treatise, Frishman will show many images selected from his book.  During a Q&A session, Bob will answer questions about Duffield, as well as about horology, the science of timekeeping.

This hybrid program will be held in person at Antiquarian Hall and livestreamed to a virtual audience on YouTube. Advance registration is required for both. Doors open at 6:30pm. 


Bob Frishman was introduced to horology on Thanksgiving Day, 1980, when he was invited into the overflowing basement of a collector and dealer of antique clocks, watches, tools, and machinery. Since then, he has repaired eight thousand mechanical clocks, restored and sold two thousand antique clocks and watches, published more than one hundred articles and reviews, delivered more than one hundred lectures and symposia, and curated exhibitions at the Horological Society of New York, the museum of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC), and the Willard House & Clock Museum. 

Frishman is a Silver Star Fellow of NAWCC and a Liveryman of London’s Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. He is a Proprietor of the Boston Athenaeum, holder of Share Number 8 of the Library Company of Philadelphia, an active member of the Grolier Club and of the Ross Society of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He was elected to AAS membership in October 2023.  He operates Bell-Time Clocks in Andover, Massachusetts, where he lives with his wife, author Jeanne Schinto, who is also an AAS member (elected October 2023).