Samuel Ollive of Lewes. Longcase Regulator. Ca 1770.
Samuel Ollive , at Lewes 1770 – 73
Very few clocks survive from his time working in Lewes. This is perhaps not so surprising as he was apprenticed to Henry Baker of Malling, Kent on the 16th November 1763 for 7 years, thereby completing his apprenticeship in 1770. He is recorded as advertising for an apprentice at Tonbridge in 1773 and therefore was in Lewes for just three years.
We know that in that time he completed this interesting regulator to a design by James Ferguson, refined from an idea of Benjamin Franklin’s and published by Ferguson in 1773 . This is interesting because Samuel Ollive was brother-in-law to the revolutionary Thomas Paine who also had an interest in mechanics and knew both Benjamin Franklin and James Ferguson through the Royal Society.
His master Henry Baker was a Lewes apprentice bound in 1726 to Thomas Barrett, one of the earliest Lewes makers.
We do not know for certain why Samuel was sent to West Malling to serve his apprenticeship, but it seems possible that Henry Baker had become acquainted with fellow non-conformist John Ollive, a member of the Society of Friends .
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