NAWCC Chapter 50 Puget Sound
Joseph Mayer Research Project

Paul Middents, paulmiddents@nawcc50.org  Chap. 50 and 135 member, has been researching the life and work of Joseph Mayer, pioneering Seattle manufacturing jeweler and street clock maker.  Members of Chapter 50 and 135 have assisted Paul in identifying clocks associated with Joseph Mayer, taking pictures and gathering information. 51 surviving street clocks have been documented, some located as far away as New York State and Puerto Rico. 

Chapter 50 members, Paul Bellamy, George Rolsted and Jim Hinman have shared valuable information on several clocks.  Leon Jaussaud has restored and serviced two Mayer street clocks in Bremerton and with Bellamy, serviced two Mayer clocks in Anacortes.  Bellamy and Jaussaud have been of great help in examining two Mayer master clocks in Seattle.  Larry Harnden has provided valuable insight into the Seattle watch and clock trade. John Runciman has done some remarkable web based detective work that traced a Mayer clock all the way to Puerto Rico.

Paul has been working closely with Rob Ketcherside, Seattle architectural historian and public clock enthusiast. Rob has written a book, to be released late this year, called Lost Seattle which will include material on Joseph Mayer.  Charles Roeser, street and tower clock restoration professional, is also working on this project.  Don Bugh, an NAWCC member living in Texas, is a public clock enthusiast. He has amassed a significant collection of pictures and related material. His generous support, web research and sharing of information has been of great value to the project. Steve Schmidt, a Brown Street Clock Co. enthusiast, has just moved to Snohomish and has been very helpful in the project.

Middents’ primary goal for this research project is a book documenting the lives and businesses of Joseph, Albert and Markus Mayer.  The three immigrated to Seattle as teenagers in the late 1800’s and in 1897 formed Joseph Mayer and Brothers manufacturing jewelers.  They became the largest manufacturing jewelers on the West Coast with as many as 150 people working in their factory at the lower end of Marion Street.

Albert and Markus split off from Joseph in 1920, forming Mayer Brothers, concentrating on the jewelry wholesale and horological material end of the business. Joseph continued, first as Joseph Mayer Inc. and then as Joseph Mayer Co., concentrating on jewelry and silverware manufacturing and clock making. Joseph died in 1937 and his business faded away. Mayer Brothers became a very successful wholesaler and jobber with a branch in Portland for some years. The firm closed its doors for the last time in 1991, a victim of poor management and changing times.

Any information relating to the Joseph Mayer or the Mayer Brothers would be of value and acknowledged in any resulting publication.

Paul Middents
paulmiddents@nawcc50.org