Charles Fasoldt (1819 - 1889)*
Research Notes

Gen Townsend Watch
Lady's Watch

1883 Poster
149 MB
149 Web
Web Horology

Fasoldt was a German immigrant, originally born on February 23, 1819 in or near Dresden, Saxony and migrated to the United States at approximately 30 years of age. Apparently Charles had machine and watch making skills prior to migrating to the US with his family, settling in Rome, NY and setting up shop in the early 1850s, possibly as early as 1851 where he remained for 10 years. At this time he advertised watch, clock, chronometer making, jewelry repair, and manufacturing of small medical and other instruments, as well as general jewelry store articles. Watches made in Rome, New York include some of his rarest.

After moving to Albany in 1861 he continued to perfect his watches for a more upscale clientele with his unique American, well known and distinctive double escape wheel watch which he called "C. Fasoldt, patent chronometer"; in 1870 he began making his regulators and tower clocks. Ten years later he produced microscopes and his little known but famous ruling machine which I believe now is in the Smithsonian Institution. Family members succeeded him in various watch sales, repairs and as instrument makers. Generally unknown is the fact that Fasoldt also made fishing reels.

Best known in this country for his large and distinctive watch movements (slightly resembling Jules Jurgensen, Copenhagen bar movements) of which estimated production exceeds something over 300 movements, including 10 size ladies, 14, 18 and 20 sizes with gilt, nickel, or mixed metal components in Key Wind and Stem Wind, mostly with his patented double wheel escapement, distinctive patented micro regulator, and (if all original) cased in large and handsome 18 carat gold hunting cases (a few are also known in silver) of Albany, N. Y. and other makers. While many of his movements are easily categorized, he also made a select few unusual and unique examples, including but not limited to, button set, pendant set, hidden key set watches, 2 train, off center dials, multi dials, wind indicators, plus a few unique escapements including a pirouette and others which I shall identify and photograph eventually in my book on early American watches.

Fasoldt held 2 basic patents for watches:

  1. Regulator: 4/5/64 (Patent No 42175)
  2. Improved escapement: 3/7/65 (Patent 46652) from his earlier 2/1/59 patent (#22791)

He also was the first in America to damaskeen (damascene) watch bridges and plates, use the duo-in-uno hairspring, and use a safety barrel (to which he applied for a patent but never received one). He also invented a device on the third wheel of his watch movements as a safety.

His regulator and shelf clocks are highly prized and of the finest quality and his extremely rare tower clocks (of which II believe only 4 are known; the one at Newburgh, New York, being the only remaining example in its original tower) are of great importance to historians and collectors. One he made for the 1876 centennial remains at Iowa State University. His clock movements are even more beautiful than his watch movements. Charles Fasoldt passed away at 9:00 PM on May 13, 1889.

Collecting Fasoldt products virtually is a collection within itself and one that requires many years of patience, hunting and study.

* Major Paul Chamberlain in his famous book "It's About Time" incorrectly lists Fasoldt's birth and death dates as 1818 and 1898.

Fasoldt Trade Card

Rome NY watch face

Script Albany NY dial

Mistress Time -young girl winding Fasoldt clock that won the prize in 1876 at the centennial fair.

Off center chronometer dial with signature Albany patent chronometer

Off center dial with signature Patent Chronometer Albany

Keywind watch in Baldwin case belonging to General Townsend. Click for full page on General Townsend.

Typical 3 line Fasoldt dial

2 line dial signature

Fasoldt advertisement

Fasoldt Clock Dial

Fasoldt Clock PendulumFasoldt Clock front view
Fasoldt movement view
Fasoldt clock mechanism