Robert Pennington (1752 – c1813)
Robert Pennington was born in Kendal in 1752. He was working in London by 1777, where he collaborated with Thomas Reid in the design of the sector, published in 1780. Soon after he appears to have developed the vernier gauge, or caliper, for watchmaking.
By 1790 Pennington had gone to live near Newington Butts. His fortuitous presence close to Thomas Mudge Jr. accounts for his involvement in the ill-fated Mudge chronometer project in 1793 (in partnership with William Howells). This was to make 20 copies of Thomas Mudge Senior’s marine timekeeper.
Up to 1797, when the Mudge project ended, Pennington produced verge pocket watches, but afterwards he switched most of his attention to pocket chronometers.
The family moved to Camberwell in 1804. Pennington and his wife Mary had three sons, Robert, William James and John Frederick.
After Robert’s death in 1813 the firm was ably continued by his son Robert (1780–1854) and his grandson John Pennington (1816–1882).
Vaudrey Mercer. Aniquarian Horology Journal, Vol 12, p514.
A.D. Stewart. Aniquarian Horology Journal, Vol 34, p367.