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This rare book sold at auction for $76 in July, 2015

“Know the Escapement”, first published in 1943, is a fascinating read for the avid horologist and provides expert detail on the watch escapement and information on watch repair. For the horologically uninitiated, a watch or clock “escapement” is a mechanism which that transfers energy to the timekeeping component and allows the number of its oscillations to be counted – thus allowing the clock to keep time.

Horology, the Latin word for the study of time, is the art or science of measuring time and includes the study of clocks, watches and other timekeeping devices. Homer Barkus and his wife Sarah, the authors of “Know the Escapement”, founded Barkus Horological Labs in California. Sarah herself was a watchmaker, and after marrying Homer who was at that time a painter who had suffered paralysis after a fall, eventually became a watchmaker as well, going on to author several books and pamphlets on horology during the 1940’s.

The book plates reference many watch escapement models, one of which was originally supplied as a working model along with the book, allowing horologists to study the mechanism and duplicate various trials and errors.

Shown here are two copies of the book, a 1945 second edition which is signed by both Homer and Sarah Barkus on the frontis, and a 1948 fourth edition.