Dent and Company is perhaps best known for designing the Tower Clock in England’s Houses of Parliament, that has become known over the years as Big Ben (which is actually the name of the Bell in the Clock Tower).
Dent also made bracket clocks and wall clocks, though we see very few of them for sale. Antique Grandfather Clocks by Dent also no doubt exist, though we believe they are quite rare as we can’t remember the last time we saw an original of Dent Grandfather Clocks.
Pocket Watches by Dent are of extraordinarily high quality and were made in some large numbers. The Dent family spanned several generations in clocks and pocket watch making.
The history of Dent & Co. spans three centuries of precision watch and clock making in Great Britain. Established in 1814 by (the very first) Edward J. Dent, the company embraced the Victorian fervor for technological innovation and created precision chronometers to navigate the Royal Navy and guide some of the most intrepid explorers on their voyages. The British Empire was in full expansion and its maritime tradition had produced some remarkable technological breakthroughs from the late 18th century; John Harrison’s triumphant mechanical solution in 1764 to locate a ship’s position at sea won the coveted Board of Longitudes prize money and further consolidated Britain as the horological force in the world. Propelling the impetus of Britain’s primacy, Dent proved a key player in Victorian horological history manufacturing the Standard Clock at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich which was to keep “Greenwich Mean Time” the time to which all others in the Empire were referred, (better known today as G.M.T.) and continued to do so until replaced by an electronic clock in 1946. Dent also made probably the most famous clock in the world – the Great Clock for the Houses of Parliament, familiarly known as Big Ben.
A Chronology of Dent Family Business Premises – all locations are in London, England
1826 E.J.Dent, 43 King Street, Long Acre
1830 Arnold & Dent, 84 Strand
1840 Edward J. Dent, 82 Strand
1843 Edward J. Dent, 82 Strand & 33 Cockspur Street
1847 Edward J. Dent, 82 Strand & 33 Cockspur Street & 34 Royal Exchange
1851 Edward J. Dent, 61 Strand & 33 Cockspur Street & 34 Royal Exchange
1853 Frederick Dent, 61 Strand & 34 Royal Exchange
1853 Richard Edward Dent, 33 Cockspur Street
1856 Frederick Dent, 61 Strand, 34 & 35 Royal Exchange
1857 M. F. Dent, 33 Cockspur Street
1861 Dent & Co, 61 Strand, 34 & 35 Royal Exchange
1861 M. F. Dent, 33 & 34 Cockspur Street
1864 E. Dent & Co, 61 Strand, 34 & 35 Royal Exchange
1886 E. Dent & Co, 61 Strand, & 4 Royal Exchange
1897 E. Dent & Co Ltd, 61 Strand, & 4 Royal Exchange
1904 M. F. Dent, 34 Cockspur Street
1920 E. Dent & Co Ltd (consolidation M. F. Dent), 61 Strand, 4 Royal Exchange & 34 Cockspur Street
1921 E. Dent & Co Ltd, 61 Strand, 4 Royal Exchange & 28 Cockspur Street
1936 E. Dent & Co Ltd, 41 Pall Mall & 4 Royal Exchange
1941 – 1977 E. Dent & Co Ltd, 41 Pall Mall
Dent & Co. also acquired a range of titles and appointments. They include:
Makers to and holders of Royal Warrants from Her Majesty Queen Victoria and H.R.H. Albert, Prince of Wales, His Majesty King Edward VI, His Majesty King George V, Her Majesty Queen Mary, His Majesty Tsar Alexander III, His Majesty Tsar Nicolas II Emperors of Russia and His Majesty Emperor Mejii of Japan. Makers to the Courts and Governments of France, Austria, Italy, Russia, Germany, Spain, the United States, Japan and no doubt many others.