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Towns & Industry (1860-1880)

Frederick Chinneck's Clock

Chinneck Clock

Eight Day Brass Clock, Frederick Chinneck, Fergus and Napanee, 1868

Frederick Chinneck, a jeweller and prominent merchant, established his jewelry store in Napanee in 1873. Located on Dundas Street on the Opera House Block, Chinneck's store was considered by many to be "one of the finest and most complete jewelry emporiums this side of Ontario." DISCOVER MOREReadmore Arrow

The son of Robert and Emma Chinneck, Frederick was born May 12, 1847 in Devonport, England. His family immigrated to Canada 1851, settling in Fergus Ontario. As a youth, Frederick apprenticed to a German watchmaker, and travelled extensively, working in many different towns and cities in Canada and the United States. On May 23, 1872, Frederick married Katharine Mumford in Fergus, and the two settled in Napanee, opening a jewelry store in the Opera House block.

An Eight Day Brass Clock, manufactured by the Welch & Spring Company, Forestville, Connecticut, is patented March 17, 1868, hung in Chinneck's store in Fergus, then in Napanee. The interior is stamped, "F. Chinneck, Fergus" while the face is hand lettered, "F. Chinneck, Napanee."

According to advertisements, Chinneck's stock included clocks, an assortment of watches, gold and silver cases, loose and mounted rings, precious stones, sterling silver and sterling plated tableware, and optical goods including glasses of all styles. According to a Napanee Beaver article from January 1, 1876, "Mr. Fred Chinneck's Clock, Watch and Jewelry Establishment" always had $6,000 worth of stock on hand, with clocks from the very best makers selling from $2 to $45. All goods were guaranteed to work as well as described, or any repairs would be free. Quality and customer satisfaction were a top priority for Frederick Chinneck. Chinneck also advertised that he conveniently issued marriage licenses on site.

He also served as an optometrist, offering free eye exams, and performing optical work "in the latest and most scientific matter." A pair of gold-coloured wire framed glasses, with a black leather case, is stamped, "F. Chinneck, Jewler (sic), 'Opera Block' Napanee."

From 1873 1882, Mr. Chinneck rented a space from J.E. Parks on the north side of Dundas St. in East Ward, before moving his business to the south side of Dundas St., between East and John Streets. A sketch from the J.H. Meacham & Company's 1878 Atlas shows the interior of his store at its original location. A photograph of the Chinneck store taken in about 1901 shows the second location. His son, Arthur, who lived with his parents at their Bridge Street home, joined him in the business about 1905.

Mr. Chinneck was an agent for the Regina watch. His advertising cleverly depicted a distraught traveller who missed his train because he did not have a Regina watch. Napanee was a station on the Grand Trunk railway. With the arrival of the first train in 1856, arriving and departing on time became more important than in the pre-railroad era.

After serving as a merchant for more than 47 years, Frederick Chinneck passed away May 23, 1920, in his 74th year. His son, Arthur Chinneck passed away in 1926.

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