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Finds Pleasure At The Bench

From Horology magazine, August, 1938

Finds Pleasure At The Bench

J. J. Spurlock, known throughout the West as a horological expert, is now approaching the 40th year of a career which began on a Louisiana farm. Jack as he is called by his friends, was born at Arcadia, Louisiana in 1876. While a lad he first turned to carpentry as an outlet for his mechanical inclination. He was impressed by the itinerant clock-makers who would visit the vicinity periodically and one day after one of these repairers had failed to make a clock strike he took it apart and corrected the difficulty without any previous training.


This was his introduction to practical horology and he thereupon applied his skill commercially by following an itinerant workman and repairing the clocks which he failed to make operate. In 1900 he went into business at Cushing, Texas, where he remained for several years.

During his first 8 or 10 years young Spurlock did not have the opportunity to see other watchmakers at work and not knowing that factory made tools could be purchased made his own hammers, pliers, tweezers, mainspring winder, etc., in his father's blacksmith shop. Then he came upon a catalog of Sears Roebuck and found that watchmakers tools were illustrated in it. Recognizing their superiority he immediately sent away an order.

By studying books he learned how to make a balance staff, tempering and other practical operations. But he found that he could not carry out many of the repairs necessary on watches without further training so he closed up shop and went to Toronto, Canada, where he enrolled in the Canadian Horological Institute.

'After completing a finisher's course he went to Jacksonville, Texas, where he remained for 5 years. From there he went to Phoenix, Arizona, and then to San Diego, where he remained for 6 years working for J. Jessop & Sons. Leaving San Diego Mr. Spurlock came to Los Angeles, going to work for Brock & Co.

After a year and a half he resigned and went into business for himself and has been located in Los Angeles ever since.

During the succeeding years he kept on studying and today is regarded as one of the ablest horologists. In recent years he has done considerable special instrument construction and taken an active interest in the Horological Association of California on whose technical committee he serves.  He is readiness to assist horologists has won him a host of friends and respect throughout the industry. He is still far from being content with the knowledge he has already accumulated. Thus, he continues to study horology, constantly making new tools and devices.

His spare time is entirely devoted to experimental work in his elaborately equipped laboratory. 
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