Joseph Knibb was one of a family of clockmakers; Samuel was admitted to the Clockmakers Company in 1663, Joseph in 1670, Peter in 1677, Edward in 1700 and Joseph (junior) in 1717.
Joseph was the most famous of these. His brother John worked at Oxford and therefore never joined the London Clockmakers Company. Joseph was born in 1640 and originally worked at Oxford. His work raised protests from the Oxford smiths, as he was not a freeman of the city. He was admitted to the freedom of Oxford in 1668 and worked with John until he moved to London, leaving John to work on in Oxford. When Tompion moved to his corner house in Fleet Street in 1675, his rate collector for the ward of Farringdon Without was Joseph Knibb, showing that clockmakers had to augment their income by various means. Joseph prospered and soon had a large workshop in London. His work is of a high quality, although his movements are somewhat delicate, more particularly the plates that were thin of gauge. Some of his clocks had Roman striking which was used to conserve power. Clocks with this strike mechanism are easily recognised, as they have IV on the chapter ring instead of the usual IIII.
Known examples of his work are very numerous and occasionally specimens are found which appear to have been made in Josephs workshop but are signed by John. Some clocks made by them bear the signatures of other London makers who bought, signed and sold the clock. Like Edward East, he made night clocks which were illuminated. John, who continued at Oxford became Mayor of the city in 1700. In later life, Joseph moved to Hanslope in Buckinghamshire. Occasionally clocks are signed from this town. He died in 1712.
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