Time in today’s digital age is elementary compared with the original time keeping devices. Even simpler are the making of the machines to create these time keeping devices. Once upon a time watchmaking was a work of art invented by the Germans and perfected by the Swiss.
Edward Preiss gained much experience in the watchmaking trade in London, Paris and Switzerland and brought his skills to the town of Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 1859. He began Fischer’s & Co Jewellery and made such a great success that he employed an experienced young German man by the name of Alwin Fischer.
Edward Preiss retired in 1865 and passed the reins on to Alwin Fischer who was in charge when this letter was sent to Fischer’s & Co watchmakers from the Gold Fields of the Transvaal.
This rare cover originated from the small town of Kaapshehoop which was situated close to the top of an escarpment overlooking the flourishing De Kaap Valley. It is set between large natural clearings of quartzite rock formations where a small amount of gold was discovered in a creek running through the town. The town was named Kaapschehoop because of the hope this new gold discovery had instilled in its early occupants.
These rock formations are a part of the Transvaal Supergroup of Black Reef Formation. They are made up of quartzites which have no banded layers that used to be pure quartz sandstone. Sadly the gold that was found was not enough to sustain the town which subsequently faded away into the tourist attraction it is today. Larger gold fields had been discovered in other parts of South Africa.