HENRY R. PLAYTNER, brilliant, internationally-known Canadian horologist, founder of the old Canadian Horological Institute in Toronto, Ont. and its director for many years until ill-health compelled him to close its doors, died at his home in Kitchener, Ont., September 20th, in his 79th year. Many students from the U.S. attended the "C.H.I." in days gone by and later, after it had passed out of existence and Elgin Watchmakers' College was founded by Elgin National Watch Co. in 1920, Mr. Playtner was the first head of the new school. He settled in Kitchener after retiring from that position.
In addition to his far-reaching reputation as an instructor, his "Analysis of the Lever Escapement", published many years ago, is known to students of the craft everywhere.
Mr. Playtner was born in Preston, Ont., on December 18th, 1864, received only a limited education, and was apprenticed when a lad of 15, to a very capable watchmaker in Kinkardine, Ont. He became intensely interested in his work and early set himself to remedy his educational shortcomings by persistent study of mathematics, geometry, mechanical drawing and subsequently model making. After seven such years of concentrated effort he entered the employ of Kent Bros., well known in their day in Toronto, the head of whose technical staff was Edward Beeton, another first-class watchmaker. Here he asked for the difficult work in order that he might improve his knowledge of everything required of a highly skilled workman -- willingly taking lower wages meanwhile than he otherwise might have obtained. Four years of further unremitting effort and study, of long hours and little recreation, broadened his theoretical knowledge and practical bench experience and led ultimately, in June, 1890 to the founding of the first school of watchmaking in the Dominion -- with two students. -- Courtesy of National Jeweler, Chicago.