Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!
Learn about mechanical timepieces and how they work, the history of the American watch industry and especially all about the Elgin National Watch Company! Check back for new content daily.
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motor barrel is a unique feature. It turns the inner part or the barrel, independent of the arbor, which is jeweled.
railroad grade watches. It's always a pleasure to see them in good condition.
Jacob Bachtold - Grand Central Terminal Clockmaster
As the minion of the law of time, Jake makes a daily tour of inspection, Mondays through Saturdays, to all the principal seventy-five clocks of the Terminal which lay down the law to would-be train-catchers. The tour also takes him behind the scenes into the offices of the railroad operating departments where clocks govern the dispatching of trains and crews. Jake makes this tour with his own prized pocket watch in hand, covering the almost three miles in an hour, including short stops for minor adjustments to erring timepieces.
Jake is a mild-mannered man with a shaggy mane of sparse white hair and blue eyes peering through thick lensed glasses, a casualty of his profession. At 68, his right hand shakes just a slight bit now and is the reason that he has given up repairing watches at home in spare hours.
Jake checks the Master Clock several times a day, for this clock above all others must be always on the second. Once an hour it automatically sets every other electric clock in the Terminal and is set itself by a wire from Western Union twice a day. It is this clock which all train schedules must obey.
The Park Avenue clock gets Jake's careful attention twice a week. He reaches this clock by climbing several ladders to a platform where he keeps tools and oil for this special job. which consists in cleaning and oiling the great mechanism and leaning out windows in the clock to tighten screws and clean the stained glass face.
The golden four-faced clock Jake keeps especially accurate because it is the arbiter of many a possible argument between a late commuter and a gateman who has just slammed shut a train gate. When a frustrated commuter begins to wind up about shutting the gate early, the gateman merely has to point to the golden clock. Its graceful form framed in highly-polished brass, this famous clock carries a prestige and authority which is never questioned.
Jake is married and lives in Brooklyn. He arrives at work sharp at 8:15 a. m. and begins his day immediately he steps from the subway by glancing critically at the clock above the stairs from the East Side IRT.
1,500 Year-Old Ring
Aleric could not write. When it came to signing state papers, he made his royal impression with the ring. Sometimes this ring settled matters of life and death. Its seal was an undisputed authority.
This symbol of power is valued at $2,000, and is one of many antique jewels from all over the world in the famous Sabine collection. Marshall Field & Co., Chicago recently had it on display.
Sabine (a woman) toured 35 countries to get gems for her collection. She inherited the collector's instinct and some of the rare jewels from her father. Included in her collection is a Russian enamel watch, with rock crystal front and back, about 250 years old; an 18th century diamond spray, which shivers because it is set on springs; poison rings of the Borgias; Persian slave bracelets; and early American heirloom pieces. All pieces are wearable and individually are valued at from $35 to $5,400.