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.
Although this is technically a blog, the content is not generally in a time-based sequence. You can find interesting items throughout. Down the page some is an alphabetical word cloud of keywords used here. A great way to dig in is to look through those topics and click anything you find interesting. You'll see all the relevant content.
Here are a few of my favorites!
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"April 13 — 1861," the first line reads, "Fort Sumpter (sic) was attacked by the rebels on the above date. J Dillon." The second part repeats same date, states the location as Washington and says, "Thank God we have a government."
I was wondering what type of watch Lincoln used. All the articles on this engraving did not say. It turns out that President Lincoln owned a Waltham William Ellery, model 1859. This is an 18 size key-wind watch with 11 jewels and a solid steel balance wheel.
From The American Horologist magazine, September 1938
War "Education" for Industry Near
Hitler's Gift Used Against Him
Freddy Tomlins, British Royal Air Force, on leave to skate at the Ice Carnival held in Seattle, December 5th and 6th, may time his effort to peddle destruction to Hitler by a watch which was the gift of Adolf to him.
The watch bears the engraved message "To our dear Freddie Tomlins in remembrance of his skating in the Berliner Sport Palast, March 29 to April 4, 1937." Tomlins, then 20 years old won the International skating championship in the Berlin Sport Palast, April, 1937, by defeating Horst Farbar, German national champion.
Tomlin tells the time "through courtesy of Hitler," and adds, "Of course, I wish Hitler were as reliable as the watch."
and how Elgin uses it to make watches better
A few centuries ago men thought that their destinies were controlled by the stars.
Today we no longer look to the stars to forecast the future.
But sill, in another way, the stars control us.
The stars are the final arbiters of time - and by time almost all human destinies are governed.
Every time you look at your Elgin Watch you come in contact with the stars. For Elgin maintains its own Time Observatory - in charge of astronomers of national prominence.
It is in daily use, every working day of the year - practical use.
Here the Elgin astronomers take the time direct from the stars.
With star observations almost unbelievably exact they check the master clocks.
And second after second, hour by hour, the master clocks send out the precise time to the Elgin work-rooms and timing laboratories to control every operation in making and timing your Elgin Watch.
If you should wonder why it is that Elgin goes to all this pains and expense of maintaining its own observatory, please bear in mind that Elgin is the professional time-keeper.
Everything that Elgin does is done in the professional spirit.
More than any other one thing it is this spirit - as it shows itself in practical timekeeping quality - which is leading people to buy better and better watches.
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