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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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Elgin Advertising, 1921

The First Watch Factory

For three centuries after the first "pocket clock," watchmaking remained a one-man industry.  The made the cost prohibitive, except for the wealthy few.

But up in the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland a modern manufacturing idea was stirring - the principle of specialized labor.  By 1840 this idea had assumed factory proportions.  The first factory building was a mere assembly plant - the real factory was the mountaineer's home.  Here all hands specialized in shaping or finishing some one watch part, under the guidance of the manufacturer.

As everything was hand work, aided only by the fiddle-bow lathe, no two parts were precisely alike.  A broken watch went back to the maker of the broken part for repair.

Not an ideal manufacturing situation - yet a long upward step toward organized production of our day which has made possible those marvels of standardized, interchangeable construction -

Elgin Watches
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