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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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Smallest Store


From The American Horologist magazine, November 1936

Smallest Store

The world's smallest jewelry store, dealers in Elgin watches, is owned and operated by Rolf H. Bruhn, a former student at the Elgin Watchmakers College. The store is located in the Liberty building, 602 Grand Ave., Des Moines, la.


The store includes a show window one and one half feet wide by five feet in length, built in the door which opens into the lobby of the Liberty building. A neon sign labels the shop, "World's Smallest Jewelry Store." 


Customers are unable to enter the store proper, but transact their business from the lobby. When the show case door is closed, it allows a space three feet square for a chair and a bench space 35 by 13 inches. On the wall is shelf space for a watch cleaning machine, crystal cabinet and electric soldering equipment. The lathe, motor and Elgin material cabinet are located on top of the bench and the staking tools and all lathe chucks are suspended from a stand.


Mr. Bruhn specializes in watch and clock repairing, jewelry repairing, ring soldering and engraving. Truly, this is one of Elgin's most unique retail outlets.

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