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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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Do You Know?

From The American Horologist magazine, June, 1937

Do You Know?
Directed by 
W. H. Samelius, Chairman
Science of Horology and Technical Board

Iron or steel immersed in a solution of carbonate of potash or soda for a few minutes is a good preventative of rust and preserves the surface of the article so as to resist rust against ordinary conditions.

To remove blueing from steel, immerse in a pickle composed of equal parts of muriatic acid and ilixir of vitrol. Rinse in pure water, immerse in alcohol and dry in sawdust.

To mark tools, cover the part to be marked with a thin coating of tallow or beeswax. With a sharp instrument, write the name in the tallow, cutting clearly into it. Fill the letters with nitric acid and let it remain for about five minutes. Rinse the article in water to remove the acid and clean off the surface with benzine. You will then have the name etched in steel.

Waterbury Clock Co., Waterbury, Conn.The Waterbury Clock Company may be said to be the original home of American clock manufacturing. As early as 1790 James Harrison began to make wooden clocks by hand in that town.

The first clock charged on his books is one to Major Morris, January 1, 1791, for $16.00; the second one is charged to Rev. Mark Leavenworth at $20.00.

Shortly after 1800 Harrison constructed a water wheel to furnish power for making various parts of his clocks, which he made for several years thereafter. He finally transferred his business to Co!. Wm. Leavensworth and moved to New York where he died poor.

Col. Leavensworth subsequently failed in the business and several changes came about until 1857 when the Waterbury Clock Company, with a capital of $60,000, was organized to make weight clocks. Their first spring clock, the oneday Gothic, was produced during 1858.

Ansonia Clock CompanyThe Ansonia Clock Company grew out of the Ansonia Brass and Battery Company (now known as the Ansonia Brass & Copper Company), which was established about 1840 by Phelps-Dodge & Co., Ansonia, Conn. The latter was organized in 1854 and carried on its manufacturing business in Ansonia solely for several years, but the increasing demand for its goods led to the determination of the company to build a new factory at Brooklyn, N. Y., for which ground was broken in February, 1879, and was completed in August of the same year. The building was 200 feet square and five stories high.

On October 27, 1880, this magnificent building was entirely destroyed by fire at a loss of $1,000,000. A new building was immediately erected, the dimensions being 660 feet by 200 feet, and the production was about 3,000.

The Ansonia Clock Company continued in business until a few years ago when the Russian Government bought the entire plant, removing all the tools and machinery to Russia, where clocks are now being manufactured. 


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