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!
There are some large images on some posts, so that might impact your load times, bit I think you will find it worth the wait. Thanks for visiting!
The 7 jewel, lever-set movement would seem to have been made by the short lived Aurora Watch Co., in the US. As an aside, I'm not sure these qualify as a private label because it seems that Aurora only made movements for exclusive dealers in given regions.
However, this particular movement's design does not exactly match any known Aurora products. The serial number also makes no sense in a context of Aurora products. What is is this watch?
It is very, very similar to 18 size Walthams of this era. The dial side is different, particularly the ratchet, but just the same, it's obvious what the designers were looking at when them made these.
The material flows when heated. It can be applied with a heated (I used an alcohol lamp) tool, and shaped to fill in the missing bit.
It isn't perfect, but it hides the problems somewhat, and helps protect the dial from the problem getting worse around the damaged area.
This miniature lathe is perfect in every detail and an actual working model. Those attending the Convention will have the pleasure of viewing this masterpiece.
This one has a whole lot of character! I really enjoy seeing watches like this one ticking again.
Made about 1933...
Later American movements typically have a square hole in the winding arbor in the movement, and the square shaft is part of the stem in the neck of the case. This is much more common.
This watch is interesting because it's the later movement type. The female part is in the movement. But the case is the other kind. Its arbor is also female. So some watchmaker long ago made a little adapter, shown in this first photo. It's a small square shaft that goes into the square holes in both the case and the movement. It's likely a cut off stem. I've never seen this before...
By C. Wilkerson
Past President M. W. A. of Colorado
One of the objects of the experiment was to determine a method that would preserve insofar as possible, the original thickness of the metal at the holes, and as a result, I adopted and used for this work, a flat faced punch with small hole.
My method of procedure is as follows:
First, before taking movement apart, oil the pivots with a liberal amount of oil. (There is nothing better than oil to loosen old oil.) Take hold of the center wheel and move the train forward and backward a few times. This will loosen the dry and gummed oil on the pivots and in the holes. Then rinse or brush movement in benzine.
You can now ascertain whether or not any of the holes need closing, which should be done before actual cleaning.
The object in using the flat faced punch is that it draws the metal from the sides of the countersink of the plates toward the center and leaves the metal thicker at the hole than would the ball faced punch, which has a tendency to drive the metal away from the hole and leaves the metal thinnest at the hole, the very point where it is needed.
The hole in the punch clears the hole in the plate.
By the use of the flat faced punch I experienced less difficulty in closing the holes evenly and keeping the train wheels upright, whereas, in my opinion, the ball faced punch, unless very carefully used, and even then sometimes will close the hole unevenly.
I created an automated script that checked the address every night and sent me an email if it changed, but the web site I used to tell me the address went off line.
I just updated the DNS services, so the Elgin data should be available again real soon.
From American Horologist magazine, April, 1936
In the matter of pendants, crowns and bows of pocket watches, the case designers sometimes sacrifice all the practical requirements of these parts for style. These features are sometimes so freakish that it is almost impossible either to wind the watch fully, or to set it.
Pardon the watchmaker, Mr. Manufacturer, when he suggests that, whenever you put a pair of hands on your product, something besides appearance is bound to be expected of it.
And now about wrist watch cases. There the watchmaker surely needs help.
He has put in many hours because of bad casing. The opening for the stem is often large enough to admit two stems, leaving a space around the stem that is a veritable dust trap. An accumulation of lint and dirt, through this opening, often stops a small watch a short time after it has been overhauled. That means another job for the watchmaker, and without pay, and a bawling out from the customer besides. When this occurs perhaps two or three times, it is the movement manufacturer, as well as the jeweler, who gets the criticism. The consumer does not know that the case maker is really to blame. He knows the movement maker's name and, of course, holds him responsible. A little better case fitting inspection would help a lot, Mr. Manufacturer.
Another thing that provokes watchmaker profanity is that in wrist watches the movement is often forced so tightly into the case, that it is almost impossible to get it out. One wonders if it was put in with a power press or a pile driver.
To lift it out by the stem, in the regular way, is pretty sure to break the stem. So there is nothing to do but pry it out, and that is really cruelty to the movement.
Not only are the edges of the plate and bridges badly marred, but there is a constant danger of slipping and mutilating the dial or breaking the staff or other parts. Just a little more accuracy in measurements and care in fitting will help this situation immensely.
In the matter of cord attachments, there is room for improvement. They should be easily and amply adjustable, and be made of non-corrosive metal.
The safety of watches with silk or leather cord bracelets depend on secure fastenings and a good snap. The attachments should be made large enough to accommodate wire, or other wrappings, on the cord ends to prevent unraveling and loosening.
Many so-called "easily adjustable," "cam operated" and "snap shut" cord fastenings are easily adjustable, but can hardly be called fastenings after a few months of service. There are satisfactory attachments made, and are well worth the slight difference in cost by the safety and satisfaction they insure.
And now, Mr. Watch Manufacturer, it is hoped that you will accept the spirit of co-operation intended in these few suggestions. For after all, we are striving for the same goal, customer satisfaction.
Answer - Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity of a moving body, i.e., if the motion of a body is increasing, "acceleration"-the velocity gained per second.
Moment - of a force is the tendency of that force to produce rotation, it equals the force times its "leverage."
Center of Oscillation - That point in a pendulum where, if all its mass were collected, its time of vibration would be unaltered.
Coefficient of Expansion - A number representing the change per unit in the dimensions of a body submitted to the unit change of temperature; or, more directly, the increase per unit in the length of a body when the temperature is raised one degree.
Harmonic Motion is a periodic to and from motion such as that taken by the prongs of a tuning fork, or the motion of a very long pendulum describing very small arcs; the condition of "pure harmonic motion" being that the time occupied shall be independent of any variation in the extent of the path described, i.e., "isochronous motion."
Note - If a ball were set rolling at a uniform rate in a plane circle, on saying a horizontal table, and its motion observed from a very long distance with one's eye on the same level, it would appear to move, not in a circle, but in a straight line from left to right and from right to left; its velocity as it approaches the center, where it would be at a maximum, and decreasing as it receded from the center, till it reached the extent of its apparent path, where its apparent motion would be 0.
Nevertheless, that statement was to be offered as an amendment by one of the Hon. (?) Representatives in the State Legislature of Tennessee to a watchmakers' licensing bill.
When we heard that such an unreasonable amendment was to be offered (in order to "kill" the bill) we inquired if the Chair was obliged to accept such an obvious impossibility as a "200 inch mainspring in each watch". We were informed that the Chair would (or must) accept it, if offered.
This would seem to characterize the intelligence of the Hon. (?) members of the House of Representatives in Tennessee.
When the licensing bill came up for its third and final reading, it was read and carried over to the following day. 'When it then came up on that day, a motion to consider it lost by a 2 to 1 majority. The bill was then "tabled".
The motion to "consider" the bill was opposed by practically all of the "rural" members. When the motion was presented many of them arose and almost shouted it down.
Let us not entirely blame the members of the House themselves, in this case. It was quite evident that their interest and opposition to this bill had been aroused to such an extent that they were determined to defeat it by whatever means they could command.
Unfortunately the bill remained "in committee" for over four weeks. During this time the small town watchmakers (and some from the larger cities, too) evidently had opportunity to voice their sentiments to their Representatives, as these Representatives seemed all cocked and primed to defeat the bill the instant it came up. Here is what the defeat of the bill can mean:That the State of Tennessee voices itself as welcoming any and all watchmakers regardless of their ability, character or standing. (The material houses may need the additional business, too). No standard of price or workmanship required.
Hence, to the watchmaker who works by the slogan "Anything goes", Tennessee EXTENDS A WELCOME.
The Dorset name was used by Oris
Watch Company and Benrus Watch Company in the '60d and '70s. I'm not sure which this one is.
- ► 2017 (100)
- ► 2016 (465)
- ► 2015 (452)
- ► 2014 (291)
- Balance Tools
- Charles Stark
- A Small Waltham
- Elgin Grade 95
- Elgin Grade 73
- Dial Repair
- Elgin Grade 372, Lower Plate Details
- Elgin Grade 10
- Elgin Grade 315
- Miniature lathe
- Elgin Grade 495
- Elgin Grade 12
- Elgin Grade 92, With an Arbor Adaptor
- Closing Train Holes
- How a Mechanical Watch Works
- Address Change
- How Watch Manufacturers Might Help the Watchmaker ...
- Cannon Pinion Tool
- Mainspring Winder
- Mainspring Pliers
- Questions and Answers for the Certified Horologist...
- Mainspring Tools
- Each watch must have a mainspring 200 inches long ...
- Elgin Grade 314
- New Book on George Daniels!
- Elgin Grade 344
- An 1882 Hampden
- Waltham Royal
- Invicta Advertising, 1955
- Watchmaking in Oregon
- Elgin Grade 70
- Waltham Crescent Street
- Repco Advertising, 1955
- Timor Advertising, 1955
- ▼ March (36)
- ► 2012 (406)
- ► 2011 (135)
- ► 2010 (75)
- ► 2009 (96)
- ► 2008 (25)