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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.

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Old Watches On Exhibition

From The American Horologist magazine, May 1946

Old Watches On Exhibition

Watches made from 1525 on are being exhibited by the United States Time Corporation at Rockefeller Center, New York. These watches one hundred on number, are owned by Mrs.
Jean Wheeler Jellico.

The oldest watch was made in Nuremberg in 1525 and is made in the shape of a drum. The works are' of iron, the dial and case of bronze, and has only one hand. It was designed to hang from a chain. Other watches are the work of Thomas Tompion, originator of the pocket watch, and official watchmaker for the Court of Charles II.

Some of the watches on display have historical significance. A large coach watch that spoke of the time of Lord Nelson in 1760 was engraved with his coat of arms. A golden lyre watch studded with rubies and diamonds is supposed to have been given to Mme. Du Barry by Louis XV. Another was once owned.by a Manchu Emperor and is known as the "fountain watch," tiny falling crystals giving the effect of flowing water. It is richly enameled and inlaid with pearls. It was looted in Peiping during the Boxer rebellion and reappeared in Europe several years later.

Many of those early watches were very ambitiously designed, the idea being that they should do more than tell time. For example, some play music or chimes on the hour. An early eighteenth century watch has an alarm. Another has a pin that when pushed starts a procession of royal figures - king, queen, and courtiers. And as early as 1800 Braille was having its forerunner, because a blind man's watch, in the shape of a cylinder, was equipped with hands on the outer case that ran parallel to those on the dial, enabling the blind man to feel the time.


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Quito; capitol of Ecuador, lies on the Equator. Every day the sun rises at exactly 6 A. M. and sets at 6 P. M.




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