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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Do You Know?

From The American Horologist magazine, March, 1938

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

A clock, having several dials, each dial showing the correct time in principal metropolitan cities on both hemispheres is called a "Meridian Clock." 

Elgin, a city in Illinois, has the world's largest watch factory, The Elgin National Watch Company.

A wheel whose teeth are parallel to its axis and whose axis is at right angles to the axis of the wheel into which it gears, is called a contrate wheel.

During the early part of the 18th Century, Nicholas Grollier devised many curious and mysterious timepieces. One was a metal dish, the hours and minutes marked on it's edge. The dish was filled with water in which the figure of a tortoise floated, always keeping his nose to the correct time.

It is estimated some $50,000,000 in gold is used throughout the world each year for manufacturing jewelery, and mechanical purposes.

Antique bronzes-One can give bronze the green stain of verdigris by covering the surface with ground horse radish saturated with vinegar. From three to four days will turn the bronze into an antique so far as the mockery of age can make it look old.

It is recorded that in 1888 Messrs. Fremay and Vernenil of Paris, Chemists, were the first to produce synthetic rubies.

The largest stone they were able to produce at the time was the size of a pin head, and was produced at a great expense. Today we can produce synthetic rubies that are about 2 1/2 inches long by 1.2-inch round and this material is almost exclusively used for making watch jewels and jewels for instruments.

A jewel hole should be .0002" larger than the pivot that works into it.

One of the earliest tower clocks in New York City was erected in St. George's church in Beekman Street. This clock was constructed by Simon Willard in 1815.

Small crystals of emerald were found at the mines at Stony Point, Alexander county, North Carolina.
Diamonds have been found at Morris Station, 10 miles. South of Atlanta, Ga.

Prospecting near the top of Mt. Antero, Colorado, at an altitude of 12,000 to 14,000 feet above the sea level resulted in the discovery of Beryl, Phenacite and Topaz.

Garnets were discovered by the Navajo Indians in Arizona and New Mexico.

Specimens of Epidot in brilliant crystals were found near Raburn Gap, Raburn County, Georgia.
Agatized and Jasperized wood IS found in Arizona.

Some beautiful specimens of fire opals have been found near John Davis River in Crook county, Oregon.

From Newcome, Essex county, New York, some fine specimens of Tourmaline have been discovered.

It takes as much brains, energy and vision to sell an article, to make people want it, as it does to manufacture the article itself.

According to the United States Patent office index, John P. Blakewell of Pittsburgh, Pa., was granted a patent on October 1, 1830, covering glass wheels for clocks.  

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