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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Iowa Farmer-Jeweler

From The American Horologist and Jeweler magazine, October, 1946

Iowa Farmer-Jeweler

Unique among the enterprises which claim the attention of the rural citizens of Johnson County, Iowa, is the work of J. A. Swartzendruber, of Washington township.

Swartzendruber is combining the active operation of a farm with the owning and running of two threshing machines, and as if that were not enough, maintains a jewelry shop at his rural home. Not only does he carry a considerable line of watches, clocks, and  fine jewelry for sale, but the quality of his repair work has gained for him an enviable reputation in the area about his home near Amish. 

He has been doing this sort of thing for more than fifty-five years, ever since as a young lad of 16, he took apart his first watch, repaired it, and put it together again. That same year, 1885, he sold his first watch, the beginning of a side line which has grown until it now claims as much of his attention as do his farm duties. 

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