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Waltham Watches Played Vital Role in Life of Henry Ford

From The American Horologist and Jeweler magazine, October, 1946

Waltham Watches Played Vital Role in Life of Henry Ford

Few people realize that Henry Ford almost manufactured watches instead of automobiles. It is a fact that Waltham watches played an important role in Ford's life. 'l'he two big events of his early life were, seeing a road engine and getting a watch. That was way back in 1875 when he was 12 years old. When he was 13 he could take a watch apart and put it together. The first watch he repaired was a Waltham which belonged to his father.

In his biography "My Life and 'Work", Henry Ford recites some of his early experiences..." At one period of those early days I think that I must have had fully three hundred watches. I thought that I could build a serviceable watch for around thirty cents and nearly stalled in the business. But I did not because I figured out that watches were not universal necessities, and therefore, people generally would not buy them. Just how I reached that surprising conclusion, I am unable to state. I did not like the ordinary jewelry and watchmaking work excepting where the job was hard to do. Even then, I wanted to make something in quantity.

It was just about the time when the standard railroad time was being arranged. We had formerly been on sun time and for quite a while, just as in our present daylight-saving days, the railroad time differed from the local time. That bothered me a great deal and so I succeeded in making a watch that kept both times. It had two dials and it was quite a curiosity in the neighborhood.,

To this day, Mr. Ford maintains the world's finest collection of Waltham Watches and Waltham watchmaking machines in his museum at Dearborn, Michigan.

The Ford collection comprises 49 valuable Waltham watches, representing Waltham models from 1850 to the present day, showing the evolution of the American watch. 

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