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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.

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!

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Elgin Grade 540

This is Elgin's motor mainspring barrel, used on railroad watches, and higher end movements generally.

The moving part for winding and for running, in this design, are separate. The jeweled bearing on which the barrel turns in independent of the winding arbor.


Threes screws attach the ratchet wheel to the arbor, for winding.

This watch is a grade 540, 16 size, 23 jewels, made about 1940. It is marked for marked for Benjamin Wright Raymond.



There are several types of pocketwatch cases, but one of the most common open-face types has three parts. There is a front bezel with the crystal, a middle ring that holds the movement, and a back. The front and back tread on to the middle part.
They don't get much better... These watches represent the height of timekeeping technology of their day.


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