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!
There are some large images on some posts, so that might impact your load times, bit I think you will find it worth the wait. Thanks for visiting!
The rust cleaned up well in this case.
This movement is Elgin's grade 354, 0 size, 15 jewels, made about 1910.
'Needle In Haystack' Watch Recovered
Discouraged, but alert of mind, he picked a shipping point at random. It happened to be Somerville, Mass. He sent a wire to the plant purchasing the sawdust. Charles R. Ryan, inspector at the Somerville firm, went through literally tons of the sawdust without success. Then he picked one of the remaining bags haphazardly and dumped it on the floor.
There was the watch - none the worse for its sawdust bath and Immersion!
Why So Many Crowns Are Lost
Fix a crown with a thin surface or side to a winding-stem and fasten the stem either to a watch or to a mandril. Then strike a few time, even very lightly with a small brush, for instance, and you will see for yourself how easy it is to free the crown. After that, it will become completely unscrewed in a very short time. It is evident that a thin surface will bend at the slightest shock, and it is just at this time that the thread of the screw of the crown will not adhere closely to the screw of the stem.
It is natural, on the other hand, that the screw-thread of the winding stem should be similar to that of the crown, for it is impossible to fix a crown to a winding-stem if the screw-thread be too thin.
I have often been able to ascertain that the apparently simple work of fixing the crown to the winding stem often presents important stumbling blocks.
It is an error to maintain the winding stem in a mandril when fixing the crown. In proceeding in this way, it is impossible not to break the winding-stem, for, as shown clearly in illustration 5, the pressure of the tongs of the mandril is exercised only on the most delicate part of the winding-stem, that is the notch for the setting-lever. It is certainly aggravating, at the last minute, to break a stem which has just been finished with much care and attention. But even if the stem should not break, it is a mistake to use the mandril, for it often leaves rough ridges, which once the stem is in place, act as reamers on the plate. Shortly after, the stem begins to "dance," the setting lever is not supported as it should, and when the hands are set, the stem falls out. If this happens with watches of well-known trade marks it is all the more disagreeable because of the fact that it will never be possible to use a winding-stem to fix the crown properly again.
I would recommend the use of the Seitz pliers, which can be obtained from Messrs. Bergeon of Le LocIe. I have made three pliers, adapted to a point similar to that illustrated in fig. 6. The reader will easily see that this point allows the fixing of the superior part of the winding-stem, avoiding all risks of a breakage. A second advantage is the fact that this tool avoids all risks of causing marks of any kind on the stem, as indicated above. I have these pliers in Nos. 8, 10, 12, which is largely sufficient for nearly all the work to be done on wrist watches.
I have been able to note that errors of this kind are made not only by small watch repairers, but also in large factories, where careful attention is paid to the execution of their products, but where insufficient care is taken in mounting the crown.
The movement is held in a ring which is hinged to the one-piece back. The front bezel is threaded. At one time, swing-out cases were required by railroads since they have that one-piece back to provide better dust protection.
Way back, before the meaning of the phrase changed, these watch cases were also called "basket cases".
No, these watches are not for sale, and I am surprised how often they are assumed to be. It seems odd.
Jungle Work Shop
The Sergeant states that he has tried to learn watch work out there and so far has successfully returned to service 680 watches belonging to'service men of all branches of service from private to general.
We think that the Sergeant is doing a wonderful job and look forward to his safe return to the States So as to enter our Professian.
Elgin Watchmakers College. The year is unknown. But they didn't do these photos every year. The one I have like this that has my Grandfather in it is from 1937, if memory serves. This would appear to be near that year, a year or two later perhaps.
This one is interesting because it is not listed, according to its serial number, as a three-finger bridge model, which it is, in the database.
This will require some research but it's a nice opportunity to make a correction to the data. Even after all the years, errors and exceptions are still discovered in the factory records.
Either this watch is not really the grade we think it is, or the grade is a bridged design not correctly identified as such.
Is the Jeweler's and Watchmaker's Job a Strain on the Eyes?
An Old Prejudice-Bad Conditions Must Be Avoided
Scientific investigation has proved, however, that this supposition is incorrect. While, for instance, 30 to 40 per cent of typesetters and lithographers are found to be nearsighted after many years of work, there is only about ten to fifteen per cent of nearsightedness among jewelers and watchmakers.
Short Sight and Headaches
Moderate nearsightedness (myopia) does not prevent a jeweler or watchmaker from working. In nearsightedness the eyeball is too long from front to back, and light rays entering the eye focus the image in front of the retina instead of exactly upon it. Nearsighted people can see objects close at hand, but distant objects appear blurred. Normal nearsightedness usually improves with the course of years. Doing very close work is a great strain for nearsighted eyes especially during the period of growth.
Well fitted concave glasses may eliminate all troubles originating from nearsightedness. A nearsighted watchmaker whose glasses are too weak is working with the upper part of his body bent forward. He looks through the rims of his glass in order to see more clearly.
The degree of nearsightedness and of other optic disturbances is determined by the strength of the lenses which are required to correct it. The degree of concavity or convexity to which the lenses are ground is expressed in diopters. The lenses scatter or gather the rays of light which fall upon the eyes so that the correct spot on the retina is reached and a sharp image of the object is projected upon it. Other disorders of vision can be corrected in practically the same way.
Astigmatism is concerned with a rotation of the eye to the side. There is a difference in degree of refraction in different meredians. Vision is then blurred at close range as well as at distance. Lenses which are ground correspondingly are of value - in such cases too. There are some methods of treatment which try to exercise the eye muscles and strengthen the eyes in this way. However, this may work out, it is sure that a person with nearsightedness, astigmatism and similar troubles has to wear glasses if he wants to do his work in, the most efficient way.
In farsightedness (hyperopia) the eyeball is too short from front to back, and light rays entering the eye focus the image back of the retina.
Such eyes cannot see objects near at hand without giving considerable extra work to the muscles of accommodation. This often results in eyestrain, but the condition can be corrected by glasses. Usually between the ages 40 to 50 -
Old Sight (presbyopia)
begins. It is a normal change due chiefly to loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye. A jeweler of 42 or 35 who has always had a good eyesight may note that he must push his work (or his head) farther away in order to see dearly. He prefers strong illumination. This, by contraction of the pupil, improves the vision temporarily.
Different glasses are needed in this condition, for working, reading, writing at close range, and for seeing in distance. In such cases either two pairs of glasses are used; or glasses are used the upperpart of which is ground for distance the lower part for objects at close range. Otherwise the presbyopic may suffer from pain, fatigue, headache and lacrymation, all of these symptoms being more marked with poor light or at night with artificial illumination.
and strong illumination help greatly to avoid eye-strain, and that is important to prevent additional eye troubles. Improper lighting shortens the duration of normal seeing. The same holds true for flickering light. In bright light tinted Or dark glasses are desirable. Sunlight and lamplight glaring into the eyes or reflected from such surfaces as glossy paper and tabletops and walls are harmful. Proper care can prevent unnecessary strain on the eyes and prevent very unpleasant disturbances in an easy way.
The Price of Time Went Up
By I. H. Kohr
Occupational Deferment Notice
Replacing Guard Pins
For the beautiful damaskeen finish found on the exposed winding wheels of high grade watches special equipment and some experience will be required.
Pitted end stones may be perfectly polished and restored as new by using a fine grade of diamond powder in oil on a tortise-shell lap running at fairly high speed in the lathe. Slight pressure for only a short time will restore them to their original polish.
Ordinary polish may be had on any flat surface after grinding with oil stone powder by finishing with a fine emery buff.
- Elgin Grade 354
- 'Needle In Haystack' Watch Recovered
- Why So Many Crowns Are Lost
- Elgin Grade 208
- Two More
- New Arrival
- New Arrival
- Another Elgin In
- Jungle Work Shop
- Elgin Watchmakers College Class Photo
- Another Hamilton 992
- New Yesterday
- Is the Jeweler's and Watchmaker's Job a Strain on ...
- Two More
- The Price of Time Went Up
- Occupational Deferment Notice
- Replacing Guard Pins
- More New Arrivals
- ▼ November (19)
- ► 2015 (452)
- ► 2014 (291)
- ► 2013 (281)
- ► 2012 (406)
- ► 2011 (135)
- ► 2010 (75)
- ► 2009 (96)
- ► 2008 (25)