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Stereoscopic Views of the Elgin National Watch Company Factory in Elgin, Illinois by Spencer Manley Adams

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Years ago, I acquired a stereoscopic view of the National Watch Company factory (Elgin), originally photographed by Spencer Manley Adams around 1874. I recently came across a second Adams view from the same vantage point depicting the factory a year or two later, after the finishing details were completed for the new factory front building. These examples represent an unusual combination of my two interests – American horology and vintage stereoscopic photography. Unfortunately, the depth effect on these views are rather poor due to the far distance.

National Watch Company Factory, Elgin, Illinois by S.M. Adams, c.1874
National Watch Company Factory, Elgin, Illinois by S.M. Adams, c.1875
National Watch Company Factory, Elgin, Illinois by S.M. Adams, c.1874
National Watch Company Factory, Elgin, Illinois by S.M. Adams, c.1875

The man behind the camera was local photographer Spencer Manley Adams.

Spencer Manley Adams, Elgin, Illinois.
Courtesy of the Elgin History Museum

Spencer was following in the family business trade. Spencer’s father, John Manley Adams, had captured the earliest photographs of the Elgin factory as the company was in its infancy.

John Manley Adam’s Photography Studio, Elgin, Illinois
Courtesy of the Elgin History Museum

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