Pocket Watch Database

American Watch Company Waltham, Mass., and American Watches (c.1860)

A promotional booklet describing the factory operation of the American Watch Company in Waltham, Mass. Includes various glowing testimonials from customers.

Copyright Status: Public Domain (+95 Years)

Acquisition Price: $54.00

Acquisition Date: December 11, 2022

Digitized Date December 15, 2022

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AMERICAN ‘WATCH COMPANY, .WALTHAM, MASS. AND AMERICAN WATCHES. 4 Ze . - T H E yr , & A. Oy axn AMERICAN W A T C H COMPANY, AMERICAN WATCH COMPANY, WALTHAM,, MASS.,, | * AAND - * AMERICAN WATCH ES.. Oxne off the mostt imporrttaanttenterprises off the presentt day,, is the manufacture off American watches,, recentltyly undertaken and successsfufullly cariied outt by the American Watch Company,, at Waltham,, Mas.s. We payy five millions of dollars to Europeann m m a a n n u u f f a a c c t t u u r r e e r r s s e e v v e e r r y y y y e e a a r r f f o o r r t t h h e e f f o o r r e e i i g g n n - - m m a a d d e e w w a a t t c c h h e e s s t t h h a a t t i i n n u u n n- ‐ date the country,andas much more for keeping them in working date the country, and as much more for keeping them in working orderr,, while we have artisans among usccaappaablle of earniing the first five millions,, and offssaavviing more than the lastt tottheiir cus-s‐ tomers,, by doing the work thoroughlyly.. TheeWaltham watches are,, by themeeththoodd of theiir consttrructtiion,, so accurate and reliablle inntheiir performance,, thatt nothining shortt ofaacctutuaall breakage cann putt them out off repair;; while,, intthisscase,, the broken piece can be replaced by its exactt duplicate at a trifliinnggexpense,, wiitthout -detriment totthewattch.. Theedifferent parts of the mechaniism of foreign-made watches arecastt and cutlalabboorrioiousslyly by hand,, sepaa-‐ ratelly,, and often in places remote from each otherr,, thensseent to +3 the finisher'’s toobe poliisshed,,fitted togetherr, and set up. . Notonlly does this arrangementtinvollve a vastt amountt off expense for the time andllaboremplloyediin theeexxeeccuutitoion,,buttittnecessaarirlilyresullts thatt notwo ofthese piecescaneverrbesoprecisellyallikeasto renderr it possiiblle to substtiitute one for the otherr,, and that the whole mechaniism,,maadetthus inndifferentt places by skiillfull,, medii-‐ ocrree,, and inferiorr workmen can neverr be adjusted with the same "pprerecision ass though manufacturedin one establlishmentt,, underthe supervision of a singlehead. These difficultieshavebeen obvia- supervision of a single head. These difficulties have been obvia‐ tedd by the AmeerricicanWatch Companny.y. Everyry parttof the watch 22 is ccutt intthheeiir establlishment by the aiid of machiinerry,, graduated to microscopiic exactness,, and working with a delicacy of touch thatt the fingers wouldld strive in vaiin to emulaltaet.e.The pieces aree thus cut exactltyly alike.. The jjeweling department inin this esttabllishmentt is underr the directtiion of the mostt skillfluful larttii.. sans,, and the nicestt attenttiion is besttowed upon the setttiing and driillliing off eachjjewell inin everry watch,, the work finallly passiing a microscopic examination. Thejewelsof rub microscopic examination. The jewels of ruby, chrysolite, or sap‐ y, chrysolite,or sap phire are drilled with a diamondd point,, andopened with diamond dustuponIaasofftwwiirre.. The steellpivots,,thatare to run in them freely, yet leaving hardly a particle of space, are c u t and turned by freely, yet leaving hardlyaparticleofspace, are cutand turned by amaacchhinine,, and exquiisiittelly polished,, then fitted into the holes in | the jewels,, and bothth are then classifiifiedd by a gauge graduatted toa minutte pointand réecorded with the numberr offeach watch,, so that if broken,,they cann be exactltyly replaceedd.. Everry wheel,l, pinioionn. jewel,l, andpivott isththus numberedd and registered,, and canbe for-r‐ warded from Waltham to any partt off the globe with more surety offanswerriingtthe purpose designedthan a chestt of teaor abarrell of flour,, while atttthe same time this systemattiic method of execcuu-‐ tion cheapens the watchesffulll one third in costt as compared with foreignwattches,, and renders thembetter and moreaacccuratteetime-‐ keeperrs.. Yi The movementt off the American watches is a fulll orr twooplate frame off the English fashion,, and wiithoutt brass cap,, openiing at the back,, with dome cappattached to the casee. . The patentt lever escapementt of the English shape is used,, withoutt mainin wheell, fusee,, or chaainin--‐a consttructtiion approved by alllmodern authori.‐ tiesaassensuringgreaterrssimimpllicityandlessfrictionuponthe train. The dialls,, andd golldand silvercasessare also manufactured in the establlishmentt att Waltham,, andd are warranted to be off sterrlliing value. . Severraall kinds of movementt are m annuafac ci tnurre d i nn t h e esttabllishmentt,, alll reliable as tiime-keepers,, and of a uniform diametterr,, butt varying in thickness andd kind,, and in the num-‐ -berr of jewelslsand generrall finish,, so asto putt the watches withiin the reachof alll.. A sporrttiing watch is also manufactured,, which measurestimetotthefourthof asecondwiththegreatestaccura-‐ cy,aannddissuperrioiorrtoaannyotherr watchoffthekiindinthesimpliciity andcceertratainintty off its actitoionn. . AArrarannggements have justt been per-‐ fected forr the producttiion of a thinner watch of tthe highestt style of finish,, with or withonut the compensatitoion balance,, which is desiigned tossuuppplly the demand for the highestt priced watchess.. 3 The manufactory stands on the banks of the Charles River, at Waltham, Mass., the former site at Roxbury having been aban‐ doned on account of the light and dusty nature of the soil, which materially interfered with and injured the delicate mechanism. The machinery is impelled by a steam-engine of twelve horse power,connectedwithlinesof shaftingpassingthroughtheestab‐ lishment; and by this, with the aid of more than two hundred employés, of whom some are women, sheet brass and steel wire are cut, turned, polished, and transformed into elegant and reliable watch movements at an average rate of twenty thousand per annum. Surrounding the factory, and charmingly located, are one hundred acres of land, the property of the Company, and designed by them to furnish the site for the homes of the work‐ men,who will thus found avillage with the factory for its nucleus, far different from the smoky suburbs of Coventry and Prescot,the centres of watch manufacture in England. Dr. Joshua Leavitt, the editor of the Independent, says{ “The works of the American Watch Company at Waltham, near Boston, afford a striking proof of the beneficial application of mechanical ingenuity and skill in combination which characterizes our countrymen. 'T'wo ideas, full embraced, have led to the completest success. First, the making of all the ieces by patterns,each adapted to all alike, soasto admit of large quantities eee forwarded from hand to hand, instead of the European practice of makin each piece for its particular place, fitted only for its particular watch. Second, the application of most ingenious and perfect machinery to all parts of the work, in the production of pieces which, in Europe, are fabricated solely by the s i g h t of the eye and sleight of the hand of each individual workman. “ M r . A. L. Dennison, the original projector of the scheme, and now the manager of the works, a native of Maine, and bred to the watch business, be‐ lieved that it was practicable to make watches in numbers, with all the pieces of uniform size, and formed by machinery, just in the way that muskets have longbeenmanufacturedattheSpringfieldArmory. Andafterlongstudyand m a n y experiments, he has the satisfaction of seeing the scheme perfectly suc‐ cessiul. Already thirty thousand watches have been made, of uniform con‐ struction and size, and put into circulation under an express warranty of their quality as time-keepers, and the most ample testimonials are given in their favor from numerous and competent persons who have given them a full trial. « A visit to the works at Waltham is exceedingly interesting and instructive in regard to the capability of machi for the production of the finest me‐ chanical processes. By the old method, the processes of boring shaping wheels and pinions and bringing them to a size were done bow alone, a slow method, and depending wholly on the quick eye hand of the workman, who only acquired the requisite skill by long years of apprenticeship. At Waltham, all this is done by Jathes coonected with a steam-driven shaft, and the boring or cutting tools guided by machines of most ingenious contrivance, so as to make the pieces absolutely uniform in all their dimensions. 4 “ Ta k e , for instance, a pinion, which is made out of the solid steel wire drawn holes and bythe drill‐ and steady 4 for theParner. Some ofthis isdrawn plain and some with grooves for the teeth. -In either case, the arbor or axle is turned to the exact size and taper required to fi t the holes in the jewels, and the teeth cut to their shape and distance, all by various machinery, and with such absolute uniformity that any one piece will fit to its place in any other watch of the same pattern. In like manner, the stones for pivots are first cut, and then rounded and brought to a size, polished, and fitted for use by machines, tended by young women, who acquire the requisite skill by a few weeks’ practice. Little screws, so minute that it takes one hundred and fifty or two hundred thousand to weigh a pound, are cut from the wire with surpassing rapidity, threaded, and the heads finished with complete accuracy. « Every step of every process with every piece is measured and recorded, with an accuracy extending to the 2,500th part of an inch, so that, in the few cases in which the slightest differences are admissible, any piece can be re‐ placed, if required, at any distance of place or time, by merely sending the number of the watch. “The tools and mechanical movements by which all these results are so complete, accomplished, are nearly all of original contrivance, and if fully and scientifically described, would excite general admiration for their ingenuity. “The works admit of the employment of 220 hands, and can turn out 50 watches per day. Of about 125 pieces that go to make a watch, some pass through 50 hands before they are finished. e works are pleasantly situated on the south bank of Charles River, with trees around, and the appearance inside is orderly and attractive. The people, both male and female, ap) intelligent and respectable; and the work is not found to be detrimental either to general health or to eyesight. “Tn the light of political economy it is stated that already the importation of English watches of the class sold at moderate prices, is greatly diminished. The cheap Swiss qualities are not affected by the American make. As a com‐ mentary on the theories of the Protective system, it may be observed that this success has been achieved by American skill and perseverance, aided by a pro‐ tective duty of four per cent. on parts of watches, and eight per cent. on watches complete.” ” N. P. WILLIS’ VISIT TO THE WATCH FACTORY OF THE AMERICAN WATCH COMPANY. [From the Home Journal.] * * * * * * * * * * Sa * “ Novelties in mechanism having always been most interesting to me‐seem‐ ing, as it were, supernatural and sudden apparitions of things hitherto deemed impossible‐I accepted very gladly an invitation to go where I might see watches made by machinery. How a watch should bemade at all, is mystery enough : but, that this ultimatum of human ingenuity in hand-labor should be reducedto mechanism,sothatahundredwatchescan bemadewiththethought and labor hitherto expended upon one, was a marvel worth making sure of h a y ‐ ing onthis“sagesAbedlikely to be “a dropped stitch” (like an antediluvian lost art) in aworld to come. If asked, therefore, at some scientific party in the Evening Star (our next planet, the poets tell us), whether T have ever been to WaurHam, I am happy to have it to say t h aIt visited the Warcx F a c t o r y there, in one of the last years of my previous existence. I may add, for a side ear (a fact about whieh there is keyto be a sidereal curiosity, I think), that Governor Banks comes from the same lace, “From Boston to Waltham, byrailroad,is but the taking of a seat for a 5 fewoe A ourguide,Mr.R.E.Rosstns(oneoftheCompanyofPro‐ prietors, to whose cow us faith and persevering make-work-ative-ness, much of the success of the enterprise is attributed), soon opened the door for us at the shop of the Time-smiths. Three of our party were brother‐ artificers,Mr. Stuart, Mr. Tilton, and myself being ‘manufacturers of pub‐ l i c opinion ;’ and the fourth was a lady not altogether of an unsympathetic profession,Miss Booth, the lady-historian of the ‘ C i t oyf New York.’ To the worth-while-ativeness of sointelligent a group of companions, I owed the oblig‐ ing particularity with which the riddles of mechanism were unraveled to us. % Ttis a curious necessity of a watch factory that it should form a part of a beautiful landscape‐a secluded place, a moist soil, or the bank of a river, be‐ ing requisite to its operations. ‘The original site of the factory at Roxbury was abandoned because the light and dusty character of the soil, and the degree to which the atmosphere was charged with dust by the winds and the indus‐ trial movements of the neighborhood, materially interfered with the nicety of the work. Hence was chosen the present beautiful hill-side on the bend of the C h a r l e s R i v e r , w h e r e t h e h u n d r e o dr t w o o f m a l e a n d f e m a l e o p e r a t i v e s , a s t h e y sit at their benches, regulating the different movements of the machinery, can look out of the windows before them, upon bits of river scenery that would en‐ »chant an artist. “ T t is another poetic peculiarity of watch-making (at Waltham at least), thatthemoredelicatefingeringofwoman isfoundtoworkbestatit. Ofthe large number of i hated employed in the Retory more than half, if I observed rightly, were of the sisterhood left idle by the sewing machine‐a happy com‐ pensation of Providence! Gradually, in this way, probably, the indoor em‐ ployment of all trades and vocations ‘that do not require masculine strength, will be given over to woman, «The Warton F a c r o r y is of brick, two stories in height, and inclosing a quadrangular court ; and, along the closely placed inner and outer windows, stand the work-benches at which are seated the successions of operatives of each of the one hundred and twenty parts of the watch Teguiriog separate manufacture and adjustment. What im essed meparticular ,as I walked’ through these long galleries of seated and patient artificers, was the exceeding. delicacy and minuteness of it a l l ‐ t h e inevitable machinery accomplishing, with ‐ such powerful exactness, the almost invisible wonders of transformation and construction, and human aid seeming only needed to supply the material and measure the work, with movements of hand scarce tible. The succes‐ sionsofminuteinstrumentswerelikelongrangesoflittle fairies,eachweaving its cobweb miracles under a careful sentinel’s superintending eye. It is the ae? little dexterities which have hitherto been done only by the variable hand of the workman. With the machinery once regulated, therefore, any number of watches of the same size and pattern are made with invariableexactness‐al palititytokeeptime,whereas,formerly,eachwatchwas onlyaprobabili‐ ty by itself. of the Waltham area AS this is so‐machinery doing the hundred “ The minuteness of very essential parts of the watch astonishes the yisitor. ‘A small beap of grains were shown to us, looking like iron filings, or grains of pepperfromapepper-caster‐apparentlythe meredustofthemachinewhich turned them out‐and these, w h e n examined with a microscope, were seen to be perfect screws, each to be driven to its place with a screw: ‘iver. I t i sone of the Waltham statistics which is worth remembering, that ‘a single pound of steel, costing but fifty cents, is thus manufactured into: one hundred thou‐ sand screws which are worth eleven hundreddollars.’ “The poetic part of a watch, of course, is what the truth in a woman's hearthasbeensooftencomparedto‐thejewel uponwhichallitsmovements 6¥ are pivoted and which knows nowearing away or a © see these p r e c i o u s truth-jewels and their adjustment was one of my main points of curiosi‐ ty. ‘The aid of the microscope was again to be called in, to see these‐the as Had stones, as we first saw them in the glass phial, resembling grains of rilliant sand. They are rubies, sapphires, or chrysolites, inferior only to the diamond in hardness, and to be drilled by the diamond’s point into pivoted reliances. The process is thus described in the article to which I am indebt‐ edfor mystatistics: “