Found 500 Resources containing: Clock and watch makers
The conductor was the chief officer in charge of any train. At initial departure and station stops the engineer had to await clearance from the conductor before starting. It was always important that the conductor and engineer kept the same time throughout a run. All train operating crew (conductor, engineer, trainmen, fireman) set their watches to a 'standard clock' maintained to accurate standard time by the railroad at the office where employees signed-in each day. Railroads issued standards in their operating-rule books that specified the degree of accuracy or the number of jewels in the mechanism (17 jewels was usually the minimum). At specified intervals, watches were to be submitted to a railroad-company designated 'watch inspector,' normally an independent jeweler on contract. The employee kept his watch inspection record current.
In 1883, railroads brought standardized 'Railroad Time' and the four time zones we know today to the U.S. Before then, cities kept their own local time; noon was set to the sun's passage at zenith. The plethora of times made things extremely difficult for long-distance travelers when there were several intermediate trains to catch. And for railroads by the early 1880s, the safe coordination of interstate trains had become impossible; there were several crashes each involving two trains keeping different times. It took Congress another quarter-century to codify 'Standard Time' and the four zones as national standards.
The chronodrometer's dial could mark quarter seconds, but it was unlike any other stopwatch in use then or now. A sweep hand in the center of the dial revolved once every four minutes; at the bottom of the dial, a small hand revolved once every four seconds. At the top was a conventional dial with numerals 1 through 12 and hour and minute hands for indicating the correct time of day. When the watch was used as a timer, the time train inconveniently stopped.
Between 1858 and 1861, the American Watch Company made about four hundred chronodrometers-not a huge number by mass-production standards. The stopwatch sold for $50, compared to $150 to $250 for a high-grade import. At that time, stopwatches of any kind were still rare.
The American Watch Company had been launched in 1849 in a corner of the Howard & Davis clock factory in Roxbury, near Boston, where Edward Howard and Aaron Dennison experimented with completely new designs for watches and the machines to make them. Howard, a clockmaker, had absorbed techniques for the mass production of firearms with interchangeable parts during a visit to the Springfield Armory. Why not, he thought, try it with watches? With expert help from a cadre of experienced mechanicians and funding from Howard's father-in-law, the Boston mirror maker Samuel Curtis, the enterprise got under way.
From shaky beginnings as America's first watch business, the Waltham firm would go on to pioneer mass-production techniques and teach the rest of the world how to make watches by machine. Waltham remained an important innovative force in both watch and machinery design for the rest of the century. The firm's success spawned a raft of competitors, and the American watch industry began to turn out movements and watches by the millions.
Anton Louis Delkin, the jeweler who made this watch, was born in Atlanta in 1861 to a Dutch father and a German mother. By the time he was just seventeen years old, Delkin was the foreman of one of the largest watch factories in the southern United States. In 1900 he decided to try his luck, and hopefully find his fortune, as part of the Nome Gold Rush (around 1899—1909). Delkin accompanied his wife’s uncle, J. H. Ladd, from the Southeast to Alaska in search of gold.
Six years after arriving in Alaska, Delkin created this impressive man’s pocket watch out of eighteen-karat yellow and rose gold. Encrusted on the watch are gold nuggets. This rugged design recalls the finds that were made in Nome during this, Alaska’s largest Gold Rush period. This substantial timepiece was donated by members of Delkin’s family. It recounts the adventure and fortune sought by so many in Alaska at the turn of the 20th century.
Back then timetables governed train arrivals and departures, established train priorities, and ensured that trains did not collide on single-track lines. Clocks in railroad stations and watches held by conductors and engineers helped to enforce the timetables.
But in the middle of the 19th century, timepieces in use on the railroads varied wildly in quality and availability to employees of the line. There was no single standard of quality for railroad timekeepers. After a horrific fatal accident on the Providence & Worcester Railroad in August 1853, caused in part by the inaccuracy of a conductor's watch, some railroads in New England responded to public criticism of their industry by tightening up running rules and ordering top-quality clocks and watches for their employees.
This is one such high-quality railroad watch.
An official representing the Vermont Central Railroad and three other New England lines, William Raymond Lee, ordered watches and clocks in late 1853 from William Bond & Sons, Boston, the American agent for Barraud & Lund of London. The English firm delivered the first of the timepieces in January 1855. The Vermont Central purchased fifteen watches for $150 each and one clock for $300.
Barraud & Lund, founded in 1750 by Huguenot watchmaker Francis-Gabriel Barraud, had a long-standing reputation for high-quality timepieces, including marine chronometers, clocks and watches. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the firm had extensive foreign markets and added John Richard Lund, a chronometer maker, to their business.
William Bond & Son, the firm named on the watch's dust cap, was one of the principal timepiece purveyors of nineteenth-century America. Intimately connected to navigation and commercial shipping, the firm rated and repaired marine chronometers for the busy port of Boston and supplied instruments of all sorts to agencies of the federal government-specifically, the coast survey, the topographical engineers, and the navy. The firm, whose original business provided time for navigating at sea, branched out with the railroad business to perform the same service on land.
The appetite for watches in the United States in the early part of the 19th century was huge; about $46 million worth were imported between 1825 and 1858, especially from England Switzerland. To tap into this market, a few Americans attempted to develop watches domestically, but probably no more than two thousand watches were made in the United States before the 1850s.
In that decade, watchmakers at what would become the American Watch Company of Waltham, Massachusetts, developed the world's first machine-made watches. They completely redesigned the watch so that its movement could be assembled from interchangeable parts made on specialized machines they invented just for that purpose. They also developed a highly organized factory-based work system to speed production and cut costs.
The firm was launched in 1849 in a corner of the Howard & Davis clock factory in Roxbury, near Boston, where Edward Howard and Aaron Dennison experimented with completely new designs for watches and the machines to make them. With expert help from a cadre of experienced mechanicians and funding from Howard's father-in-law, the Boston mirror maker Samuel Curtis, the enterprise got under way.
Dennison had absorbed techniques for the mass production of firearms with interchangeable parts during a visit at the Springfield Armory. The primary measures the new firm adopted from arms making were a tight organization, a critically important machine shop, and a manufacturing system that relied on models. Waltham designers made a model watch and a master set of gauges to fit it, and every watch part made thereafter was measured against the corresponding model part.
In its first decade, the firm's work was largely experimental, but by late in 1852, Howard and Dennison finally had products-seventeen watches, made mostly by hand by brothers Oliver and David Marsh. One of these prototypes, a watch made by Oliver Marsh, survives in the collections of the museum.
O. B. Marsh's watch was large compared to other pocket watches of the time. The white- enamel dial indicated minutes around the rim and featured four smaller dials indicating hours (at 6:00) seconds (at 12:00), days of the week (at 9:00) and date (at 3:00).
The design of these first watches, eight-day movements with two mainsprings, gave way to a simpler one, a watch that ran on one mainspring for a little more than a day. Although superficially similar to English watches of the time, the new American watch featured a mainspring in a "going barrel." This meant a watch without the traditional fusee and chain to equalize the force of the unwinding spring. This was a watch with fewer parts to make.
The next hundred Waltham watches, built on the new model, took until the fall of 1853. The third batch of nine hundred sold for just $40 each, cased. An imported movement of the same quality cost twice as much.
Joseph Ives, a Bristol clockmaker notable for his inventiveness but lack of business success, had first introduced wagon-spring clocks in the 1820s. They had conventional weight-driven brass movements, except for one feature: The strings that ordinarily would have held the weights were connected, through intermediary pulleys, to the free ends of what looked like a wagon-spring on the bottom of the case. This mechanism exerted a downward pull like the two weights.
When American clockmakers began to compete abroad with European clockmakers in the 1830s and 1840s, they were reminded of the advantages of spring-driven clocks. They vigorously explored various schemes for producing spring-driven clock movements without relying on imported steel springs. When one manufacturer in Bristol, Connecticut—Brewster and Ingraham—had considerable success with coiled springs made of brass, a local competitor, Birge and Fuller, resurrected Ives's "wagon-spring" design.
Birge and Fuller manufactured wagon-spring clocks from 1844 until 1847, when locally produced coiled-steel springs finally became available.
Made sometime between 1808 and 1824, perhaps as an experimental timepiece, the clock is a very early example of factory time control. At the time this clock was made, keeping track of workers’ hours was mainly the job of clerks. By the late 1880s, though, time accounting was mechanized in factories. Then the time clock, introduced to record automatically the times a worker entered and left the workplace, came to symbolize industrialization itself.
Benjamin Hanks (1755-1824) worked in Mansfield, Conn., as a clock- and watchmaker and in 1785 established a foundry there for casting bells and cannons. About 1808 he moved to the area near Troy, N.Y., and set up an iron foundry. His brother Rodney established the first water-powered silk mill in the United States in 1810.
Reference: David Todd and Richard Perlman, “An Early Factory Clock by Benjamin & Truman Hanks,” Bulletin of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (February 1997): 21-29.
Stem winding watches were invented by a French clock maker in 1842 and patented in Europe in 1845. Before this time a key was necessary to wind a watch mechanism.
Last year, a young Canadian inventor, after being shunned by investors, launched a fundraising campaign for his idea on the crowd-sourcing website Kickstarter. What happened next was unprecedented.
Backers of the Pebble, a watch designed to display real-time messages sent to a smartphone, pledged upwards of $10 million within a month, making it the most highly crowd-funded project ever. With more than 275,000 units sold, the surprising phenomenon proved that mainstream consumers were more than ready to strap on a smart watch. The Dick Tracys of the world, it seemed, would soon have plenty of quality options.
Rumors of an Apple iWatch had already been swirling for some time and by July 2013, just about all of major electronic manufacturers, including Google, Microsoft and Toshiba, had similar projects in the works, according to the business publication Quartz. Samsung, eager to leapfrog its competitors in introducing a category-defining product (previous efforts by Microsoft and Sony were utter flops), rushed out with the Galaxy Gear, on the Android operating system. Prominent reviewers of the device panned it for being expensive and clunky to wear while only allowing very limited app functionality. Tech blog Gizmodo called it a "pain in the wrist" for offering little practicality beyond being an "easier-to-assess relay point between you and your phone." The buying public didn't exactly fall in love with the user experience either, as more than 30 percent of purchases made at Best Buy were ultimately brought back.
Only the Pebble, in its modest ambitions, can claim, arguably, to have appeased the masses. A report in the technology publication The Verge credits the project's success to its low-cost simplicity; it does a good job of displaying messages and integrating a few bonus enhancements like water resistance and pre-loaded exercise apps to augment the use of your smartphone without overreaching, and thus, disappointing its users. But if that's the case, can't the same minimal functionality be implemented into a more compact form of wearable technology that's actually comfortable, like say, a ring?
An upstart team of engineers out of Chennai, India, recently completed a successful Indiegogo campaign for what they claim will be the world’s first smart ring. Measuring 13 millimeters wide and 4 millimeters thick, the developers say the waterproof "Smarty Ring" will come with a monochrome LED screen that, when paired with a smartphone via low power bluetooth, can display notifications such as incoming calls, text and email messages. It can even be synced to send real-time updates from the user's Facebook, Twitter, Hangouts and Skype accounts.
The project page boasts several additional features, such as the ability to use the ring as a remote control panel for many smartphone functions, like activating the camera, controlling music playback and switching to a different Smarty Ring user profile. The Smarty Ring was designed to be an anti-theft device as well, allowing wearers to track their connected devices. The ring sounds an alert if the person is more than 30 meters away from his or her phone. Compatible with Android phones and iPhones, the finished product will have a built-in app to set up many of these tasks, as well as the ability to adjust the screen brightness, clock and volume.
Now, judging from the lack of concrete specifics, there's every reason to be skeptical in regards to whether the concept will actually ever make it onto anyone's finger. A promotional video shows only mocks of the ring, superimposed over a series of stock photos. And while the developers admit that the images are merely conceptual depictions and that they've only recently “finalized the feasible prototype model to achieve the functions,” what's been revealed is far too vague to assure buyers that these makers can actually deliver as advertised. The most dubious of these promises? A rechargeable 22 milliampere-hour battery that lasts all day, yet shouldn't weigh more than a few grams.
"I'm not sure how you promise things like 24-hour battery life without having built a physical version of the gadget...but there you go," wrote Mike Wehner, editor of the The Unofficial Apple Weblog.
The only official statement to the media on the project, it appears, comes from Smarty Ring's head of marketing, Karthik Kumar, who only describes the project, to ABC News, as a technology that's "high-tech as well as high-fashion wearable jewelry for [people] who love to wear rings and won't wear a watch."
But for those who are interested enough to take a risk, the developers are taking pre-orders for the Smarty Ring on its website. Shipments are scheduled to go out April 2014.