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  1. #1
    Registered User dweiss17's Avatar
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    Default Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC

    As a member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors soon going into my 52nd year of membership, starting below with a few days apart, I shall post one page each detailing my findings and my experiences across the years of my long and happy time in this NAWCC.

    Our readers are invited to respond to each posted page during its next posting.

    Page one

    As a man writing this story in early September of 2016, in three months I shall be 101 years of age, and intend to live much longer after reaching that pinnacle in the life of a human. In October, I will have entered my 52nd year as a member of this horologic organization we call the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors.

    As a member of Chapter 1 and Chapter 190 and as a person who has seen the attrition of both members - and a number of former NAWCC Chapters in which I held membership …I feel it important that I share these many years of great pleasure I had in knowing; and to associate with my fellow members in the NAWCC – many sadly, have passed on to another world - and also in sharing the joy of discovering, repairing and restoring watches as components that were an important part of our horologic history…made by the American watch companies that no longer exist. And, my personal pleasure in writing about my years in this horological subject.

    My story starts in the fall of 1964, when Fred Breitinger (a member of our Virtual Plaques who have paid dues for fifty years of membership or more in the NAWCC induced me to join this horologic society.) In those years you needed a sponsor to become a member, after receiving NAWCC membership #8331 and in joining Philadelphia Chapter 1…I attended my first Chapter meeting. These meetings were held at that time at the Engineers Club in center city Philadelphia. That first meeting is etched deeply into my memory banks…walking into the entrance, you are met by a beautiful winding staircase that leads you to the second floor where the Chapter meetings were being held. While my memory is very faint of all the happenings at my first meeting with my fellow members of that period…secretary Ernie Cramer greeted me as I walked in and shook my hand and welcomed me as a first time attendee of the Philadelphia Chapter meetings, so did Robert Franks, our first NAWCC President. Franks was also a former President of Chapter 1.

    While I remember very little of that first meeting, in a true sense it started my horologic career; I was smitten with the camaraderie and the watches and clocks on the tables offered for sale among other horologic material. We broke for dinner, of that I remember nothing or what was served that first Friday evening so long ago. More than likely we had a speaker on some horologic subject and possibly slides helping the speaker in his presentation. Frankly, I discovered a world that I never knew existed and it would keep me deeply enthralled all my years following.

    Noticing the men usually brought their wives to these meeting nights, I encouraged Evelyn, my wife to join me at these monthly Friday night affairs. It proved to be a valuable asset to our marriage; she too enjoyed the camaraderie in meeting with the wives of other members at these meetings. Later, in moving our Chapter 1 meetings to the Holiday Inn on City Line Avenue in Philadelphia, from the Engineers Club, we grew tremendously. NAWCC members in surrounding states now had easier access to our meetings by using the highway. City Line Avenue is US route #1 and the key to our Chapter expanding far beyond belief. It was not uncommon for our meetings to have up to 400 tables laden with many horologic treasures. For dinner we had the downstairs banquet room and up to thirty tables seating ten people. We became quite familiar faces to the women who served as our waitresses. In our heyday, we had over 38,000 NAWCC members interested in the art of horology. Today, we may have less than 14,000 active NAWCC members across the human world; of course, we must understand practically any electronic device you hold in your hand will give you the time of day far more accurate than most watches or clocks.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC (By: dweiss17)

    400 tables at a Chapter meeting. WOW!

  3. #3
    Registered User dweiss17's Avatar
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    Default Re: Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC (By: dweiss17)

    Some years ago I remember reading how much money some of the NAWCC Chapters donated to the general fund of the NAWCC. Chapter 1 far outweighed all the others with $130.000 in accumulated donations.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC (By: dweiss17)

    I always enjoy reading your posts dweiss17, but have not really felt qualified to reply until now. I am 52 years old (A mere whipper snapper) and entered this world as you were joining this fine organisation known as the NAWCC. Long may your posts continue.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC (By: dweiss17)

    I neglected to mention to open the thumbnail post, please click it three times, it opens large type for easy reading.

    Page two

    We in this age realize the younger man or woman in this 21st century has many more modern electronic instruments to draw their interest, other than a mechanical watch or clock, while practically most homes in the early 20th century had a clock ticking in some room of their homes. And, we realize many of these younger people in their growing up years before the electronic boom had a wristwatch strapped to their wrist. It had supplanted the pocket watch their fathers or grandfather had in a pocket of their attire. In fact, when I joined the horologic crowd in 1964…all pocket watch companies had ceased to exist, it was no longer an American enterprise.

    Having much more to expound on this horologic bent…I must deviate to the fall of 1986, as a person with a speech handicap, stuttering, and a Philadelphia Chapter member of the National Stuttering Project and in being chosen to start a Newsletter for our Chapter…the newsletter was named “Speaking Out”, it went out to our Philadelphia membership, as well as forty other Chapters across the country.

    In one [Speaking Out] editorial I wrote about the many instances in which some human handicap was designated as a day, week or month to bring awareness to the American public in regards to that human handicap. My editorial relayed my belief that one in every 100 (statistically correct) human has some oral speaking problem. This included every strata of human life from kings, down to the child, man or woman across the world globe. And, that this oral handicapped should have a week named for that handicap…no matter your station in life…fully 80% escape the handicap as the child grows into adulthood, while the 20% now adults so afflicted, often will lead a life that affects friendship, family life, schooling, advancement in your profession or chosen life work, even to meeting the opposite sex, and into marriage and having offspring. We know of youngsters committing suicide because of this oral affliction.

    Two members of our Chapter took up my editorial thought and brought it to the attention of then Senator Roth of Delaware, who brought it up in Congress, and it was unanimous in its passing by Congress and signed into law by President Reagan in May 1988. Now every second week of May is known as National Stuttering Awareness Week; not only that…it took hold and every October 22nd, it is celebrated in many countries across the seas. This would have never happened were it not for my editorial more than thirty years ago.

    Back to my horologic life…in the summer before
    October 26, 2010, I paid a visit to our horologic Museum in Columbia, PA, and noted no place in our horologic chronology was there even a mention of who founded this horologic enterprise or was there a plaque with our founders’ names. Deciding that had to change, I got in touch with Markus Harris, telling of my idea to create a plaque featuring the names of the officers and members, who in 1943 were responsible for the founding of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors. Markus [our Communications Director] obliged and spent about two hours in our NAWCC Library researching the names of the officers and members who had a hand in founding this American horologic behemoth and sent the listing to me. Visiting a plaque making company in Northeast Philadelphia, I paid for a handsome Plaque featuring the names of our founding officers and members…that now hangs on the wall near the elevator as you go to our beautiful second floor that features our employee offices
    Last edited by Dave Coatsworth; 09-12-2016 at 07:36 PM. Reason: Typo

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC (By: dweiss17)

    It could make a grown man cry!

    I have so much junk [good horologic stuff] scattered throughout the ground floor rec room - where a large folding table is the recipient of many watches and parts in at least 50 cardboard box covers, and with other stuff scattered on a card table, plus two cabinets and on my desk…it adds up to more than 50 years of horologic accumulation. Proof positive, I am a total misfit when it comes to storing worth saving material.

    Just came up from what my used-to-be horologic workshop is/was. It could not have seen me sitting down before my work bench and start repairing or doing something to a pocket watch…for at least the past four-to-five years. The cause; the cartilage in my knees that took a powder and disappeared.

    Feeling much better since the five Hyalgan injections and one cortisone shot into my knees, and after that, waiting close to a month…everything took hold and I now feel at least 50% better than before - and me, brave enough to think I now could do some watch repair work.

    Well the short version is that I did accomplish. With my now less supple aged fingers in taking a stemwind Waltham model 57 apart for cleaning; one of the jewels in the pallet fork was gone (I guess that why it was with the fixable of my watches). Among this monstrous display of junk [good stuff] I have a lot of little plastic boxes, one holds a variety of the Waltham pallets…will take the arbor out of one, screw it into a good pallet fork that has both jewels and put everything into the ultra sonic tank, clean and restore the watch to running condition.

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    Default Re: Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC (By: dweiss17)

    Dan it makes this "grown man" smile. It is so good to hear you go down to your "workshop" and attempt to work on some of your watches.

    I have arthritis in my back and some hand joints, but have some medication that is working for me so that I can work on clocks.

    Just keep trying and I am pleased that the injections are making you more active.

    David
    David S

  8. #8
    Registered User Tyler K.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC (By: David S)

    Nice Dan! Will you post a picture of the watch you fixed? Do you think you'll try to resell it now, possibly on eBay or at a NAWCC convention? It's good to hear that now your back to work, restoring timepieces that were made even before you were born! As for the watch stuff, I kind of know how you feel. After so many years of collecting you wake up one day and you wonder to yourself... how did I get soooo much stuff??

    Although I've only been interested in watches for a couple years, I have cabinets that line the basement walls filled with watch supplies. My living room has my giant bench at it along with my most recent acquisition, a 1960's L&R cleaning machine with ultrasonic. I bought it from Mr. Capestrain, founder of Capestrain jewels here in Canton. He's 85 and recovering form cancer so he's trying to liquidate. What a relief it must be for you now that your knees feel a bit better!
    A world without time is chaos.

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    Default Re: Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC (By: dweiss17)

    Hello Tyler:

    Not so fast. I still have not put the watch I wrote about into the ultra sonic tank for cleaning. On YouTube I read how to make my own watch cleaning fluid for the ultra tank. Made some and will test it today, it should work well since it is similar to the cleaning fluid sold by watch supply houses.

    As for selling some of my watches, I would never use eBay, too many problems. there are other ways in selling watches or other horological materials.

    Once completed, I'll publish the results of overhauling Waltham stemwind #1002984, it should be great.

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    Default Re: Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC (By: dweiss17)

    Page three

    Also on this pivotal date of October 26, 2010, I presented our NAWCC Message Board with a new Forum…Members News and Views, thanks to one of our former Board of Directors, Mr. John Webb. Before this advent, there was no place where a member could communicate with another, except by NAWCC private mail on the Message Board. I am pleased to report we now have close to 300,000 hits on that Forum with 711 threads and 4586 postings. Also on that date, I delivered the Founders Plaque to our Executive Director J. Steven Humphrey and Markus Harris; the Founders Plaque now hangs on the wall near the entrance to our beautiful second floor that holds the employee offices, as well as some magnificent American clocks and lunch room area and other necessary departments that function in the business of our horologic enterprise. The Founders Plaque would have never become a reality had I not paid a visit to our Museum that summer. While the creation of the Members News and Views drew my attention due to the lack of a Forum where a member could openly communicate with another member. I also take credit and pride in creating this now valuable part of our NAWCC Message Board.

    If memory serves me right, in the year 2006 I joined another NAWCC Chapter of this horologic society. As a member of Chapter 1 since joining the NAWCC, I was looking to expand my association with other members in other NAWCC Chapters. It was in early 2008 that I had an epiphany and created the first NAWCC Calendars using the watches and clocks of the members of that NAWCC chapter. Starting in 2005 and continuing into 2006 and 2007, I had made spiral bound desk calendars featuring the photos of my two feline house companions, Frankie Weiss and the first Johnnie…both cats were of the female gender, no posing was necessary they were willing and beautiful subjects, asleep or awake. So using the NAWCC members’ watches and clocks to create the first NAWCC Calendar took place, it continues to today. They are sold at $10.00 each, with all sales money going to help the NAWCC funding.

    Before I post my further thoughts about producing the first calendar that featured watches and clocks; I must give some of the NAWCC members’ credit for pushing me to register Frankie Weiss as a family member and enlist her as an NAWCC Associate Member. Sending in the proper papers with a $20 check…in due time I received her membership card #167825. This was the first and only time ever that a non-human [a cat] had become a member of the NAWCC. It happens I never realized that all members had to be of the human species and not feline, since pets the world over are recognized as family members. Somehow, sometime later, the NAWCC realized they had registered a cat as a member of the NAWCC. I wrote the “powers that be” I was willing to relinquish her membership. However, feeling this was a [special] first…with a sense of NAWCC humor…Frankie Weiss was to remain an NAWCC member for a full year…since they did not care to return the $20 fee for her membership. Another great honor for me, being the only member to ever have a pet holding membership in this prestigious horologic society.

    Now back to the first NAWCC Calendar produced for an NAWCC Chapter in the year 2008. I hold a copy of that first calendar in my hand…the cover page features a magnificent pocket watch; the description reads enameled Hunter Model, 16 size, produced by D.H. Tissot during the Russian reign of Alexander II 1818-1881. When photos are added to this history of my years in the NAWCC, I shall post three photos of this work of unparalleled horologic skill; the cover photo of this masterpiece just makes the mind comprehend the artistic skill in the presentation of this timepiece featuring the Czar’s likeness, the back cover with family crest, the mechanism, with

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC (By: dweiss17)

    Tomorrow, Sunday 18, 2016, page four of this series will be posted. We wish to express our thanks to all the NAWCC members who take the time to look at and read these postings [memoirs]…that truly reflect the joy in my many years of association with the uncountable number of NAWCC members I have come to know, and to give a word of thanks for their support in being a member of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors.

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    Default Re: Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC (By: dweiss17)

    NAWCC Members: We welcome your replies,your thoughts and your years in this society, as well
    as any horological finds you may have made. STILL A LOT MORE TO COME.

    Page four

    Cyrillic spelling of Alexander’s name on the bridge and the really attractive and beautiful family crest on the back cover, I was happy to be able to share the magnificent parts of this watch in this first NAWCC spiral bound Desk Calendar with our NAWCC membership. The sales money from the calendars bought by the members…were donated to the Chapter to help carry on their business.

    In this paragraph I detail part of what I had accomplished In the early years of my time in the NAWCC, I was gung ho about clocks…The pillar and scroll clock version had a particular appeal to me and I decided I would build one in three quarter size, and use a Seth Thomas hour and half hour striking movement as my source of displaying the time of day. Some years earlier, I bought a large load of African striped mahogany in ¼”, ½” and in ¾” thicknesses to help panel and to build some cabinets for the large downstairs Weiss rec room. I also used this beautiful striped mahogany wood to build five bracket clocks and five grandmother clocks, all featuring the same Seth Thomas movement and may I say without boasting, each one created indeed were good to look at and served their purpose very well.

    In starting to write about my years in this horologic society, I soon realized I could not refer back to certain notes and postings due to a crash of my computer some years ago, and lost much material that I could refer to in order to date and be more accurate in the telling of this serialized story of my doings in the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors

    Sometime after I disposed of many of the clocks I had accumulated, and keeping a favored number of them; perhaps in my third or fourth year in the NAWCC; I then embarked upon a mission to explore the finding and repairing of pocket watches. It turned out to be my most fruitful period in this wonderful horologic hobby.

    Meeting a person who was a member of Chapter 1 at our Holiday Inn meetings, this member had an interest in wristwatches much deeper than in pocket watches and invited me to visit his home in Philadelphia, where he had a number of pocket watch movements he wanted to sell. (They were part of the horologic material he acquired in buying out several watch house suppliers that were going out of business.)

    Not knowing too much about what was good or bad in the art of acquiring pocket watches; I knew the name Howard was revered among knowing watch collectors. My
    true education and many years in the pocket watch world had started with this visit. Among other pocket watches I bought, were two Howards, one had a serial number in the low 2000s, the other, a serial number in the 24,000 range. Little did I realize I had just purchased two quite scarce to rare Howard pocket watches. One was a number II model, the other was a Coles Escapement that if I remember correctly had no banking pins, it banked on the sides of the escape wheel that had no club feet…it was copied by Howard from the English Coles Escapement. This buy of the watches played a big part in my further education of pocket watch horology.

    It brought to my realization there are probably many more scarce or rare watches to be found. In reading about American watch companies, their histories came into play with the knowledge that certain blocks of watches produced fewer models that would be collectible; and that some watches had more features [complications] than on the ordinary watch, either worn on the wrist or in the pocket, along with the knowledge that some watch companies failed early in their beginnings - due to lack of funding.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC (By: dweiss17)

    Page five

    Page four leads us into the history of the Adams & Perry Watch Manufacturing Co. and it is an important part of the watch companies that produced very few pocket watches - today’s watch collecting hobbyists have a great interest in the output of these no longer pocket watch companies and eagerly seek the watches that may bear the names of these watch companies from our horological past.

    Saturday, January 19, 2008, I published the story relating the finding of the Adams and Perry pocket watch #1585. And, with more than 33,000 hits following…Greg Frauenhoff started the serial number listing of these few known pocket watches on 12/11/2011…this date that happens to be my 96th birthday…the serial number listings now totals about 41 Adams & Perry pocket watches made by the Lancaster Watch Co. successors to the A&P Co. in using their salvaged watch material.

    Its finding was early in the year 2007. Knowing a pocket watch supply house was closing it doors due to a lack of business, as stated earlier; the wristwatch had become the favorite timepiece. The pocket watch was no longer in vogue, neither were suits with vests that had a pocket for the watch. The man, I knew from past years, in buying watch material was responsible for its closing and selling left over material and findings before closing its doors. After buying some watch material stored in cabinet drawers on the main floor; he asked, “Would I like to go to the basement to see if there were other things of interest to me?” Replying yes, we went downstairs to a large room holding other cabinets and some shelves. Looking around, in a box, I saw over 30 nickel [OOO] and [O] size wristwatches with hinged backs and starting to rot watch bands from the period of WW1, buying them at a ridiculous low price, next, looking at a plastic cabinet with little drawers holding various watch parts of no interest to me…however, in one drawer was a very abused gilt pocket watch with a horribly cracked no-name enamel dial held in place to the movement over the dial plate with a metal clamp ring…turning it over, engraved was the No. 1585 with the name Lancaster Watch Co. PENNA.

    I had just discovered one of the rare pocket watches named or called the Adams & Perry pocket watch; using the left over manufactured material and inherited by the Lancaster Watch Co., they produced according to the book written by Charles Crossman, (author of the Early American Watch Companies featuring a short history of each listed watch company), about 100-150 pocket watches in both gilt and nickel, the inscriptions in gilt were in script, on the much fewer nickel production, the name was inscribed in Old English.

    I cannot go into the full story of the progression of restoration of this [in my eyes] rare pocket watch here. Should you care to read the entire story, you can find it on our NAWCC website in the Forum featuring pocket watches; with full descriptions of what was done to further it into a pocket watch running in concordance to the time of an electric clock. However, I can report to repair its various faults this watch wreck was sent first to Florida and after that to Arizona for its need to refurbish certain parts that I did not have the skills to repair.

    Shortly after its publishing, I received an email from a well-known person, a watch repairman…stating his desire to acquire this timepiece. I had no thought of selling it so soon. However, his email described his want to complete the search for watches from each succeeding watch company that occupied the A&P building. It totaled four companies, and the repair cost was far less than his offer…A&P #1585 was sold.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC (By: dweiss17)

    Click on thumbnail three [3] times to open for easy reading.

    Page six

    My computer crashed quite a few years ago, and I am not positive when I bought the Howard pocket watch described below…I do know I lost a lot of my writing as well as photos of the pocket watches I accumulated over the years, many were bought from dealers on Jewelers Row in center city Philadelphia and most were movements only. My search for hunter model cases in coin silver, gold filled and gold included also the same in open face and cases, plus Silveroid or other similar metal.

    Around April 2008, I wrote and posted a story concerning the two Howard pocket watches I bought a number of years earlier from the wristwatch collector [mentioned on page four] during my visit to his home. One of the pocket watches was a Howard series III “N” model resilient Coles Escapement. Howard and his firm were into constant experimentation in the effort to create the best pocket watch possible and this model “N” was copied from the resilient English Coles Escapement that had no banking pins; it banked on a specially made escape wheel side that did not have the usual club feet seen on an escape wheel. It would take an experienced pocket watch person to realize the banking set up was far different from the way a regular watch banks. Howard made only 535 of this model that in his later thoughts, was a failure.

    Still not being an experienced watch repairman who knew what he was doing, I tried to read whatever literature I had about the Howard watch company and their years of production. One yellow covered booklet authored by Col. George Townsend and signed by him to my name, had many pages of the hand drawn images of pocket watches of the many various American companies who created their manufacture. Townsend, who did a tremendous amount of research into these companies, also was very artistic in rendering the many accurate images of the watches, produced by these companies, each accompanied by descriptive matter.

    (As an aside: in relating a little bit of information about the NAWCC members who were my friends and acquaintances in Chapter 1…it happens the Colonel was a close friend of Dr. Warner Bundens, whenever coming to our Philadelphia Chapter he always stayed at Dr. Bundens home in Woodbury, NJ. Sadly, during one of his stays at the Doctors home, Col. George Townsend had a heart attack and passed away. I do know he left part of his watch collection to Dr. Bundens; in a similar way, my good friend Dr. Bundens, a few years later, also had a heart attack. I lost both, a special friend and an acquaintance. I still treasure a letter the Colonel sent me concerning my need for a scarce, special click spring on an early Howard that needed a repair. I was sent eight of these springs at a cost of $8.00. This past September 6, 2016, I posted a saved obituary of Dr. Bundens passing away September 5, 1987.)

    Getting back to the Coles Escapement pocket watch, I took it apart and put it through an ultra sonic cleaning and reassembled and key wound it, the balance took right off, running with a fine amplitude and installed in a sharp coin silver hunter case that fit perfectly and fastened it to the case…suddenly it stopped. There was more than a simple cleaning to keep this scarce to rare timepieces running. Trying as much as I could, my efforts were a failure. Getting in touch with a master horologic mechanic, Bruce Aldo of Arizona, after some conversation I sent him the movement. Bruce in his observation of the banking mechanism decided the pallet jewels were not properly set to bank on the escape wheel sides. No wonder! Other repairmen who tried to keep a Coles watch running failed in their attempts. Bruce’s logic was simple…the pallet jewels were set in the wrong position to keep this watch running in proper fashion. Adjusted, the watch was returned to me, and the Coles ran perfectly.

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    Registered User Tyler K.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Nearly 52 years in the NAWCC (By: dweiss17)

    Congrats on getting the watch in working order (with a little help)! Will you post a picture?
    A world without time is chaos.

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