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  1. #1
    Dan Alexander
    Guest

    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co.

    Anyone know the history of how, when and why Illinois came to use the term "Special" in describing their watches such as "Bunn Special" and "Sangamo Special" Did it really ever mean anything;was it a play on a RR term; was it an advertisement gimmick?
    Dan

  2. #2
    Dan Alexander
    Guest

    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co. (RE: Dan Alexander)

    Anyone know the history of how, when and why Illinois came to use the term "Special" in describing their watches such as "Bunn Special" and "Sangamo Special" Did it really ever mean anything;was it a play on a RR term; was it an advertisement gimmick?
    Dan

  3. #3

    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co. (RE: Dan Alexander)

    I assume it was just to indicate an upgrade of older movements with well established and trusted names. Even in the 18 size watches, the Bunn was followed by an improved model with more jewels and better finish as the Bunn Special. Bunn was a name to trust and the Bunn Special was even better. The Sangamo was replaced as Illinois' top grade by the improved model of the Samgamo Special in about 1912 (if memory serves me correclty). Even Hamilton used the term. When the 974 was given a steel escape wheel and adjusted to three positions it was renamed "974 Special". It now met Interurban Railroad standards.

    Don Dahlberg

  4. #4

    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co. (RE: Dan Alexander)

    I think Don is essentially right. There are a bunch of other interesting uses of the word "Special" or "Extra" by Illinois and Hamilton though. For instance, there are a very few examples of the original "Getty Model" Sangamo grade which are marked "Special" or "Extra". There are even some Bunn grade movements like an 18s 17j Bunn which is marked "Special" on the movement. These, and other examples, were so marked because they were special or extra special editions of the normal grade. Hamilton has these too, like the 946 and 947 "Extras".

    Also, something I collect is private labels which are marked "Special" like this http://www.interstatetime.com/Broke/Slide_44_Big.htm .

    I think this is a great topic. Thanks to Dan for starting it. I would love to hear from anyone else with information.

    John Cote
    John Cote
    Past President, Indiana Chapter 18 - Membership Chairman, Chapter 149

  5. #5
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    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co. (RE: Dan Alexander)

    In my opinion "special" was used as an advertising tool/gimmick, i.e. Jacob Bunn touted HIS Bunns (no comments from Rick White) as "special"-as in a special watch!

    Jon

    ------------------
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  6. #6
    Larry Jones 98326
    Guest

    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co. (RE: Dan Alexander)

    Is the suggestion being made that Jacob's Bunn's are more special than Rick White's? In the good old days, this was a family show...... :biggrin:

  7. #7
    Dan Alexander
    Guest

    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co. (RE: Dan Alexander)

    Do we make anything of the fact that RR's
    (it seems) were using the term "Special"
    to designate routes or trains. Wasn't there
    a Santa Fe Special and an Illinois Special?
    (midnight special). I have no railroad experience but it seems that I've heard the expression in that connection. After all,
    the Watch Companies were so identified and
    connected with the railroads. Any thing
    there?
    Dan

  8. #8
    Alan Walker
    Guest

    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co. (RE: Dan Alexander)

    From what I've read and understood, railroads usually used the term "special" for extra, non-scheduled train movements, particularly those carrying persons of high public profile. On the other hand, they also applied that same term to unscheduled excursion trains.

    Myself, I don't recall at the moment any high profile express train that used the term "special" save one. Most of those trains used terms such as "Limited, Express or Flyer." Santa Fe's premier trains, in order of introduction were the California Limited, the De-Luxe, the Chief and the Super Chief. On the other hand, the Illinois Central did have one train that used the term "special" in its name: No.1-The New Orleans Special. It was that train that was involved in a minor wreck just north of Vaughn, Mississippi in the early morning of April 30, 1900. It was relatively minor in that only a locomotive, caboose, two mail and baggage cars and two freight cars were damaged, and that the only fatality was a lowly railroad employee, a Mr. J. L. Jones hailing from Jackson, Tennessee. To my knowledge, No. 1 was the only "special" to operate on the IC.

  9. #9

    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co. (RE: Dan Alexander)

    Alan:

    You've overlooked one of the most famous specials known (thanks to the song), the train with "a name like a cocktail," Seaboard Air Lines' Orange Blossom Special. I think that this train has even survived to be run by Amtrak.

    Kent
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  10. #10
    misterfox
    Guest

    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co. (RE: Dan Alexander)

    I'm pretty sure that Illinois used the 'special' designation for their six position watches......

  11. #11
    Dan Alexander
    Guest

    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co. (RE: Dan Alexander)

    That doesn't seem to be the case because
    there are any number of Bunn Spls of 5
    positions and the Santa Fe Spl and Pennsy
    Spl were of less than 6 positions even
    less than 5 positions.

  12. #12

    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co. (RE: Dan Alexander)

    Misterfox,

    There are also 6 position watches that were not marked special, like the Sangamo models 4&5 and the 17, Bunn from 1905 (see pic http://www.interstatetime.com/Broke/Slide_30.htm )

    JohnCote
    John Cote
    Past President, Indiana Chapter 18 - Membership Chairman, Chapter 149

  13. #13
    misterfox
    Guest

    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co. (RE: Dan Alexander)

    Dan, John.....
    Well I learned something, here.... Maybe
    'Special' was a marketing ploy.....

    Thanks,
    Bryan

  14. #14
    Dan Alexander
    Guest

    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co. (RE: Dan Alexander)

    Bryan: I think we all come here to learn.

    My guess (for what it is worth absent proof)is that the use of the term "Special" was
    a combination of shrewd marketing and a pyschological play on the term to connect the watch with the railroad.

    Dan

  15. #15
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Default Use of "Special" by the Illinois Watch Co. (RE: Dan Alexander)

    It's all soap sales. Newark and Fredonia used "New" and "Improved" and Hampden made free use of "New" in naming models. "Special" and "Extra" fall into the same category. However, "Extra" may have a little more substance. It certainly does when found on Patek watches.

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