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  1. #1

    Default When did silverine, silveroid, oresilver, etc., first appear?

    The pocket watch cases that are silver-colored, but not made of silver, and, have no silver content, are still very nice cases. The names that I see stamped inside these cases most often are, silverine, silverode, silveroid and oresilver. What exactly is this metal made from, and when was it first used to make pocket watch cases?

    The reason that I ask this, is because I recently saw an opportunity to purchase another open face Tremont Watch Co. pocket watch, and it is in a silveroid case. The remarkable thing about this, is that there is no visible evidence of other case screw marks in the silveroid case, except that made by the Tremont movement. Obviously, if silveroid had not been invented when Tremont's were produced in the mid-1860's, then this case may not be the original case. I suppose it is possible that the Tremont movement may have not sold until silveroid was available, but to me, this does not seem very likely.

    When someone selling an antique pocket watch states that the movement is original to the case, I always wonder - how many new cases has the movement been in? I would imagine that well-cared for movements can easily outlast their first case, and later be placed into another new, previously unused, watch case. If this happens, then there will only be one set of screw marks in each of the two watch cases, for the same movement!

    Jerry

  2. #2

    Default When did silverine, silveroid, oresilver, etc., first appear? (RE: Jerry Bryant)

    The pocket watch cases that are silver-colored, but not made of silver, and, have no silver content, are still very nice cases. The names that I see stamped inside these cases most often are, silverine, silverode, silveroid and oresilver. What exactly is this metal made from, and when was it first used to make pocket watch cases?

    The reason that I ask this, is because I recently saw an opportunity to purchase another open face Tremont Watch Co. pocket watch, and it is in a silveroid case. The remarkable thing about this, is that there is no visible evidence of other case screw marks in the silveroid case, except that made by the Tremont movement. Obviously, if silveroid had not been invented when Tremont's were produced in the mid-1860's, then this case may not be the original case. I suppose it is possible that the Tremont movement may have not sold until silveroid was available, but to me, this does not seem very likely.

    When someone selling an antique pocket watch states that the movement is original to the case, I always wonder - how many new cases has the movement been in? I would imagine that well-cared for movements can easily outlast their first case, and later be placed into another new, previously unused, watch case. If this happens, then there will only be one set of screw marks in each of the two watch cases, for the same movement!

    Jerry

  3. #3
    Registered User RON in PA's Avatar
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    Default When did silverine, silveroid, oresilver, etc., first appear? (RE: Jerry Bryant)

    Jerry, you are correct, there is no way to determine if a watch bought in 1870 was recased with a new case in 1895. Watches were sold as movements to be cased by the jeweler that you bought the movement from. I believe that this changed approximately in the 1920s when watch companies started selling cased watches.

    If the designs of watch cases were well documented and an expert could state that a particular case model was only made in a specific time frame than we might be in a position to state that a 1870 watch had been recased because the case that it was in was only made after 1900. I don't believe this is the case (no pun intended) and have the impression that the knowledge on watch cases is sorely lacking, for instance, in the NAWCC library there is only one book on American case makers that I'm aware of.

    As to silveroid etc., I believe it is an alloy of copper and nickel sometimes known as nickel silver or German silver. IMHO it's more practical than silver, gold or gold filled cases and was the best material for cases until the advent of stainless steel.
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  4. #4
    Jim D.
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    Default When did silverine, silveroid, oresilver, etc., first appear? (RE: Jerry Bryant)

    Jerry,

    I can not give you an exact answer to your question but this info may help a little. The metal used to make these cases has been around a long time and is much more durable than gold or silver and is known by many different names such as the ones you have listed. A brief history follows:

    "Nickel silver is first known in China, and was known in the west from imported wares called Paktong or Pakfong (??, literally "white bronze") where the silvery metal colour was used to imitate sterling silver. It was discovered to be a copper-nickel-zinc alloy in the 18th century. In 1770 the Suhl (Germany) metalworks were able to produce a similar alloy and in 1823 a competition was initiated to perfect the production process by creating an alloy that possessed the closest visual similarity to silver. The brothers Henniger in Berlin and A. Geitner in Schneeberg independently achieved this goal. Alpacca became a widely known name in northern Europe for nickel silver after it was used as a trademark brand by the manufacturer Berndorf.
    Nickel silver became widely used after 1840 with the development of electroplating, as it formed an ideal strong and bright substrate for the plating process. It was also used unplated in applications such as cheaper grades of cutlery"

    A second source shows that it probably became popular after 1838.

    "After 1870 the most common material used was a silver colored metal called German or Nickel silver. This metal consists of an alloy of nickel, copper and zinc and contains no silver at all, but it does have a shiny surface. Although German (Nickel) silver came into this country (USA) during the early 1800's, it was not obtainable in sheet form before 1838 and does not appear to have been used as a substitute for sterling in trade silver until after 1850."

    Guessing from this info I would say most any watch made in the late 1800's on could have been placed in a ase made from this material. As the public became aware of its durability along with the lower cost it must have gained in popularity over gold and real silver.

    Jim D.

  5. #5

    Default When did silverine, silveroid, oresilver, etc., first appear? (RE: Jerry Bryant)

    Dates above seem to fall into place. Prior to use in watch cases, nickel silver was used in flat ware and hollow ware under the name of albata metal (and variations), similar to use of Britania metal. Being plated, it did not need to have visual simarity to silver.

    Roskopf watches began arriving in America around 1870 (maybe a little earlier) in stamped nickel silver cases, seeming to be some of the earliest nickel cases. Perhaps somebody has patent dates or other information to ascertain if there are any earlier positive sightings.

    Mike

  6. #6

    Default When did silverine, silveroid, oresilver, etc., first appear? (RE: Jerry Bryant)

    From Sheila Gilbert on the the Chapter ### board found here :
    Keystone Watch Case Co's Patent for the Silveroid trademark was filed on Oct 17, 1900 however it is also listed as being in use since Jan. 1, 1886 Claims: Watches, Cases and Movements.
    Sheila's post was in response to my query about an unusual Keystone Silveroid case on an Illinois model 2 KW made in 1886. What is unusual is the front and back attach via a bayonet like an slr camera lens. The case covers work very well; easy on and off and seems to seal tight but of course, keywinds were nearly dead by this time.

    Ron

  7. #7
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    Default When did silverine, silveroid, oresilver, etc., first appear? (RE: Jerry Bryant)

    JBI,

    Many times these recases ARE REFERRED TO AS SECOND GENERATION CASES.

    By 1900 SWs were much preferred over KWs. KW silveroid, nickel cases (white brass) were made much earlier than 1900.

  8. #8

    Default When did silverine, silveroid, oresilver, etc., first appear? (RE: Jerry Bryant)

    This was discussed in an earlier thread on this board (which a search will no doubt reveal). My impression from that discussion is that American-made nickel cases started appearing in the mid-1880s.

    Another term for an older movement being placed in a new case is "Original Recase."

    By the way, just because there are a second set of screw marks in a case, it doesn't mean that the movement wasn't originally placed in that case. Take a look at this 1917 Hamilton Ad.
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  9. #9
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    Default When did silverine, silveroid, oresilver, etc., first appear? (RE: Jerry Bryant)

    YEAH, THE MOVEMENT IS ORIGINAL BUT THE CASE ISN'T!

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