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  1. #1
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    Default US Assay Marks Warranted 14KP

    I have a nice Elgin grade 88 in a hunter case, the case has a stamped mark of "Warranted US Assay 14KP". The case also has a makers logo of an arm and hammer.
    I pose the eternal question; can anyone tell if its gold or filled. There is no brassing or wear to the case other than some dirt and minor knocks. I dont want to damage the case with acid tests or filing just to find out. I suspect the clue could be in the 14KP where P could mean plate and given the date of the watch is 1883 there is nothing to suggest the case is original or a replacement.
    Can anyone help please, I havesearched the forums and havent found any reference to 14KP.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 2008_03210033.jpg   2008_03210036.jpg   2008_03210037.jpg   2008_03210039.jpg  

  2. #2

    Smile Re: US Assay Marks Warranted 14KP (RE: Stevetheraff)

    Stevetheraff:

    Usually, the marking "Warranted" almost always indicates a gold-filled case. In this instance, the arm & hammer symbol is a trade mark of the Philadelphia Watch Case Co. for its brass or 14 K gold plated cases. See page 2 of a Philadelphia Case Catalog (with Movements) (courtesy of Duke University's "Emergence of Advertising in America" website).
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  3. #3
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    Default Re: US Assay Marks Warranted 14KP (RE: Kent)

    It appears to be a low grade brass plated case.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: US Assay Marks Warranted 14KP (RE: Jon Hanson)

    Thanks for your help Kent, the catalogue is particularly helpful.

    Steve
    PS your strap line should be 'that encyclopedia down in Georgia'

  5. #5

    Default Re: US Assay Marks Warranted 14KP (RE: Stevetheraff)

    14KP stands for Plumb Gold, and that is a good thing. It is not plated or filled, rather very pure within .0001% of the 14k mark. Hope this answer didn't come too late for you! -BG

  6. #6
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Question Re: US Assay Marks Warranted 14KP (RE: bgwalters)

    Quote Originally Posted by bgwalters View Post
    14KP stands for Plumb Gold, and that is a good thing. It is not plated or filled, rather very pure within .0001% of the 14k mark. Hope this answer didn't come too late for you! -BG
    Do you have a reference for this assertion?

    I have been collecting watches for nearly 40 years and have never heard of Plumb Gold. The Arm & Hammer logo is a well known logo for a brass or lightly plated brass case.

  7. #7

    Default Re: US Assay Marks Warranted 14KP (RE: Tom McIntyre)

    14kp is a well known for 14k plumb (,583) in jewelry circles.

    Never heard of it on a watch tho.

    Jeff

  8. #8

    Default he mark 14KP is found in the USA (RE: Jeff Hess)

    "At 14 carat, the mark 14KP is found in the USA, the P indicating ‘plumb’ to differentiate between the US standard and the international standard for 14 carat." Please see the penultimate paragraph at the link.

  9. #9
    Technical Admin Tom McIntyre's Avatar
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    Smile Re: US Assay Marks Warranted 14KP (RE: Poincon)

    Interesting. One is never too old to learn.

    However, I do have a couple of questions about this topic.

    1. How long has this mark been in use in the U.S.?
    2. It like all other U.S. gold marks is under lax enforcement, so a forged mark is quite possible, especially on an older piece such as the case in question.
    3. The case maker's trade mark or logo has long been associated with a low grade brass or gold plated case. Is there any information on the use of the Arm & Hammer on a gold case?

    I will be looking for this mark on watch cases in the future.

    It is curious that the word "plumb" would be used since plumbus is the Latin for lead. The name of the trade plumber comes from the use of lead in plumbing joints.

  10. #10

    Default Re: US Assay Marks Warranted 14KP (RE: Tom McIntyre)

    Steve,

    I agree with Kent and Jon that your case is most likely a plated brass case. If you check it's "flex" I think that you will find it to be rather stiff. Other things to try (which cause no damage) are checking its ring (solid 14k cases tend to have a rather nice clear tone, as opposed to a somewhat sour note) and its feel (gold cases seem warmer in the hand much faster than gf ones).

    As for "plumb", I've seen the term (or a similar one "plump") used in reference to gold cases well back into the 19th century. The term was used as in "Plump Quality as billed", meaning nearly 14k (actually 14K "plumb" or "plump" often meant 13.5K (13.5 rounds up to 14) to most US case manufacturers of the time). In contrast some reputable makers sold 12K (or less) as "14K", or non-plumb, if you will...things were a bit loose in those days, particularly in the USA. I can't recall seeing the makring "kp" on any 19th century watch cases though.

    Hope this helps.

    Greg

  11. #11

    Default Re: US Assay Marks Warranted 14KP (RE: Greg Frauenhoff)

    100 percent plated.

    the "plumb gold" thing (14kp) is much much much later.

    I have owned many watches like subject watch. Plated for sure!

  12. #12

    Smile Re: US Assay Marks Warranted 14KP (RE: Greg Frauenhoff)

    To add to Greg's notes, here's what Brooklyn advertised in January 1909 and then in October 1909.
    Kent
    That guy down in Georgia

  13. #13
    Registered user. Saiph's Avatar
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    Default Re: US Assay Marks Warranted 14KP (RE: Greg Frauenhoff)

    In response to Tom's inquiry about the use of the Arm & Hammer mark on a gold case, I believe I have such a case. While I do not have analytical proof that the case is solid gold, I believe it is because it has that well build feel but soft flex that Greg referred to. Also, the holes for the KWKS do not show a bimatallic cross section.

    However, the mark on my case is a bit different, so perhaps it is not affiliated with the Philadelphia Watch Case Co. It is a 10s hunting case that houses a Elgin Gail Borden that bears a dedication dated 1876. This puts my case only 7 years before Steve's 1883 date. Is that a long enough time gap for companies to murge, change product offerings, etc? I don't know, but I guess it would be.

    If theArm & Hammer mark is linked to the Philadelphia Watch Case Co. perhaps they used it with a differnt frame to signify metal composition, similar to the English halmarks. Just a thought.

    Doug
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails case_mark_1124.jpg  

  14. #14

    Default Re: US Assay Marks Warranted 14KP (RE: Saiph)

    Below is a "Philadelphia Watch Case Co." trademark of the "Perfection" "Arm and Hammer", Electro' Plate, from a copy of the "Trademarks of the Jewelry and Kindred Trades."

    Robert
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Hamilton#PhiladelphiaWatchCaseCo-Perfection-Electro-Plate.jpg  

  15. #15

    Default Re: US Assay Marks Warranted 14KP (RE: Stevetheraff)

    I have had these cases before and they are brass with a very thin gold plate. When you look at American cases and their marks it is essential that you pay very little attention to the warrantys. The government regulations regarding what manufacturers could stamp on their jewelry were very loose. You have to look at reality...at what is in your hand. If you look at your watch case you will see that what is in your hand is brass with a tiny bit of the gold plating left intact.
    John Cote
    Past President, Indiana Chapter 18 - Membership Chairman, Chapter 149

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