1860s (?) E. Howard & Co. pocket watch

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by schaeffizzle, Sep 10, 2017.

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  1. schaeffizzle

    schaeffizzle New Member

    Sep 10, 2017
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    This is a pocket watch that belonged to my great great grandfather. From what I've gathered, it was made sometime in the mid to late 1860s. I don't think it has been wound in 100 years or more, so I'm going to get it serviced, since I'd love to see it working again. It's not like I could wind it even if I wanted to, since I don't have a key for it, but I'm sure I could get one pretty easily. The engravings seem to be of the Mauch Chunk Railroad (based on the inscriptions inside the case), but it could just be of any old railroad.

    Any additional info you guys might have on it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    Here is a link to some photos: http://imgur.com/a/rRbW3
     
  2. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 12, 2017
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    Very nice looking E Howard & Co Boston watch. That is quite a nice
    family heirloom.




    Rob
     
  3. Bryan Eyring

    Bryan Eyring Registered User
    NAWCC Member Donor

    Dec 11, 2007
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    Great example of a Howard Series III in 18K that you have there.

    This watch would have certainly been appropriate and accepted for RR service at the time of its manufacture (c. 1867).

    Mr. Dolon was a jeweler in the Mauch Chunk area, he would have been the retailer of this watch:

    https://books.google.com/books?id=S...KjAA#v=onepage&q=jc dolon Mauch Chunk&f=false
     
  4. LloydB

    LloydB Registered User

    Feb 24, 2006
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    What marvelous engravings of late 19thC commerce:
    canal, trains, shipping, farmland, urban buildings, the
    whole works... and beautifully preserved.
     
  5. Tom Huber

    Tom Huber Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Dec 9, 2000
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    If you are looking for Mauch Chunk, PA, it is now called Jim Thorpe, PA. It is the burial place of Olympic hero Jim Thorpe.

    Tom
     
  6. MrRoundel

    MrRoundel Registered User
    Donor

    Dec 28, 2010
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    Yes, it's well worth getting that watch serviced. It's a real beauty. As was mentioned, it is a Series III early E. Howard & Co. It has Mershon's regulator, which is always a nice feature. The case is really exquisite as well. I have never seen one by that maker/jeweler. If the case is original to the watch, which I'm 99% sure it is, that may be the earliest train engraving that I've seen on a case. You are very fortunate to have such an heirloom. Do whatever you can to keep it out of the hands of one who might melt that case for scrap-money. It happens far too often. That's a special watch. Enjoy.
     
  7. John Cote

    John Cote Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Aug 26, 2000
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    I completely agree with what Mr Roundel said. Be sure that some young person in your family knows what a great piece of history you have here and will want to keep it in the family forever. This is a superb American watch in amazing condition.

    The one thing I will say here is please do not rush to get this watch cleaned unless you are absolutely sure you know someone who is a very reliable watchmaker. Make sure the watchmaker knows you want the watch's case cleaned but not buffed. Buffing/polishing this case will take away a lot of value and once you polish it your can never...ever un-polish it. A watch maker who is not familiar with cleaning early American movements may not know how to clean the beautiful fire gilded plates of this movement. It doesn't take much time in a modern cleaning machine to make these plates look dull and lifeless. Please make sure that if you get it cleaned you find someone who knows what he/she is doing.

    Best,
     
  8. schaeffizzle

    schaeffizzle New Member

    Sep 10, 2017
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    Thanks for all the replies! The watch actually belongs to my parents, but they have no intention of getting rid of it for all of the reasons mentioned in this thread, and I certainly wouldn't want them to, either. Since it probably hasn't been wound/used in decades at the very least, it's not urgent that it gets fixed, but we would like to see it running at some point in the near future. Even if it doesn't work, I can't stop staring at the damn thing.
     
  9. MrRoundel

    MrRoundel Registered User
    Donor

    Dec 28, 2010
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    Edward Howard's mission statement (Probably not called that in 1867.):

    "My standard for every watch that
    bore my name was that it be fit to present
    to the President of the United States."

    Excerpt from The Story of Edward Howard and the First American Watch.

    I don't have an early Howard watch that was presented to a POTUS, but I do have one presented to a speaker of the assembly of a state in the U.S. I'm sure that's as close as I'll get.

    Oh, and FYI, the key that fits my Series III that's only 200 serial numbers from yours is a #4. So if you look around for a number 4 key, you should be able to wind the watch and set the hands. Just don't wind it and let it run long without getting it cleaned and oiled. Otherwise you could harm the pivots and make the servicing more expensive. Good luck.
     
  10. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jul 12, 2002
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    A lovely example of a Howard Model 1862-N ("Series III"). It has the early style of Mershon's patent compound regulator, which was only used E. Howard & Co., and I find the engraving on the case especially appealing. While such a watch might have been used on the railroads, I think it is far more likely that an expensive movement like this one, in a hefty gold case, would have lived in the pocket of a railroad executive than in that of a railroad engineer.
     
  11. kinsler33

    kinsler33 Registered User

    Aug 17, 2014
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    I love that mainspring click. Such a piece of machining...

    Mark Kinsler
     
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