Most visitors online was 1660 , on 12 Dec 2020
Glad to help. I discovered this when I was researching my book on Civil War timepieces. I was a bit surprised myself.I think from memory that the nickel alloy process first was patented in and around the late 1830's in Europe, but was always under the impression that it as not used in the United States until the very late 1870's to the early 1880's, so there you go, another lesson learnt for the day, very much appreciated
Correction: I actually was referring to the 1862 Waltham trade catalog, reproduced on page 95 of Roy Ehrhardt's Pocket Watch Encyclopedia, Volume 1.The 1864 trade catalog indicated that the entire case was nickel alloy, rather than silver, as did the advertised price. I don’t recall exactly where “Albata” appeared, but it was likely on the interior of the outer rear lid. (Note the spelling of albata.) I have also examined Civil War era nickel alloy cases stamped with an eagle on which the composition was not marked at all. There weren’t a lot of albata cases, but they were definitely out there. Brass cases were far more common. I have seen plenty of poor quality period silver cases with silver plated brass cuvettes, but I’ve never seen one with an albata cuvette.
Albata is an alloy of nickel copper and zinc. Perhaps the cuvette of your case is albata and the rest of the case is Sterling? I was just having a private conversation along similar lines. In an earlier period, cheap, usually Swiss, silver cases with silver plated brass cuvettes were ubiquitous. Perhaps in a later period, albata replaced silver plated brass for the purpose.I have a 6/0 Sterling Crescent OF case marked “Albata” on the cuvette (which appears to be sterling also). So what is Albata?-Cort
Just looked at this source again, and it uses both alabata and albata.Apparently there were various products on the market during this period, including flatware and other jewelry products, made of albata. One reference I saw was related to the ad valorem tax rate for albata items. The reference named various items along with their respective rates.
Bila, what do we know about the time period of those cases? The huge price difference in the 1862 Waltham catalog between “albata cases” and silver cases makes it clear that there was no silver in those $3.50 albata cases. Spelling was less consistent in the mid-1800’s than now, so it is not shocking that some sources spelled albata differently. However, nowadays albata seems to be the accepted spelling, based on the on-line dictionaries. It is also not surprising that some otherwise silver cases were made with albata dust covers, just as others were made with silver plated brass cuvettes. But these were not the cases mentioned in the Waltham 1862 catalog.Here is a couple of photos of a case with an "Alabata" marked curvette and not the "Albata" mark as mentioned in some catalogues that Clint spoke about, also "Sterling" marked on the inside of the cover. Maybe a bad day for someone at the Factory
View attachment 591236 View attachment 591237