• We are aware of the performance issues with the forum. These are due to problems with Comcast's shared lines in the Columbia, PA area. On December 15, we signed a contract to bring a dedicated fiber line to the forum servers. It should take somewhere between 30 and 90 days to install. Thank you for your patience.

Ball-Ham 18s 42270 ORT


NAWCC Member
Feb 25, 2007
I was fascinated to note the recent sale of an 18s ORT Ball watch. It was eBay item number 381688872050. Bidding has ended. The serial number of the watch is 42270.

This is the only ORT watch (16s or 18s) of which I have specific knowledge. There are plenty of Ball ads for ORT watches, but no known samples - other than this one, it would seem.

Readers will recall that standard watches were not required for telegraphers on the basis that they worked where standard clocks were installed and maintained for the purposes of time service.

Does anyone know of the definite existence another ORT Ball?

Interestingly, I do have, in my pocket, Ball-Ham 18s 42502 ORRS. Its barrel cap plate is marked with the number 42927, all other parts being numbered 42502. Tomorrow I will carry my watch in steam railway engine service, as I have often done in the past.

Larry Treiman

Registered User
Jan 18, 2009
So. Calif.
[EXCERPT] Readers will recall that standard watches were not required for telegraphers on the basis that they worked where standard clocks were installed and maintained for the purposes of time service.

Not exactly true, as you worded it! IF the telegraphers, et.al., were employed in an office where a Standard Clock was maintained, they were not required to have a Standard Watch. However, Standard Clocks were generally found mainly at terminals, major yards, engine terminals, division points, dispatchers" offices, and such places where train crews signed on for duty and were required to compare their watches when reporting for work.

That left many stations, signal towers, and other facilities where there were telegraphers but no Standard Clocks. Standard Clocks were usually listed in employe (working) timetables, in the facilities column, along with water, coal, fuel, engine turning facilities (such as wyes and/or turntables) and much more, opposite those stations and other locations that had them. Standard Clocks were usually indicated by "K" (for klock)! Actually, K was used because "C" indicated coaling facilities. I think K continued to be used even after dieselization, though I have not made a formal study!

Here is the rule delineating the exceptions to the Standard Watch requirement for Roadway and Station service (rule 17 (a) on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway System in their Time Service rulebook, revised to January 1, 1944:

Rule 17 (b) Agent-telegraphers, agent telephoners, telegraphers, telephone operators and towermen are not required to have a standard watch while employed in an office where Standard Clock is maintained.

So there you have it!. I suspect that exception applies to a minority of ORT members. And years of reading about railroaders in those jobs tells me that even those who worked where there was a Standard Clock often preferred to use their own standard watch, sometimes mounted on a stand, rather than use the "old klock on the wall"! Besides, they never know when the might be transferred to another station, one that didn't have a Standard Clock!

Sorry, I'm not a "watch spotter" (nor a "train/loco spotter"), so I don't recall any specific sightings of an ORT Ball, except a catalog listing (1902 Ball catalog) reproduced in one of Roy Ehrhardt's books. All I do know, after almost 50 years in this hobby, is that they are said to be the scarcest of the Brotherhood markings. Now, if I ever had seen a real Waltham 16-size, 23-jewel Ball, or at least a sighting verifiable by a good quality movement photo with all markings clearly visible, THAT I would remember!

Larry Treiman
Last edited:

Fred Hansen

NAWCC Member
Aug 18, 2002
A few years ago I was shown photos of another 17J 18s Hamilton-Ball ORT, though the serial number was cropped from the movement photo I saw.

In a previous thread on this board Jeff Hess posted a serial number of 208491 for a 21J 18s ORT. The initial entry is in a 4/1/2007 post to this thread … https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?14490 Perhaps you could send Jeff a PM and see if he has further info on this one.

I've also seen a number of loose ORT gold plugs for the 16 size Waltham-Ball, and have seen one or two 0 size ORT Waltham-Ball dials.
Last edited by a moderator:

Jeff Hess

Gold Business Member
Sep 3, 2000
I will attempt to dig through the collection today to confirm or deny this info!!



Forum statistics

Latest member
Tom Mcneil
Encyclopedia Pages
Total wiki contributions
Last edit
E. Howard & Co. by Clint Geller