Dec 15,1897 Time Inspection Service Circular - "The Big Four" Railway

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by grtnev, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. grtnev

    grtnev Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Retired = Consulting Engineer
    Minden, Nevada
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    #1 grtnev, Oct 23, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
    I found the attached to be a very interesting read. The 2nd attachment includes a revised "Time Inspection Service Circular, dated 15 Dec 1897 that describes not only what new watches were considered to be acceptable for time service on the "Big Four" Railway, the P. & E. Railway, and to Webb C. Ball, but also what watches were to be grandfathered and still used for time service, i.e. 15j, both open and hunting case.

    Note: The "Big Four" railroad system refers to the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway and P. & E. Railway refers to the Philadelphia & Erie Railway.

    The following and attached are from the 2 March 1898 edition of the Jeweler's Circular and Horological Review.

    "Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers employed on the Big Four railway system has been holding secret sessions at the Hotel English recently to take action on a grievance that the employees affected by the time inspection service hold against the inspectors of timepieces employed by the road......The employees of the road who claim to have a grievance are the engineers, firemen, conductors and rear brakemen. These include all who are subject to having their watches regularly inspected under rules of the company. The engineers have taken the grievance in hand and are preparing to push it until the evils complained of are eradicated, however serious may be the consequences.......The chief inspector of timepieces is appointed by the railroad company. He is the only one of the whole list of inspectors on the system who is appointed by the company. The assistant inspectors are selected by the chief inspector. The assistants are jewelers, appointed in the various towns along the system.......It is claimed that inspectors frequently intimidate men by telling them it would be "best for their interests" if they would purchase a certain style of watch, or that the only watch that will pass muster at all times is the "official" watch.......The chief inspector of watches of the Big Four and several other roads is Webb C. Ball of Cleveland, He is interested in the manufacture of a watch known as "the Ball official standard watch," made at Lancaster, Pa. It is claimed by the men that there has been a systematic effort by his inspectors to compel them to discard watches that they have and purchase the Bail watch, and that furthermore the Ball watch passes inspection readily while watches of other make arc frequently found out of order."


    The_Jewelers_Circular_and_Horological_Re 240.jpg The_Jewelers_Circular_and_Horological_Re 241.jpg The_Jewelers_Circular_and_Horological_Re 243.jpg
    Ethan Lipsig, Kent, musicguy and 4 others like this.
  2. miguel angel cladera

    miguel angel cladera Registered User

    Jul 29, 2019
    Country Flag:
    Thank you so much for sharing!!
  3. Kent

    Kent Registered User
    Gibbs Literary Award NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Silver Member

    Aug 26, 2000
    Country Flag:
  4. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
    NAWCC Member Sponsor

    Jan 12, 2017
    New York State
    Country Flag:

    Thanks for sharing this. It does not surprise me that they acted like this.

  5. johnbscott

    johnbscott Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Feb 25, 2007
    Country Flag:
    This interesting documentation makes it clear why Time Service Rules began to incorporate specific lists of the new watches that would meet the inspection standards.
    viclip likes this.

Share This Page