• Important Executive Director Announcement from the NAWCC

    The NAWCC Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mr. Rory McEvoy has been named Executive Director of the NAWCC. Rory is an internationally renowned horological scholar and comes to the NAWCC with strong credentials that solidly align with our education, fundraising, and membership growth objectives. He has a postgraduate degree in the conservation and restoration of antique clocks from West Dean College, and throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to handle some of the world’s most important horological artifacts, including longitude timekeepers by Harrison, Kendall, and Mudge.

    Rory formerly worked as Curator of Horology at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, where his role included day-to-day management of research and digitization projects, writing, public speaking, conservation, convening conferences, exhibition work, and development of acquisition/disposal and collection care policies. In addition, he has worked as a horological specialist at Bonhams in London, where he cataloged and handled many rare timepieces and built important relationships with collectors, buyers, and sellers. Most recently, Rory has used his talents to share his love of horology at the university level by teaching horological theory, history, and the practical repair and making of clocks and watches at Birmingham City University.

    Rory is a British citizen and currently resides in the UK. Pre-COVID-19, Rory and his wife, Kaai, visited HQ in Columbia, Pennsylvania, where they met with staff, spent time in the Museum and Library & Research Center, and toured the area. Rory and Kaai will be relocating to the area as soon as the immigration challenges and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 permit.

    Some of you may already be familiar with Rory as he is also a well-known author and lecturer. His recent publications include the book Harrison Decoded: Towards a Perfect Pendulum Clock, which he edited with Jonathan Betts, and the article “George Graham and the Orrery” in the journal Nuncius.

    Until Rory’s relocation to the United States is complete, he will be working closely with an on-boarding team assembled by the NAWCC Board of Directors to introduce him to the opportunities and challenges before us and to ensure a smooth transition. Rory will be participating in strategic and financial planning immediately, which will allow him to hit the ground running when he arrives in Columbia

    You can read more about Rory McEvoy and this exciting announcement in the upcoming March/April issue of the Watch & Clock Bulletin.

    Please join the entire Board and staff in welcoming Rory to the NAWCC community.

E. Howard & Co. ca. 1880:

PapaLouies

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I've been unable to find any information suggesting this watch was approved for Railroad service.
I think it more than fits the 15 jewel standard up to 1894. Any information from the Railroad Gurus will be helpful.
Regards, P/L
 

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and I didn't say it but nice watch Papa!



Rob
 

Clint Geller

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PL, your particular movement is the highest grade movement offered by EH&Co when it was made in 1879-81. It is what only a few years later would have been called a "Grade 7," defined by nickel plates, stem winding and pendant setting, Reed's whiplash regulator, and adjustments to isochronism, temperature and six positions. It is very most definitely railroad grade. Nice looking box hinged case too. Is it 18K and "EH&Co" as well? Please show us a bit more of it.
 
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Bila

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A Fantastic looking Watch and that is a nice piece of info. Also a debatable piece though regarding the Louisville & Nashville R.R Inspectors interpretation, considering what other info is about for other lines and what was actually used on some of them. Once again it just shows how wide of a variance in interpretations occurred regarding the Subject of "Inspection Service Rules" and what was actually inplemented across the Railroads.
 

johnbscott

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Railroad grade, indeed, but I would not take such a precious item anywhere near a locomotive. Perhaps the Conductor of a principal mainline passenger train might have used such a watch, at least in part for show, but I really doubt whether there would have been many practical railroad men who would have afforded such a watch. After all, the watch, when made, was "fit to present to the President of the United States" (to quote a statement said to have been made by Edward Howard, in 1863).

The President of the railroad might have carried such a watch, of course, but his duties would not have involved adherence to the requirements of time service.
 

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Railroad grade, indeed, but I would not take such a precious item anywhere near a locomotive. Perhaps the Conductor of a principal mainline passenger train might have used such a watch, at least in part for show, but I really doubt whether there would have been many practical railroad men who would have afforded such a watch. After all, the watch, when made, was "fit to present to the President of the United States" (to quote a statement said to have been made by Edward Howard, in 1863).

The President of the railroad might have carried such a watch, of course, but his duties would not have involved adherence to the requirements of time service.
Well, perhaps not in a heavy gold case, John. However, Greg Frauenhoff has shared research indicating that a surprising number of E. Howard & Co. watches were used on some railroads. If Greg sees this post, perhaps he will respond here.
 
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Clint Geller

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FWIW, serial numbers of some Howards used by Engineers on the CB&Q in 1890:

207616, 210946, 215748, 310433, 215764, 302457, 301211, 16987, 301873, 304106, 212643, 303062, 304082, 303962

These were used by firemen:

206614, 21711, 209286, 213711, 210502, 207756
Three hunters and eleven open face watches for the engineers, six hunters for the firemen. The hunters were all earlier than the open face watches. All are N Size, no L Size. Interesting patterns. Without retrieving my cumbersome set of photocopied handwritten Howard factory records and poring over them, I can't tell which grades these movements were, but they were all 15 jewel 3/4 plate movements.
 
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Clint Geller

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Well, to my knowledge, E. Howard & Co. never extensively advertised their watches for railroad service like the E. Howard Watch Co. did in a later period. EH&Co primarily courted the luxury market, and they also had conservative jeweling practices. The ad PL posted may be the only ad of which I am aware promoting EH&Co watches for railroad service. So I think this may explain the relative lack of interest in EH&Co watches among railroad watch collectors generally, though Ed and Kent can speak for themselves specifically. Nevertheless, a fair number of railroad men apparently were drawn to the reputation of EH&Co watches. Harold Visser and I did guest-publish one article on EH&Co watches for Ed and Kent in the Railroader's Corner, in which we discussed Howard's rare "RR" marked movements.
 
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johnbscott

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As has been recognised, my comments, above, were written specifically in respect of the particular EH&Co watch under consideration, here. My assumption is that its case is highly decorative and made of gold.

We are all aware that Ball commissioned standard watches for railroad use. Many of these were Brotherhood-marked and special Ball-marked dials and special hands to the design of Ball were applied to the EH&Co movements. So EH&Co watches are likely to have been used on railroads, by practical railroaders. It would be interesting to know more about the casing of those watches, but there is photographic evidence that a good proportion of them were, indeed, cased in gold.

In the heyday of railroads, they were operated by a body of men second to none. Amongst them would have been many an individual who would have wanted to be at the top of his game. Time Service requirements were of utmost importance for train operations. A man keen to excel might well have considered that carrying a prestige watch would be a means to that end. In fact, much of the advertising we see for railroad watches panders to such a desire. We should also remember, however, that our man might have worn his gold Howard only to church and lodge meetings, preferring to carry his Waltham or his Hampden on the trains.

Many of us know quite a lot about the various technical aspects of railroad watches. We might be in a position to judge, between differing makes of watch, as to which would be most likely to be reliable timekeepers in railroad service. However, we do not know whether such technical knowledge was widespread amongst railroaders.

It seems quite likely that reputation, alone, influenced a good proportion of watch purchases by railroaders. A favourable reputation might be built from actual experience, from strategic advertising or from a combination of both. It is fairly clear, by the way, that some of the watches did not fully match the claims that were made for them. We must also remember that commercial arrangements and jeweller preferences as to maintainability would have been included amongst the range of influencing factors.

With so may things to consider there is plenty of interest for us all.
 
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thesnark17

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Many of us know quite a lot about the various technical aspects of railroad watches. We might be in a position to judge, between differing makes of watch, as to which would be most likely to be reliable timekeepers in railroad service. However, we do not know whether such technical knowledge was widespread amongst railroaders.

It seems quite likely that reputation, alone, influenced a good proportion of watch purchases by railroaders. A favourable reputation might be built from actual experience, from strategic advertising or from a combination of both. It is fairly clear, by the way, that some of the watches did not fully match the claims that were made for them. We must also remember that commercial arrangements and jeweller preferences as to maintainability would have been included amongst the range of influencing factors.

With so may things to consider there is plenty of interest for us all.
I would be very interested in seeing these judgments on reliability, and in hearing about relative difficulties maintaining watches in RR service, &c. It sounds like a fascinating topic!

The relatively little information I have seen on the topic just makes me want more.
 

PapaLouies

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March 2, 1898.
Please note "Time Service Rules" for (The Big Four), See paragraph 10.
"therefore the company will require all new watches going into service to be of the highest grades, which quality is represented by the " Howard Nickel, 18 size, New 1895 Model;"
1897_Dec_Big_4_Time_Service_Rules[1].JPG
Regards, P/L
 

Clint Geller

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As has been recognised, my comments, above, were written specifically in respect of the particular EH&Co watch under consideration, here. My assumption is that its case is highly decorative and made of gold.

We are all aware that Ball commissioned standard watches for railroad use. Many of these were Brotherhood-marked and special Ball-marked dials and special hands to the design of Ball were applied to the EH&Co movements. So EH&Co watches are likely to have been used on railroads, by practical railroaders. It would be interesting to know more about the casing of those watches, but there is photographic evidence that a good proportion of them were, indeed, cased in gold.

In the heyday of railroads, they were operated by a body of men second to none. Amongst them would have been many an individual who would have wanted to be at the top of his game. Time Service requirements were of utmost importance for train operations. A man keen to excel might well have considered that carrying a prestige watch would be a means to that end. In fact, much of the advertising we see for railroad watches panders to such a desire. We should also remember, however, that our man might have worn his gold Howard only to church and lodge meetings, preferring to carry his Waltham or his Hampden on the trains.

Many of us know quite a lot about the various technical aspects of railroad watches. We might be in a position to judge, between differing makes of watch, as to which would be most likely to be reliable timekeepers in railroad service. However, we do not know whether such technical knowledge was widespread amongst railroaders.

It seems quite likely that reputation, alone, influenced a good proportion of watch purchases by railroaders. A favourable reputation might be built from actual experience, from strategic advertising or from a combination of both. It is fairly clear, by the way, that some of the watches did not fully match the claims that were made for them. We must also remember that commercial arrangements and jeweller preferences as to maintainability would have been included amongst the range of influencing factors.

With so may things to consider there is plenty of interest for us all.
John, it is certainly my own observation that most EH&Co watches were indeed cased in gold, as are most surviving Ball Howard cases in particular. As for whether a railroad man would have carried such a watch on the job every day, I do not know. I can tell you, however, that there is abundant evidence that there were plenty of gold watches on Civil War battlefields, which were also rugged, dirty, challenging environments. I don't know when screwed back and bezel cases became the dominat case style on the railroads, but certainly by then, if not before, gold cases would have been uncommon.
March 2, 1898.
Please note "Time Service Rules" for (The Big Four), See paragraph 10.
"therefore the company will require all new watches going into service to be of the highest grades, which quality is represented by the " Howard Nickel, 18 size, New 1895 Model;"
View attachment 639354
Regards, P/L
The reference to Howard's "18 Size," New 1895 Model apparently means their N Size split plates, probably the open face "Series VIII" but also possibly the hunting case "Series VII" as well, but not the older 3/4 plate versions. These nickel movements all had 17 jewels and Breguet overcoil hairsprings, and all were marked as being fully adjusted to HCI6P. The railroads seem to have had an aversion to Howard's L Size watches, though some of Howard's "RR" marked watches were L Size Model 1869's ("Series V's") . The aforementioned Ball Howards, which came out a year or two earlier than the split plates, also had 17 jewels and overcoil hairsprings, but were 3/4 plate.
 
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johnbscott

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Papa, addressing your initial question, although I am not sure of the date of your movement, I think it predates the Big Four edict of 1898. Accordingly, your watch might not have been approved in 1898. However, being a watch of high quality, it probably would not have been rejected when it was new. That sounds negative but it reflects the fact that the standards being set by the railroads would then have been at an earlier stage of their evolution.

Clint, you have clarified that the railroads and the railroaders (and the soldiers) would stop at nothing when it came to the perceived quality of watches, especially those in time service. Gold cases are for show, not movement protection. Watch user status must have been as big a factor as, say, car user status can be, today. It has been recognised, before, that the pocket watch was the status symbol of its day.
 
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johnbscott

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I would be very interested in seeing these judgments on reliability, and in hearing about relative difficulties maintaining watches in RR service, &c. It sounds like a fascinating topic!

The relatively little information I have seen on the topic just makes me want more.

I agree that this is an interesting subject. Perhaps there should be a separate thread for it.
 

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Papa, addressing your initial question, although I am not sure of the date of your movement, I think it predates the Big Four edict of 1898. Accordingly, your watch might not have been approved in 1898. However, being a watch of high quality, it probably would not have been rejected when it was new. That sounds negative but it reflects the fact that the standards being set by the railroads would then have been at an earlier stage of their evolution.

Clint, you have clarified that the railroads and the railroaders (and the soldiers) would stop at nothing when it came to the perceived quality of watches, especially those in time service. Gold cases are for show, not movement protection. Watch user status must have been as big a factor as, say, car user status can be, today. It has been recognised, before, that the pocket watch was the status symbol of its day.
Yes, I'll bet railroad men liked to show off their watches to one another.
 

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Hi Clint,
Are not #16987 & #21711 shown in Greg's list, ( Series III, KWKS, used in 1890 ).
Regards, P/L
 

PapaLouies

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Papa, addressing your initial question, although I am not sure of the date of your movement, I think it predates the Big Four edict of 1898. Accordingly, your watch might not have been approved in 1898. However, being a watch of high quality, it probably would not have been rejected when it was new. That sounds negative but it reflects the fact that the standards being set by the railroads would then have been at an earlier stage of their evolution.

Clint, you have clarified that the railroads and the railroaders (and the soldiers) would stop at nothing when it came to the perceived quality of watches, especially those in time service. Gold cases are for show, not movement protection. Watch user status must have been as big a factor as, say, car user status can be, today. It has been recognised, before, that the pocket watch was the status symbol of its day.
AS I stated in my first post my watch was approved under the 15 jewel standard up to 1894.
The 1898 information was put on to point out many E. Howard & Co. watches were approved after 1894!
Regards, P/L
 

Clint Geller

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Hi Clint,
Are not #16987 & #21711 shown in Greg's list, ( Series III, KWKS, used in 1890 ).
Regards, P/L
They may well have been, PL. I was just going by Greg's Post #10. I can well believe that some Howard keywinds from the 1860's were still in service in the 1890's.
 
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Clint Geller

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With respect to the "RR" marked Howard movements previously mentioned, the factory production records list 65 of them scattered throughout the L Size Model 1869 (Series V) and N Size 3/4 plate (Model 1883 [Series VII] hunting and Model 1884 [Series VIII] open face) runs. 25 are L Size hunters, 4 are N Size hunters, and 36 are N Size open face movements. Three of the L Size hunters and 21 of the N Size open face movements are gilt brass, the others are nickel. All the "RR" movements were refinished between 1890 and 1894. Most were sold to C. G. Alford, a large wholesaler/retailer with its own bench jewelers, some were "sold" to EH&Co's own New York City sales office on Maiden Lane, and one was "sold" to EH&Co's Chicago sales office. The movements sold to Alford may well have been sold without temperature or positional adjustments, as EH&Co was outsourcing some of their adjusting in this period. In an 1893 ad, Webb C. Ball stated that his shop adjusted the Howard Ball movements:

E. Howard & Co. ca. 1880: | NAWCC Forums

A few additonal "RR" marked movements have been seen that are not indicated as such in the production records, but total production was probably fewer than a hundred. .

These movements are discussed at greater length in Harold Visser and my guest article in the October 2004 edition of the Railroader's Column of the Bulletin.
 
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