E. Howard & Co. Data Sources and Discussion Threads

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Clint Geller

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Overview:
This sticky thread was created to collect in one place all the most useful information sources for collectors of E. Howard & Co. (EH&Co) pocket watches, including attached articles, internal links to NAWCC Bulletin articles, other NAWCC Message Board threads, our own EH&Co Encyclopedia article, and various other external links. This thread includes information on Josiah Moorhouse, who served as the EH&Co dial room foreman from approximately 1886 to 1893, and the dials he painted. The private label watches made in the 1890s by EH&Co for the Ball Watch Company are included as well. In addition, relevant information concerning the Waltham-for-Howard watches was contributed to this thread by Jerry Treiman. Movements signed "Dennison, Howard & Davis," which were made by the Boston Watch Company, are not covered, nor are the extremely rare and important movements signed "Howard, Dennison & Davis," which were made by the BWCo's earliest predecessor, the American Horologue Company.

EH&Co Encyclopedia Article:
This source, on this website, provides an overview of EH&Co watch production including basic model descriptions, major features, introduction dates, and serial number ranges. EH&Co watch grades and unique sizes are also discussed. No images are included, but several links are provided both there and here to other resources containing images.

2002 NAWCC National Seminar On-Site Exhibit:
This source shows and discusses numerous both representive and rare EH&Co watches that were exhibited at the 2002 NAWCC National Seminar: "Boston: Cradle of Industrial Watchmaking," held in Boxboro MA. The work of the historically important dial painter and Howard dial room foreman Josiah Moorhouse is also showcased there. The proceedings of the 2002 NAWCC Seminar subsequently were published in 2005 as three separate NAWCC Bulletin Special Order Supplements, including Supplement #6: A Study of E. Howard & Company Watchmaking Innovations: 1858 - 1875, which is available from the NAWCC Lending Library.

EH&Co Production Summary:
The attached article, compiled primarily by Harold Visser, provides first and last serial numbers and approximate production totals, accounting for SNs not used and/or movements destroyed.

EH&Co Factory Production Ledgers:
The EH&Co watch factory records were bequeathed to the Smithsonian Institution by the late Dana Blackwell in 2001. A prior external link to a source that once provided much, but not all of the information available from the hand-written EH&Co factory production ledgers known to have survived, is now broken as of April 23, 2021. It survived for a time on the Wayback Machine, but it has now expired. The printed ledgers, with the exception of the first and the third, which are currently missing, remain accessible by appointment at the Smithsonian Archives Center. Information is available from that source for movement SNs 3,301 through 834,040, excepting SNs 8,961 through 17,000, which correspond to the missing third ledger book. (Watch movement production is believed to have begun at SN 101.) Much of the information provided in those records also is summarized in NAWCC Bulletin Special Supplement #6 listed above.

The factory records are the most reliable source of information for determining the production dates and details of specific E. Howard & Co. watch movements. On-line sources are less dependable. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that the nature of the information provided in the factory records is terse and variable with time, lacking many details of interest to modern collectors but which apparently were not deemed critical to EH&Co management for control of production or management of inventory. Three other points are important to make about these records:

1) Most of the serial numbers between 101 and 834,040 never were used. There are large blocks of unused SNs between the blocks of SNs that were used, and smaller gaps exist within the SN blocks that were used. Short runs of experimental movements also are known to sit astride some of the larger blocks of otherwise unused SNs.
2) EH&Co did not finish watches in serial order. Several SN blocks mostly were in production simultaneously, and movements were not always finished in serial order even within individual hundred lots.
3) While they are extremely useful, the production records contain many known errors. In fact, the production records are about as chaotic as the production practices they document.

List of EH&Co Direct Factory Customers:
Some of the information not transferred to the above on-line summary from the handwritten records was the customer, usually a wholesaler or a retailer, to whom specific watches or groups of watches were sold. The "customer" most frequently listed in the records is either the company's own NY sales office, or in an earlier period, Albert Howard, who was Edward Howard's nephew and the company's principal sales agent at the time. However, numerous other customer names appear in the ledgers, and this information can be useful for identifying case markings to particular resellers. The attached list, which includes first and last SNs of the movements associated with each customer, was compiled directly from the handwritten ledgers by Harold Visser and Clint Geller.

Resurrected Chapter 174 (Pocket Horology) Web Page:
The collection of Chapter 174 member research, much of which is relevant to EH&Co watches, was recently lost from the NAWCC website, but is still available through the above link.

American Horologue Company - Moorhouse Dial Webpage:
This link shows numerous examples of EH&Co dial room foreman Josiah Moorhouse's signed work.

NAWCC BULLETIN Articles:
The following BULLETIN articles are available to NAWCC members through this website:
  1. Clint Geller, “E. Howard & Company Watch Dials,” NAWCC BULLETIN, Vol 35/4, No. 285 (August, 1993).
  2. Percy. L. Small, "The Watches of E. Howard & Company," discovered and presented by Gerit Nijssen, in NAWCC BULLETIN #292, (October 1994), p. 563.
  3. Clint Geller, “A Guide to Cases for E. Howard & Company Watches,” NAWCC BULLETIN, No. 295 (April, 1995).
  4. Clint Geller, "An Unusual E. Howard & Co. Watch Movement," in Research Activities & News, NAWCC BULLETIN, (1997).
  5. Clint Geller, “Some Unusual E. Howard & Company Watches,” NAWCC BULLETIN, No. 310 (October, 1997).
  6. Clint Geller, “The Origin and Evolution of the E. Howard & Company Divided Plate Keywind Movement,” NAWCC BULLETIN, No. 324 (February, 2000).
  7. Harold Visser and Clint B. Geller, “Private Label Movements and Dials for Webb C. Ball, by E. Howard & Co.,” NAWCC BULLETIN, Vol.46, # 351, (August, 2004).
  8. Harold Visser and Clint B. Geller, “E. Howard & Co. ‘Railroad’ Watches,” in the RailRoader’s Corner Column, NAWCC BULLETIN, # 352, (October, 2004).
  9. Clint Geller, “E. Howard & Co. Divided-Plate Key Wind Movement Serial Number 349: First Run,” NAWCC BULLETIN, No. 364 (October, 2006).
  10. Clint Geller and Chris Abell, “An Early Experimental E. Howard & Co. Watch,” NAWCC BULLETIN, Vol. 49, No. 369 (August 2007).
  11. Jerry Treiman, Gene Fuller, Carl Goetz and Art Leibold, “Waltham-Howard Watches, Part 1: How They Came To Be,” NAWCC Watch and Clock Bulletin, v.60/5, # 435, p.399 (Sept.-Oct. 2018)
  12. Jerry Treiman, Gene Fuller, Carl Goetz and Art Leibold, “Waltham-Howard Watches, Part 2: The Watches,” NAWCC Watch and Clock Bulletin, v.60/6, # 436, p.479 (Nov.-Dec. 2018)
  13. Alan Myers, "The K Size Movement of E. Howard & Co. of Boston," NAWCC Watch and Clock Bulletin, v.63/4, # 452, p.422 (Jul.-Aug., 2021)
  14. Alan Myers, "The Ladies G Size Pocket Watch of E. Howard & Co.," NAWCC Watch and Clock Bulletin, v.64/1, # 455, p.50 (Jan.-Feb., 2022)
  15. Alan Myers and Clint Geller, "The E. Howard & Co. Ladies 1863 I Size Pocket Watch," NAWCC Watch and Clock Bulletin, v.64/4, #458, (Jul.-Aug., 2022)
  16. Craig Risch, "The Evolution of the Safety Pinion," NAWCC Watch and Clock Bulletin, No. 250, October 1987, p. 339.
Pertinent Books and External Publications:
1. Clint B. Geller, E. Howard & Co. Watchmaking Innovations: 1858-1875, NAWCC Bulletin Special Order Supplement #6, 2005.
2. Michael C. Harrold, American Watchmaking: A Technical History of the American Watch making Industry, 1850 - 1930, NAWCC Bulletin Supplement, 1981.
3. F. Earl Hackett, "The Numbering of Howard Watches," Watchmaker's Journal, (June 1958).
4. Colonel George E. Townsend, E. Howard & Company Watches: 1858-1903, Heart of America Press, (1982).
5. Donald R. Hoke, The Time Museum Catalog of American Pocket Watches, (1991).
6. Charles S. Crossman, The Complete History of Watchmaking in America (Exeter, Adams, Brown & Co.) Reprinted from a series of articles originally appearing in the Jewelers' Circular and Horological Review from 1885 through 1887.
7. Roy Ehrhardt and William F Meggers, American Pocket Watches, Identification and Price Guide from Beginning to End (1987) (a.k.a. "the gold book")
8. William H. Keith, A Family Tail: History of American Watch Making in Five Chapters, unpublished manuscript, 1883. (original in the Harvard Business School Baker Library), transcribed by Ron Price, Charles Wallace, and Jerrilynn De Kriek in 1999, edited by Richard Watkins in 2008. Copy attached below.

Relevant NAWCC Message Board Threads Discussing EH&Co Watches or EH&Co Watchmaking History:

Threads with information relating to EH&Co watch movements and/or dials generally (all models):
E. Howard & Co. ca. 1880: | NAWCC Forums

E. Howard & Co. watches - any good sources of info available? | NAWCC Forums
E. Howard & Co. Boston Pocket Watch | NAWCC Forums
Please Show the Most Recent Addition to Your Collection | NAWCC Forums
Scarcity of "Transitional" (No seconds bit) Dials on "L" Sized E. Howard & Co. | NAWCC Forums
E. Howard & Co. Dec. 1879: | NAWCC Forums
Please Show the Most Recent Addition to Your Collection | NAWCC Forums
Pre-Keystone Howard movement size question | NAWCC Forums
Boston Howard Watch Movement Weights | NAWCC Forums

Threads with information relating specifically to EH&Co divided plate keywind (Series I and II, or Model 1858 Types A though E and O) production:
Dial and hands for Howard Series II | NAWCC Forums
Early brands | NAWCC Forums

Threads with information relating specifically to the EH&Co Series III (Model 1862-N):
Request SN information and images of E. Howard & Co. Model 1862N (Series III) movements | NAWCC Forums
Howard series III | NAWCC Forums
A Howard and the missing E. Howard watch....... | NAWCC Forums
Guidance Needed on Recased Early EH&Co Series III | NAWCC Forums
Howard series III | NAWCC Forums
E. Howard Series III | NAWCC Forums
E. Howard Series III | NAWCC Forums

Threads with information relating specifically to the Series IV through IX (Models 1869 through 1893) 3/4 plate production:
E. Howard & Co. ca. 1880: | NAWCC Forums
E. Howard & Co. Question: | NAWCC Forums
Howard IV Keywind | NAWCC Forums
E. Howard and Co Pocket Watch | NAWCC Forums
E. Howard & Co. Pocket Watch | NAWCC Forums
American Pocket Watches for Export | NAWCC Forums
E. Howard & Co. Boston Pocket Watch | NAWCC Forums
Can You Decipher this Monogram, or Explain This "88" Engraving? | NAWCC Forums
EH&Co. Model VIII 3/4 Plate in Philadelphia 20Y Case. Original? | NAWCC Forums
E Howard & Co series VIII lever set watch | NAWCC Forums
https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/pre-keystone-howard-movement-size-question.179959/
Howard IV Keywind | NAWCC Forums
E.HOWARD & CO. BOSTON SIZE18 400808 | NAWCC Forums
E. Howard & Co. Series VI (M1874) G-Size Ladies' Watches | NAWCC Forums
E. Howard & Co Series IV Sales Paper
Prescott Models

Threads with information relating to EH&Co split plate (Series VII and VIII N Size, and Series XI and XII L Size, also known as the Model 1894, 1895-N, and 1895-L-HC, and 1895-L-OF) production:
howard question | NAWCC Forums
E. Howard & Co. Series VII Nickel vs. Gilt

Threads specfically pertaining to case originality or related questions re EH&Co movements:
E. Howard size N | NAWCC Forums
Pocket watch case- crown with 14K under it. Solid or filled? | NAWCC Forums
Recase keywind watches--how to tell | NAWCC Forums
E. Howard Series III case | NAWCC Forums

Threads containing information relating to the EH&Co dial room foreman, Josiah Moorhouse, and the dials he painted:
Moorhouse (?) Webb C. Ball Dial | NAWCC Forums
American Watch Advertising | NAWCC Forums
E. Howard & Co. Boston Pocket Watch | NAWCC Forums
Please Show the Most Recent Addition to Your Collection | NAWCC Forums
"I Got a Right to Sing the [Covid] Blues", but Let's Talk About Interesting Items in Our Collections | NAWCC Forums
Question on E. Howard dials | NAWCC Forums
A Question for the RR Watch Collectors | NAWCC Forums
Question on E. Howard dials | NAWCC Forums
Black Dials | NAWCC Forums
Howard "L" Size Conversion Dial OF Pocket Watch | NAWCC Forums
Great Dials | NAWCC Forums
Watch #5 | NAWCC Forums
Please Show the Most Recent Addition to Your Collection | NAWCC Forums

Threads with useful information about Howard Ball private label watches:
E. Howard & Co. ca. 1880: | NAWCC Forums

Threads relating to EH&Co. watches produced by Waltham (commonly called Waltham-Howards):

https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/waltham-howard-research.126865/
https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/waltham-howard-16-size-bridge-models.86544/
https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/waltham-16-size-split-3-4-plate.27880/
https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/12-size-waltham-howard.92153/
https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/a-possibly-unique-howard.130859/


Publically Accessible Image Archives:
The following auction websites offer signficant numbers of pictures and/or data about past sales of E. Howard & Company watches, or watch images from contributors. Certain other sites, such as Sotheby's and Christie's, do not offer as much past sales data, and Heritage.com does not allow one to restrict searches to past auctions, so that source cannot be linked here.

Jones & Horan:

Ebay Completed Listings:

Bonham's:

Other Image Collections:

Pocketwatch Database
 

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Clint Geller

Gibbs Literary Award
NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Donor
Jul 12, 2002
2,855
3,273
113
68
Pittsburgh, PA
clintgeller.com
Country
Region
EH&Co Model 1862N (Series III) Movement Data Table:

Attached to this post is a table of Model 1862N (Series III) movement observations with serial numbers. This information was compiled by Clint Geller and Alan Myers from visual observations of movements made by Clint, Alan, or the late Colonel George E. Townsend, whose notebook was consulted, combined with information from the surviving EH&Co factory watch movement production records. (In a few instances in which Col. Townsend's notes and the factory records conflict, both data are given.) The table was created to support a research project culminating in a comprehensive NAWCC Bulletin article, currently with the NAWCC Bulletin editor, which details the origin and evolution of the EH&Co Model 1862N movement design.

The table currently contains complete or partial sets of information about 1,193 Model 1862N serial numbers, which is about 5% of total Model 1862N movement production, and perhaps somewhere from a fifth to a quarter of all surviving examples. The kinds of information recorded include:

Balance wheel style and position (compensated, or solid gold, and whether pivoted over or under the center wheel)
Balance cock shape (stepped, or planar top)
Pallet bridge, or cock style ("crescent," "circular," or "yoke.")
Escapement features (escape wheel tooth shape [if known], manner of banking, helical hairspring, etc.)
Style of regulator (short plain, long plain, Mershon's rack and pin [types 1 and 2], or Reed's whip [types 1 and 2])
Plate finish (gilt, gold-flashed damaskeened, or nickel plated and damaskeened)
Patent markings (Mershon's regulator, Reed's main wheel, and 1866 plate design patent)
Case screw location(s) (dial plate, balance cock, or top plate)
Center wheel escutcheon style (scythe, trefoil, or none)
Top plate jewel settings? (no jewel settings, all screwed down settings, or 3rd wheel setting screwed down only)
Level of adjustment (isochronism only, isochronism and temperature [HCI], or isochronism, temperature and 6 positions [HCI6P])
Movement price (if known) from factory records, and Geller 3-digit grade code
Manner of EH&Co signature (1-line, 2-line, straight, or curved)
Miscellaneous features, condition notes, and data sources (e.g., Cole's escapement, etc., in the final column, denoted "other data")

In order to fit all this detailed information into a single table, the "master table," a very compact and abbreviated notation was required. So please see the abbreviations list at the end of the table. The published NAWCC Bulletin article will show examples of all the features referenced in the table. However, the master table itself is far too large to include in the article itself.

This table will be updated as additional information is obtained. The most recent update was made on September 30, 2022. Kindly PM Clint Geller with movement images, or respond to this thread, if you wish to contribute additional information. Your input will be greatly appreciated.

Alan and I wish to thank Don Barrett, Don Levison, John Wilson, Harold Visser, Ethan Lipsig, the late Colonel George Townsend, and several other people whom I am probably forgetting, for their information that made the construction of the attached table possible. Other data sources include the Jones & Horan, Schmitt & Horan, Heritage, Bonham's, eBay, and the Pocket Watch Database websites, as well as the Internet generally, and the print literature.
 

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