E. Howard & Co. timeline

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Jerry Treiman, Apr 7, 2017.

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  1. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    In order to present a little bit of historical context to my paper on the Waltham contract watches for E. Howard I want to present a timeline of the series of E. Howard companies, with the various mergers and separations. The sequence of companies below has been compiled from various sources, and some may not be correct. I would appreciate it if the Howard enthusiasts could help me verify or correct the following sequence:

    1850-1851 --- Howard, Davis & Dennison (Roxbury)
    1851 ---------- American Horologe Co. (Roxbury)
    1851-1853 --- Warren Manufacturing Co. (Boston)
    1853-1857 --- Boston Watch Co. (Boston/Waltham)
    ---- 1857 --- Howard and Dennison go their own separate ways ----------------
    1857-1861 --- Howard & Rice (Boston)
    ---- clock and watch businesses merge ---
    1861-1863 --- Howard Clock & Watch Co.
    1863-1898 --- E. Howard Watch & Clock Co.
    ---- 1898 -- company fails and is run by trustees
    ---- 1899 -- watch manufacturing suspended
    ---- 1902 -- watch business spun off as separate company

    1902-1903 --- E. Howard Watch Co. (Boston)
    1903-1910 --- E. Howard Watch Co. (Waltham) – Keystone-owned
    1910-1919 --- E. Howard Watch Works (Waltham) – Keystone-owned
    1919-1927 --- Keystone Watch Case Co. (Riverside, NJ)
    -?-?- what goes here, from 1927-1931?
    1931-1960? -- E. Howard Watch Co. (Lancaster, PA – Hamilton-owned)

    A similar thread for the clock business is posted on the General Clocks forum -
    http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?142003-E-Howard-Co-timeline
     
  2. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    Jerry, was the United States Watch Co. of Waltham purchased by the 1902 company or separately purchased by Keystone?
     
  3. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    It was a separate and earlier purchase by the Zurbrugg interests. Keystone bought the U.S. Watch Co. through their Philadelphia Watch Case Co. in April or June of 1901, depending on the reference. Ownership may have been transferred/sold to Keystone’s E. Howard Watch Co. in 1903 with the factory leased back to Keystone (according to Sanderson). Zurbrugg's dealings through his various companies, all under the Keystone umbrella, can get rather confusing.
     
  4. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    Tom:

    According to the April 1901 article below, the United States Watch Co. of Waltham was purchased at that time by the [main="Philadelphia Watch Case Co."]Philadelphia Watch Case Co.[/main], itself owned by Keystone - or at least by Keystone principals (i.e. Zurbrugg).

    P.S. I see Jerry responded while I was typing.


    [​IMG]
     
  5. Scott Tzorfas

    Scott Tzorfas Registered User
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    Jerry,
    Thank you very much for this informative timeline. I have some early Howard pocket watches and have some questions:
    1) When was an early divided plate E. Howard pocket watch made that has a low serial number (ie. #123 through 137)?
    2) What range of dates were series I and series II pocket watches made?
    Thank you,
    Scott
     
  6. Andy Dervan

    Andy Dervan Registered User
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    Hello Jerry,

    Zurbrugg purchased U.S. Watch Co. in April 1901; I have Waltham newspaper articles documenting and all the factory renovations. U.S. Watch Co. watch production stopped in December 1904 again I have Waltham newspaper articles to support the date.

    In 1903 Zurbrugg (Philadelphia Watch Case Co.) purchased Keystone Watch Case Co. and renamed the newly formed company Keystone Watch Case Co. In 1903, Keystone acquired the rights to use the name "E. Howard Watch Co."

    Production began very quickly on Keystone Howards using same equipment and employees; they probably had to acquire some new tooling and watch production continued to 1930. E. Howard Clock moved into the factory around 1980 it was known as Howard Clock products and continued there until 1999.

    Andy
     
  7. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Hi Scott - thank you for your appreciation but as I tried to indicate, there are likely to be some errors in my timeline and I posted this in order to solicit corrections, so please do not take my dates and names as documented fact. Some of my items are well-established facts, but others are confused by variable contemporary reporting and subtle differences between the recorded name of a company versus what they called themselves publicly versus what they put on their watches.

    I am not an expert on the early Howards -- that would be Clint Geller. Perhaps Dr. Geller will post a response to your question, but you may also find the answers in his paper on "The Origin and Evolution of the E. Howard & Co. Divided-Plate Key Wind Movement". This was published in 2005 as part of the NAWCC Special Order Supplement No.6 - "A Study of E. Howard & Co. Watchmaking Innovations - 1858-1875" by Dr. Geller. I believe this book is out of print but may be available at various libraries, including the NAWCC library.

    *********

    Andy - thank you for your notes.
     
  8. Clint Geller

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    #8 Clint Geller, Apr 16, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2017
    Thanks, Jerry, for your kind words. With respect to Mr. Tzorfas's first question, the earliest Howard factory records known to have survived begin in February of 1862 at S# 3,301. However, my information from P. L. Small (in a manuscript rediscovered and published many years later by the late Gerit Nijssen) is that Edward Howard bought out Charles Rice's financial interest in the watch business in December, 1858, during the period when Howard was finishing left over "Model 1857" material from the defunct Boston Watch Company. These 18 Size Lancashire Gauge movements, which incorporated some Howard modifications (e.g., ratchet tooth escape wheels and upright pallets) were engraved "Howard & Rice" on their top plates and had mostly unsigned dials. The last few of these 500 or so movements to be completed by Howard were signed "E. Howard & Company" on both movement and dial. It is not known how long it took the Howard firm to dispose of all of these movements. However, if Howard was already putting out movement S# 3,301 with a new three quarter plate design by February of 1862, there is every reason to believe that his divided plate movement production began no later than early 1860. It is in fact even likely that divided plate movement production began slightly before December of 1859, in anticipation of Rice's departure from the business. (Rice had held a lien on the BWCo's assets at the time of the bankruptcy, on which basis he claimed a large portion of BWCo parts and unfinished movements, which were ultimately finished in Roxbury in partnership with Howard.) The basic design for Howard's divided plate movements, which incorporated Reed's protective main wheel as a prominent feature, dates back to G. P. Reed's 1854 patent (subsequently reissued in 1857) and the Dennison Howard & Davis S# 5,000 prototype movement that Reed produced for the BWCo. It appears that Howard put that design into production with only a few modifications (the prototype was 18 Size and had a slow beat train) at his earliest opportunity.

    In an NAWCC BULLETIN article I published in 2000 or 2001 (I can't recall the exact date, and I'm not at home at the moment), which was subsequently updated as the first part of my book, NAWCC BULLETIN Special Supplement #5, published in 2005, I advanced the "Theory of the First Run," based on a body of indirect evidence reviewed in those sources. This theory, which is highly consistent with additional evidence that has come to light since 2005, proposes that Howard began his divided plate production at or near S# 101 shortly before December, 1858. It postulates that most of the first 31 of these movements were completed prior to the business name change in December, 1858, and were engraved "Howard & Rice." This idea explains why two of the three known divided plate movements with serial numbers below 132, being S#'s 113 and 129, are engraved "Howard & Rice," S# 123 being the known exception. (Howard movements were never finished in perfect serial order, so it is not surprising that there is no S# that perfectly divides all "H&R" from all "EH&Co" production.)

    So to answer Mr. Tzorfas's first question, my best guess is that Howard divided plate movement S#'s 123 through 137 were likely made between about November 1858, and January, 1859. (Although, given that S# 123 is signed "E. Howard & Company," I surmise that it may have been finished slightly out of sequence, just after December 10, 1858.)

    As to Mr. Tzorfas's second question, the majority of "Series II" divided plate movements, which I refer to in my own research as the Model 1858 Types D and E depending on their exact top plate configurations, very likely were made in 1861, though that production could have begun slightly before (at S# 1,801), in late 1860, and perhaps continued into very early 1862 (up to S# 3,000).
     
  9. Scott Tzorfas

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    Clint- as always, thank you very much for taking the time to answer my question so thoroughly. It is very gratifying to continue to learn so much about these early Howard movements. After Jerry's recommendation, I just started to look at the NAWCC library/publications and a number of your articles are posted. I did not realize this until now. I will start reading them.
    Scott
     
  10. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Based on some comments received so far, I would make the following corrections to my timeline:

    1899 - I would emphasize that the suspension of watch manufacturing was only temporary

    1919-1930 - I now believe that the Keystone Watch Case Co. continued to produce E. Howard Watch Co. watches until 1930 rather than 1927, as previously stated.

    Any other corrections will be gratefully appreciated.
     
  11. Clint Geller

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    Jerry, to avoid confusion, you should emphasize that official name changes usually were not accompanied by, or did not coincide with changes in which the products were marked. For instance, from about December, 1859 up until 1903, all the watch products of the company, other than most of that portion of the "Model 1857" material inherited from the Boston Watch which may have been finished after December, 1859, were signed "E. Howard & Company" regardless of the legal name of the producing enterprise.

    I'm not sure how your date of 1861 for the end of "Howard & Rice" was determined. Are you saying that movements signed H&R continued to appear until 1861, or are you saying that the name "Howard & Rice" continued to have some kind of legal existence until 1861? Small reported that Rices' interest was bought out in December, 1858, but of course, he could have been mistaken.
     
  12. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    Thanks Clint. I am not sure where I got that extended Howard & Rice period. I went back to review Crossman’s history to make the following revisions for the 1857-1863 period. Do you (or anyone else) know when they moved from Roxbury to Boston?

    1857-1858 - Howard & Rice (watches - Roxbury)
    1858-1861 – E. Howard & Co. (separate watch & clock businesses - Roxbury)
    1861-1863 – (companies merge) Howard Clock & Watch Co.
    1863-1898 - E. Howard Watch & Clock Co. (Boston)
     
  13. Clint Geller

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    Jerry, I would have only the same possible sources for that date that are available to you, and just now, I can't think of any. It is possible that either Mike Harrold's book, or the P. L. Small manuscript transmitted by Gerit Nijssen's 1999 Bulletin article on E. Howard & Co. watches mentioned this. Ron Price's book may give a date for this event as well, since they are Model 1857's - in fact, I might start there.
     
  14. Jerry Treiman

    Jerry Treiman Registered User
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    As for the move from Roxbury to Boston, apparently they didn't move to Boston -- Boston came to them. In 1868 the town of Roxbury was annexed by Boston, hence the "change" in location.
     
  15. Clint Geller

    Clint Geller Registered User
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    Yes, of course. My brain wasn't working. I've pointed this out myself in my book, and I've since been to the Roxbury section of Boston.
     
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