Early Ingersoll Dollar Pocket Watches / clocks

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Tpyx, Feb 10, 2016.

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  1. Tpyx

    Tpyx Registered User

    Nov 22, 2013
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    It is has been a little while since I last posted here.

    I wanted to try and elucidate the history of the very early dollar watches of Ingersoll. As stories go (websites and PDF scanned copies of very old books), Ingersoll started his busyness of watches by ordering some pocket clocks (pocket watches with small clock movements) from the Waterbury Clock Co (possibly the `jumbo' model from before 1890) and the first Watch of Ingersoll in 1892 was (it seems) the Universal Watch (a slightly modified jumbo, with a Waterbury 2 inch clock movement). There is even an ad for this gold plated large pocket watch on this NAWCC website (which I appended here below). Now where I am looking for clarification is that someone said (an eBay seller) that the first 1000 Ingersoll watches had the inscription "The Universal Watch" and the remaining watches (not sure how many thousands in that first year) had no inscription on them (they would therefore be looking like some Waterbury Jumbo watch without a name on them - I suppose). Is there someone here who can confirm or deny this? I have come accross a couple of Universal Watches on the web, but have not come accross any such watch (on the web) with no inscription (unless their models/cases differ). So it would seem that either there were no such model without incription, or that maybe these model without inscription had a different case, or for some reason they all vanished quicker than the Universal Watch.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    I have inserted the picture from the NAWCC website ad here below.
    Many thanks.
    1893_Feb_Ingersoll_Universal_Watch.jpg
     
  2. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    You could try asking the eBay seller what his/her source for the information is.
     
  3. bobbee53

    bobbee53 Banned

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    I have a little info, mainly adverts.
    This first is from the same magazine as yours, but published in May 1892. There is a bonus of a beautiful 14k Duber watch advert in this, though.



    1892 switchmans journal.jpg


    This next one is from Printers' Ink magazine, published September 7th, 1892.
    As can be seen (just), there is no name on the dial.



    1892 ingersoll universal printersink vol7 no10.jpg




    In this third advert from 1892, published in that years American Stationer vol. 32 (Sept. 22nd.), we see not only is there no name on the dialo, but that the subsidiary seconds dial has "moved" to below the "12" position.
    Whether this is a mistake I don't know, but the illustration is quite a good one.




    1892 american stationer.jpg



    Here is an article from the 1951 National Cyclopaedia of American Biography (vol. xxxvii).



    1 national cyclopaedia of american biography vol.xxxvii 1951.jpg




    Here is an advert for the Premier, published in the Scientific American magazine, February 24th, 1894.



    1894 feb 24 ingersoll premier scientific american.jpg




    Here are a few "Dollar Watch" adverts too.




    1897.



    1897 dollar watch.jpg




    Two more from 1897, showing what looks like actual photographs of the two dial variations, published in Cosmopolitan and Polyclinic respectively.





    1897 yankee dollar 2.jpg 1897 yankee dollar.jpg




    This last is a full page catalogue advert, dated 1898.



    1898 ingersoll dollar watch.jpg




    Cheers, Bob.


    P.S.
    Here is a court report from 1913 concerning the patent name and pricing of the Dollar Watch.
    Very dry reading, but informative.

    http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044105553614;view=1up;seq=162


    B.
     
  4. doug sinclair

    doug sinclair Registered User

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    The case paper from my 1905 era Ingersoll Yankee. image.jpeg
     
  5. richiec

    richiec Registered User
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    Gee, what quality, watch replacement for 10 cents, 25 cents for repair, ah the good old days.
     
  6. Tpyx

    Tpyx Registered User

    Nov 22, 2013
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    I haven't heard back (yet) from that seller, but after all I did not buy the watch(es) he was selling, so I don't expect an answer.

    Thanks a lot Bob for all the ads, it is more than what I asked.
    The second hand in the "12" position of the Universal is similar to a Waterbury Jumbo (that famous first watch from Archibald Bannatyne from 1889) I saw (online) but I am not sure if the case of the Jumbo is similar. I have seen a waterbury with a case similar to the Universal (though not gold-plated) and with the second hand at "VI", so it could be that it was a Jumbo too. Maybe the Jumbo had a few different looks from 1889 to 1892. Maybe the Universal had different looks or just dials. The one I have has "The Universal Watch" written straight. What is clear is that both the Jumbo and Universal had the same movement (not made all of brass) with no cover on it. 103_2173.jpg 103_2174.jpg
    In 1893 came the Columbus (initially presented at the Chicago exposition), with a movement thinner and made completely of brass and a different case to accomodate the movement with a cover on the movement.
    From your ad, Bob, I see that next came the Premier in 1894 with a slightly smaller case, then the Yankee in 1896.

    The period I am interested is from 1889/Jumbo to about 1893/Columbus with the Universal in 1892.
     
  7. bobbee53

    bobbee53 Banned

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  8. bobbee53

    bobbee53 Banned

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    More findings on the Waterbury watch.


    1881 Lee & Co.Waterbury Directory.



    1881 lee and co. waterbury directory.jpg



    1883 Lester C. Dole catalogue.



    1883 lester c. dole catalog waterbury.jpg



    1883 Waterbury Directory.



    1883 waterbury directory.jpg



    1889 J. Palmer O'neill catalogue.



    1889 j palmer oneill catalog.jpg



    Excerpt from 1889 book on businesses, concerning Wm. Weeden.



    1889 excerpt of william weeden.jpg
     
  9. Tpyx

    Tpyx Registered User

    Nov 22, 2013
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    Hi Bobbee, thanks for these interesting facts.
    It is however the Waterbury Watch Co., while the Jumbo is from the Waterbury Clock Co., and they were two different entities and
    made different watches.
    The Long wind is definitely a nice piece and so is the skeleton one.
     
  10. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
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    #10 PatH, Feb 13, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
    Tpyx, if you are a member of the NAWCC, you can access several Bulletin articles about the Ingersolls, as well as an article or two about the history of the dollar watch, that will help fill some of the gaps about the Waterbury Clock Co/Ingersoll watch history. Most of the articles include pictures of the early Waterbury Clock and Ingersoll watches.

    There is also a very useful book by Kathleen McDermott called TIMEX: A Company and its Community 1854-1998 that can be borrowed from the Library and Research Center. In this book (p54), the author says that Robert Ingersoll entered into an agreement with Waterbury Clock Co to buy 1000 Jumbo watches that were sold in the Ingersoll 1892 catalog. "He next contracted with Waterbury Clock to buy a smaller watch manufactured to his specifications. He then traveled to dealers to show this first Ingersoll watch, which he called the Universal. He quickly disposed of ten thousand at 85 cents wholesale and $1.50 retail, and his success encouraged the two parties to continue their collaboration." The watch continued to decrease in size and in 1893 Ingersoll sold both plain and Columbus cased models at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The book goes on to describe subsequent changes and additional models, as well as histories of both Ingersoll and Waterbury Clock, which are intertwined.

    In the Ingersoll catalog at that time, these "smaller" watches are offered in plain, fancy shell pattern or Columbus Souvenir cases in two finishes, gilt or nickel at $1.50 each.

    The September 9, 1893 Scientific American (p175) shows an ad for the Columbus watch and matching chain available at $2.00 postpaid, 3 for $5.50 or $18.00 per dozen.

    The September 16, 1893 Scientific American (p180) includes an item on the Columbus Souvenir watch and matching chain. The text with the picture is as follows, "An American lever movement watch which will ordinarily keep good time, and which is sold at retail for $1.75 is shown in the picture. It has a "Columbus case" of special merit in point of design and workmanship, finished to represent either plain or oxidized silver or gold. The chains to go with this watch are made of a series of embossed medallions representing the heads of Columbus, Washington, Lincoln, Grant and Sherman. These "Columbus souvenirs" are made by Messers. R.H. Ingersoll & Bro., No 65 Cortlandt Street, New York City."

    The book Time Telling Through the Ages by Harry Chase Brearly published for Robt H. Ingersoll & Bro. in 1919 also includes some of the history of these companies.

    I hope this helps provide a little background.
    Pat
     
  11. bobbee53

    bobbee53 Banned

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    Sorry for the mix up, I know very little about pocket watches!

    Here are those adverts mentioned above, from Sept. 9 and 16, 1893 respectively.



    1893  columbus am. sci. p.175.jpg 1893  columbus am. sci. p.180.jpg



    Another advert for the Ingersoll "Premier", from 1894.



    1894 hardware dealers mag vol.1 jan-jun.jpg



    An 1895 article concerning S. Schisgall's break with Ingersoll, and attempts at finding a backer.



    1895 jan. schisgall jew. circ..jpg


    This movement looks familiar in this cut for watches available to subscribers of the "Western Rural", from July 1894.



    1894 july.jpg



    This advert from vol.34 of the "American Stationer", July 6, 1893 shows a cut of the American Watch from Ingersoll, presumably the Universal model.
    This cut shows the chain and charm also.



    1893 july 6 american stationer vol.34.jpg



    An interesting snippet about the Waterbury clock from on board the "Maine", October 1898.



    1898 jew. circ. oct. waterbury clock.jpg


    ...and finally a link to the above mentioned book (thank you, Pat!), "Time Telling Through The Ages".
    Can be read online or downloaded.


    http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044018821603;view=2up;seq=1


    Cheers, Bob.
     
  12. bobbee53

    bobbee53 Banned

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    Excerpts from "The History of Waterbury And The Naugatuck Valley, Connecticut" by Wm. J. Pape, published in 1918.
    All concern the Waterbury Clock Co. and Ingersoll.




    1918 history of waterbury clock co 1.jpg 1918 history of waterbury clock co 2.jpg 1918 history of waterbury clock co 3.jpg 1918 history of waterbury clock co 4.jpg 1918 history of waterbury clock co pic.jpg 1918 history of waterbury clock co pic 2.jpg
     
  13. Tpyx

    Tpyx Registered User

    Nov 22, 2013
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    Hi Pat,
    Thanks for providing these citations.

    I should probably get a membership with the NAWCC, as as I am getting more and more into dollar watches and small clocks. Also that's possibly the only way to find more details about the Jumbo and the Universal (how many were sold and for how long and had they different dials, cases, etc..).

    So to summarize:

    It seems that Ingersoll first sold 1000 Jumbo in 1892 as a trial - that same watches was already being sold by Waterbury since 1899. How many of these were sold by Waterbury is not known, though Waterbury did not have as much success in sellilng them as did Ingersoll, at least that's what I read online.

    Then Ingersoll sold 10,000 Universal watches - the first real Ingersoll (in design) somewhere between 1892 and 1893 (years based on the Ads provided by Bob).

    Then in 1893 for the Columbian exposition at the Chicago World Fair he sold the Columbus (with and without Columbus written on them; I found somewhere he might have sold 85,000 at the exposition itself) and from the dollar encyclopedia of Townsend he manufactured about 100,000 Watches in/about 1892 and 300,000 in/about 1893
    while it is said that the first watches were around 1891-1892. I suppose watches are manufactured/designed months (if not almost a year) before being actually sold.

    So there possibly were like 400,000 Columbus (with and without Columbus written on them), 10,000 Universal, an unknown number of Jumbos (maybe less than the Universal), and the watches that came later were sold by the million(s) according to the dollar watch encyclopedia of Townsend.

    As to the question of how many Universal watches had the "Universal" written on them, or how many might have had the second hand at XII vs at VI is not known.

    Here is a Columbus watch - without Columbus on it and without fancy case. It is a Triumph.

    103_2185.jpg

    Here it is next to the Universal, it is definitely thinner.

    103_2186.jpg

    Here is an ad I just acquired showing the evolution of the Ingersoll Pocket Watch (not sure how accurate are these adverstisements, as the ad for the Premier in Bob's posting said "it is a stemwinder and setter" while the watch is obviously back wind and back set!!).
    This ad here is from 1900 I assume. It shows the different sizes, starting with the Columbus (?) in 1892 for some reason (unless that's a Jumbo - it is obviously not a Universal). The Universal might have been almost just like a `pilot' and maybe the Columbus was already on the drawing board in 1892, but then why ads are found for the Universal in 1893? Of course maybe the year starts in the Summer (like for cars).

    Ingersol_Evolution.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  14. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
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    Typx,

    As you get into dollar watch and small clock research (you'll find that many companies made both dollar watches and small clocks), I think you'll find that membership will be quite helpful. Just a couple of the benefits are access to all of the past issues of the Bulletin and recorded programs from various events.

    I will try to take some side by side shots of the various watches to help provide additional insight. It may take a week or two before I have time to pull out the watches and photograph.

    In the meantime, I found a model called "The Triumph" in the same Ingersoll catalog with the Columbus watch. There is no name on the dial, and the second bit is at 12:00 rather than 6:00. It was offered in a gold plated case with gold plated chain and charm. The text says that you could resell these watches for 2 or 3 dollars.

    Advertisements, sales brochures and catalogs are all excellent resource aids. My initial interest was in the Ingersolls' innovative and successful marketing programs. These materials often tell how many watches a year they were selling, and also introduce the new models. Although the ads provide great insight, the watches themselves, tell the rest of the story. It becomes apparent that there were changes to the models over the years, moving from large, cumbersome back set/back wind models to smaller stem set/stem wind - all with the same model names. Even within these options, you can find differences in the back plate - possibly most obvious in the Triumph models in the early 1900s. If memory serves, I have at least 4 variations. Additionally, there are many unmarked and private label Ingersoll models that were sold as "scheme" watches or special orders. All-in-all, I've found that these nuances make this a fascinating area to research.

    Pat
     
  15. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
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    Thanks for the additional posts, Bob -

    Pape's book is very beneficial when researching Connecticut clocks/watches, and industrial history of this period. Thanks for posting the relevant pages. As I recall, it includes quite a lot of information about Benedict & Burnham, the "parent" company of both Waterbury Clock and Waterbury Watch companies, and a variety of other companies that utilized the natural resources in this area.

    Also found the Shisgall information in your earlier post quite interesting. Another rabbit trail to explore! I don't recall hearing that he had been associated with Ingersoll before producing watches with his innovative patent. Quite a fun watch.

    Thanks again,
    Pat
     
  16. Tpyx

    Tpyx Registered User

    Nov 22, 2013
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    Thanks Bob, for posting more interesting articles and ads. I'll have plenty of bed time reading now... Interesting facts! And the pictures of these old buildings.. it is no wonder they manufactured such watches there. The Universal is such an odd shaped watch, but it looks great! It almost reminds me of some nautical instrument with the yellow metal, round thick window (dial), old solid appearence.. it could have been built only in such wonderful old buildings like these shown on the pictures.

    Here is another piece of the puzzle, thanks to Google... the 1894 patents of the case of the Columbus which in 1893 was still pending
    (therefore, on the dust cover of the movement the last patent date was 1891 and under it "Patents Pending").

    US520628-0.jpg

    seen here on the back
    103_2184.jpg
     
  17. johnnypocket

    johnnypocket Registered User
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    O.K. I will be the guy to open up a 2 y/o thread, but vintage ingersolls are still in style right?...lol...i can only find info on jumbos, triumphs and columbus as the early 1890's Ingersolls. I just picked up a back wind back set Eclipse (1891 patent on back of movement)...It is very large with ornate, i suppose engraved case . It was so unusual and affordable I grabbed it. It is intermittent as it appears to have paper dial raised causing second hand to stop , but it does run. Any one have any info on a very early, very large eclipse in a ornate case, backwind/backset...Thanks for anything you can provide.

    ingersoll eclipse.jpg ingersoll eclipse back.jpg ingersoll eclipse back wind movement.jpg
     

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