Fredonia Watch Company of New York

Allan C. Purcell

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When I first started to read up on the Fredonia Watch Company, I was under the impression that the Fredonia Company had introduced the Mark Twain pocket watch. (In a roundabout way that is true, but was not clear)

I was reading "Brief History. Fredonia Watch Company.
Fredonia New York
1881-1885.

Quote,

"Fredonia produced several innovative watches, including a line of 15-jewel "antimagnetic" watches, and a unique straight-line
escapement. They also offered a `reversible" watch in a case that could be converted from hunter-style to open face by rotating the movement within the case. No history of the Fredonia Watch Company would be complete without mention of their most famous watch, the "Mark Twain", an 11-jewel key-wind model that was introduced to the world in 1882 with the following announcement." (The announcement can be read in the above document)

So reading that some time ago, and not knowing that in 1882 the Company was still the Independent Watch Company. I learned the Fredonia Watch Company was a re-name in 1884, and they were selling the Marke Twain watch movements left over from the older firm. ( On paper really the same company). Those movements they could not sell cased, they sold at $6. each. (This indicates that Mark Twain´s watch was not the hot potato it is today). Looking back today it is easy to say the Howard Brothers were on the edge when came to money, and the money of others, hiding behind a good lawyer, yet there are strong indications that at least Clarence M. Howard knew his way around a pocket watch with his patented watch regulators of 1881 and the better of the two in 1884. (These patents can be seen on the forums under Regulators)


1664806707574.png

This is an early watch by the Independent watch company, The serial number is worth checking.


1664806522313.png

This is an early watch by the company, yet look at the serial number. (More on that later)
You can also see the 1881 regulator invented by Clearance M. Howard. Take a good look
at the engraving on this watch.

IMG_1204.JPG
This is a nice-looking private label, showing the 1884 regulator by Clerance Howard. Again there is a problem
with the Serial number.

Later I will write more on these serial numbers, and ask for your help.

To be continued....

Some photographs, from the NAWCC board.
15921554054556112425621793139875.jpg Fredonia6.jpg Fredonia20104Mvmt.jpg Fredonia613Mvmt.jpg img184.jpg IMG_1672.JPG


1664809132589.png
 
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Tom McIntyre

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This is interesting. I had thought that the Excelsior Watch Co. of New York which sold private label Waltham Watches was the same Howard Brothers that produced Fredonia Watches when they decided to try production in their home town. The left over Marion movements that were disguised by carving the plates were implied to be the first pieces they sold from Fredonia and then later they were purchasing watches from both New York Watch Co. and Aurora Watch Co.

I am curious how this all fits together. I think that Greg Frauenhoff knows quite a bit about the later history with Aurora.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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This is interesting. I had thought that the Excelsior Watch Co. of New York which sold private label Waltham Watches was the same Howard Brothers that produced Fredonia Watches when they decided to try production in their home town. The leftover Marion movements that were disguised by carving the plates were implied to be the first pieces they sold from Fredonia and then later they were purchasing watches from both New York Watch Co. and Aurora Watch Co.



I am curious how this all fits together. I think that @Greg Frauenhoff knows quite a bit about the later history with Aurora.

Tom, this, is going to take a while to sort out the dealings of the Howard Brothers. In the above piece by Douglas H. Shepard, he says that the Howards,
"Formed the Independent Watch Company. based at 63 Main Street (today´s 1 East Street). This was followed by the Lake Shore Watch Company and the Empire Watch Company." I think it should read, bought parts from these two companies. (Page two).



Mikrolisk - The horological trade mark index

Take no notice of the rest here, they are some of the points I am working on. There is an awful amount to come. I hope to answer Jeff´s questions, and more, with some of my own.



1664810918757.png



1664812620697.png







1664811767131.png




1664811977133.png


Best wishes,

Allan


yy-1.jpg
 

Bila

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"Formed the Independent Watch Company. based at 63 Main Street (today´s 1 East Street). This was followed by the Lake Shore Watch Company and the Empire Watch Company." I think it should read, bought parts from these two companies. (Page two)."

These two Company's the "Lakeshore Watch Co., & Empire Watch Co., mentioned here Allan were setup by them to my knowledge and used the mail order system to distribute to Clientele. The watches sold by these Companies as far as I am aware were sourced from other "Watch Manufacturer's".
 

Allan C. Purcell

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These two Companies, the "Lakeshore Watch Co., & Empire Watch Co., are mentioned here Allan was set up by them to my knowledge and used the mail order system to distribute to Clientele. As far as I am aware, the watches sold by these companies were sourced from other "Watch Manufacturers".
Bila, thank you for that it´s good of you, but do you have any documents or photographs of any proof that the Howard Brothers did do just that? As of yet, I have nothing, but still trying.

Thanks again,

Allan.
 

Bila

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Bila, thank you for that it´s good of you, but do you have any documents or photographs of any proof that the Howard Brothers did do just that? As of yet, I have nothing, but still trying.

Thanks again,

Allan.
I have a bit of data on them on an old drive Allan, it is in a storage shed in a packing box. When I get a chance I will dig it out if I can find it.

Everytime I go there to get something I need I end up being close on a day going through packing boxes to find what I want.

Also some stuff on their use of Waltham movements, have some pictures somewhere of one of theirs that I used to own sometime back.

cheers,
bila
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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This is interesting. I had thought that the Excelsior Watch Co. of New York which sold private label Waltham Watches was the same Howard Brothers that produced Fredonia Watches when they decided to try production in their home town. The left over Marion movements that were disguised by carving the plates were implied to be the first pieces they sold from Fredonia and then later they were purchasing watches from both New York Watch Co. and Aurora Watch Co.

I am curious how this all fits together. I think that Greg Frauenhoff knows quite a bit about the later history with Aurora.
Tom,

I'm aware of no watches made by Aurora for Fredonia/Independent/Excelsior. Illinois and Hampden did make some such beasts.

Greg
 

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My apologies Greg, it was late last night and I meant to say Peoria instead of Aurora.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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I have today found one or two of the early watches signed "Lake Shore" and the gap in the middle is as written by Mr Shepard above. These watches are on at present in auctions, so I cannot show them to you as yet but will do so later. With my limited knowledge of American watches, I would think the Americans would call them Swiss fakes, made in America. I believe these watches could have been made by those forty Swiss watchmakers brought over by the Howard Brothers. Some of these watches must be among the collectors who write on this board, maybe they would like to post one or two here. I know Jeff Hess would like to see them.

1664896193937.png

Greg, do you have any information on the "Time Ball Special- 21 Jewels-3 Adjustments"? (It also as a very nice regulator)

Allan.
 
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musicguy

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You can now provide a link to an active auction per the rule changes. You
still can not post any photos or screen shots of the auction
without permission from the Auction house. Links are fine.
Also some members even if they have posted their photos
here on the forum are still NOT free game to use. Permission
for any photo is necessary even if we do not ask and assume you have asked.:)


Rob
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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Allan,

The Time Ball Special is a Swiss mvt made to look (vaguely) like an American railroad grade watch. Here is a cut for one from a c. 1907 catalog. Since most of these "21 jewel" and "23 jewel" "imitation railroad" watches date to 1900-1910, I doubt if they have anything to do with the Howard Bros. various enterprises.

img278.jpg

Cheers,

Greg
 

Allan C. Purcell

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To make this easier, I bought this movement, and after winning, I corresponded with the seller here in Germany, who was only too pleased to let me publish this reck. It cost next to nothing anyway. I bought it because the top plate can tell us so much. You will notice there is a name on the plate,
Cl. Morthier-Sandoz, I believe this is one of the Swiss employees of the Independent Watch Compy, I know of another, C. Hutner-then Swiss. You will also notice Clarance Howard´s regulator on the watch, plus 3 adjustments, 21 jewels, "Time Ball Special" and a serial number that cannot be relied on. 2654. All in English of course. What I now need is some verification.

When it arrives, (Should be here for the weekend) I will put more photographs, and a huge list of the now watches broken parts. Looking up the ALERT watch case I have seen one up for sale for 6 times higher than the price of the whole watch. (Rolled Gold case 20 years)

xx-62.jpg

The last question, for now, could this be a Dueber Watch Company movement? ;)

Allan.

Greg, I wrote this before I saw your post.
 
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musicguy

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I don't think that is a Howard regulator, just a Swiss Fake copy.

1664915714488.png



Rob
 

Allan C. Purcell

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I don´t seem to be getting through on the history of the Howard Brothers of Fredonia, New York. I know who their parents are, I know where they went to school, I know they bought a watch company, I also know they got rich, but not altogether how, I know some people call them "Fly by night Boys", and I know their watches are seen as "beasts" I also know they had plans in advance to buy a or create a watch company, and with foresight arranged for 40 Swiss watch mechanics to come over from Switzerland to work for them. (1881)? :emoji_sunglasses:

At this moment in time, I know nothing about the work of these Swiss gentlemen, It appears anything they made got lost in the dust of American history. I wonder if they had anything to do with the "Mark Twain" watch? Not a watch I would buy as a timekeeper, and certainly not the $3,00 that one hopeful person hopes for on the web. What I also don´t know is, were they ever prosecuted, or even taken to court, the only complaint came from MarkTwain yet his watch was running fine till he gave it to a repairer. (That's a great story, it´s on the net).
 

Allan C. Purcell

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About two months ago I printed out all 144 pages of "American Watchmaking A technical History of the American Watch Industry 1850-1930"
Well written by Michael C. Harrold. I had taken the loose pages into folders with about 40 pages in each and had bought a hard-back folder to put them in. It is now a quite heavy book. It was about the time I was to go on my holiday down the Rhein/ Mosel trip, and as you know I caught Covid-19, which interfered with my health, so yesterday I started to put the single pages in the folder. I had skipped through the book and remembered I had said there was no mention of Woerd in there. My mistake was to look in the index under W, and he is not there, so today I looked again and found him on Vander Woerd, Charles. So I looked it up on page 95. "After Leaving Waltham in 1882, Charles V. Woerd began the Waltham Tool Company, one of many such organizations to spring up in Waltham. More can be read on pages 23, 25, 87, 90, 92 and of course 95. Will read the rest later.

I then looked for Howard. and found, Howard Albert 21, Howard Bros. Howard, Edward. It turns out the Bros. Were Albert and Edward. So I moved on to the letter F in the hope to read about the Fredonia Watch Compay. Nothing in the index. So I persevered and went from page to page, and found on page 100 this photograph. Sorry it is not so clear, but it is not much better in the book.


IMG_1678.JPG

"fig 166. Fredonia non-magnetic S/N 8403, note worm
gear regulator later used by Peoria, successors to Fredonia."

Later, after telling us all about the inventor of the non-magnetic watches, it says "The Fredonia Watch Company of Fredonia, New York, introduced non-magnetic hairsprings into American watchmaking about 1884. Like a number of companies, Fredonia used imported hairsprings and balances, some of which were non-magnetic, and plates on these watches were marked anti-magnetic hairspring," "While these did not necessarily come from Paillard, it is certainly a good possibility. In 1885 the Fredonia Watch Co. was reorganized as the Peoria Watch Co. of Peoria, Illinois, using Fredonia machinery and making nearly an identical Watch. this was one of the companies organised by John C. Adams and through his soliciting had a trade among railroad companies in the days before railroad watch standards. Probably about 1888, some 18-size Peoria watches were made with non-magnetic overcoil hairsprings and made "Non-Magnetic Watch Company of America.....Paillard's Patent Balance & Spring" The mystery and the Peoria watches were the only American movements to bear this name.



IMG_1678.JPG

Rather a strange piece, when elsewhere you can read John C. Adams was brought in to advise how they could improve their business. They and there were the Howard Brothers of Fredonia. New York, who on his advice formed the Fredonia Watch Company, from the Independent Watch Company. Now I wonder if the Howard Brothers sold the company to Peoria, or was it just another deal? Another question did those Swiss watchmakers they employed tell them about Paillard´s invention?
 
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PatH

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Allan,

Here are some resources that might help sort out some of the history, but then again, perhaps they will just raise more questions....

Two patents awarded to Clarence M. Howard (thanks to pocketwatchdatabase.com and google patents)

Article from the June 1990 Bulletin. link > The Howard Brothers, Watchmakers of Fredonia by Bernard G. Kraus. This article is 9 or 10 pages long and includes additional sources in the references.
Kraus' article is followed immediately by a rather lengthy article by Eugene T. Fuller that includes some details about Paillard. link > The Non-Magnetic Watch Company: A Chronology. (this article begins on the same page as the references for Kraus' article, so the first page will likely look familiar)
If you use the Bulletin Search and enter the words Fredonia Watch, you will find several articles and research news by Greg Frauenhoff, as well as others, that might be helpful.

Hope this helps.
Pat
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Hope this helps.
Pat
[/QUOTE]

Hi, Pat,
You have answered all my questions, (except a dozen or so) though I feel like a squashed tomato. Yes, I have June 1990. It was while waiting for the printer, I kept seeing June 1990 on the pages, then the penny dropped, and I dug it out of my pile of Bulletins. So I now have both articles and of course better images of the watches. One question that sticks in the lump of wood above my shoulders, is, what happened to the forty Swiss mechanics? This article alone proved I was asking the right questions, Bernard G. Kraus (MD) thank you. They really were a real Watch Company and not a bunch of "fly-by-nights". No one needs to tell me that anymore, my Fredonia as being running for five days, wound each morning at seven AM. It has lost one minute and thirty seconds,-thanks to an Australian service. My Hampton 16s 21 jewel was with it all along and I have say, it was just a little better, (only a few seconds-that too was serviced in Australia). I will of course read Greg´s articles later, it´s my bedtime here, so off to walk the dog.

Pat, you have saved my bacon yet again.

Have heard this one,

Christmas is coming, and the pigs are getting fat, please put a penny in the old man's hat, if you don´t have a penny an app-ney will do,
and if you don´t have an app-ney God Bless You.

Allan.
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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I liked this.


Alla,
 

Allan C. Purcell

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1665671848843.png
To me, this is a Hamilton "Bull Special" and I should think everyone will agree.


I have heard, that over and over again that Hamilton was selling Ebauches to Peoria and more than likely to Fredonia.

I have also heard that these watches we are about to look at are in fact Swiss fakes.

Looking at the first six photographs there is evidence that could be or maybe show the truth that they are indeed faking, but who.

The first thing to look at is the serial number. 172564. They all have the same serial number. Plus they are signed by C.I. Morthier-Sandoz, sometimes with the word Swiss. You would think then it is clear, "Swiss Fakes"






IMG_1714.JPG
Notice here the two dials, (I think American) and the names on the dials. Left "Time Ball Special" and on the right, "Lake Shore"

IMG_1715.JPG
This one has the C I Morthier-Sandoz Swiss engraved on it, but is the ebauche from Hamilton?


IMG_1716.JPG
The Lake Shore on the right here looks to have been a swing out, but the hinge is no longer there.
IMG_1717.JPG


It is not often we see inside these watches, these photographs are of the Time Ball Special. Double Roller.

IMG_1718.JPG IMG_1719.JPG

IMG_1720.JPG IMG_1721.JPG

I do think there is more to this story, especially when we talk about the non-Magnetic watch company of America.

To be cont......

Allan
 
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Bila

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To me, this is a Hamilton "Bull Special" and I should think everyone will agree.
and on the right, "Lake Shore"
but is the ebauche from Hamilton?

Some answers to some of your questions Allan;


No to the first, as Rob said an Illinois Bunn Special

"That Lake Shore is not a product of the Howard Brothers or Fredonia to my knowledge. There is also a bit of a mix-up somewhere in some of the contemporary writings, if memory serves me correct. As the Fredonia factory were selling only "Fredonia Watch Co" marked watches, not someone else's movements marked as theirs. The Howard Brothers started this practice a little before the Independent Watch Co venture started in their own little Jewelry store, (also "Lake Shore & Empire City Watch Co's" were being sold be mail order as well, these were movements from other Watch Co's) and then again during the time of the "Independent Watch Co of Fredonia, New York".

To this day I have never seen a "Fredonia Watch Co" marked movement from this enterprise by any other Manufacturer, if someone has one I would like to see it (I'll stand to be corrected if this is not the case)?"

Not a ebauche from Hamilton.
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Sorry folks, about the "BULL" Illinois watch, my mind was working on something else at the time. I now need to check out a few things at the Howard brothers, which really were only one Howard most of the time.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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There comes a time when having read all you can about a particular subject, you just have to sit back and think it through. Plus what you have read is supported by friendly suggestions on this board. When reading about the Fredonia Watch Company, you are in fact reading halfway through the story of the Howard Brothers. Those who have tried before me, tend to use a time list, and there is always the chance that the list must be changed through more or other information. In this case about the Howards, and this has happened to all I have seen, there is something missing in each list.

One of the best articles, about the Howards, can be found in the NAWCC Bulletin in June 1990, by Bernard G. Kraus. Yes, thirty-two years ago. Where were we all in 1990? I was writing my first and only article for the AHS-published in 1991. A wise man once told me, "the day you put down your pen and publish an article or book, it´s out of date. " That turns out to be very true. Your article or book can give the üinspiration to know more, and it sometimes comes down on you like a river, in flood.

So having found the most interesting article by G.Kraus, here is the list he produced at the beginning of the article that, I now work from.
1885--began selling imported watches.
1875--organized Independent Watch Co. Organized Lake Shore Watch Co. organized Empire Watch Co.
1876-- purchased Pettit & Barker Eye Salve Co.
1881-- Organized Fredonia Watch Co.
1882-- purchased major interest in Rice Nut Tapping Co.
1884-- opened Chicago General Sales Office for Promotion of Fredonia Railway Watches
1885-- sold Fredonia Watch Co. to Peoria interests, retained control over new Peoria Watch Co.
1888-- associated with Non-Magnetic Watch Co. of America at Peoria.

I don´t know how you read this, but looking at1885 at the top, the first question that comes to mind is where from. (Or date tip mistake)?

After the list, he says,
"Generally speaking the "Howard Bros" "and Independent Watch Co."
movements were of either Hampden, Illinois, or United States design.
In the late case of the United States, both the parts were mostly of older designs,
including the so-called "Butterfly" cutout.

My other information gives another story, that cutout butterfly design was used by Fredonia/Peoria after the United States Watch Co. became
Marian Watch Company New Jersey till 1877 (Watches-.Engle-Gilbert-Shugart 2009). (If fact they bought the leftover watches)

Going back to 1875, we get the word "Organized" each time it's used it´s for a Watch Company, First is the Independent Watch Co. then Lake Shore Watch Co. and the Empire Watch Co. ( So what did organized mean in this story? My interpretation is they were making watches with three grades or names. Some of them imported) Those with the Lake Shore on the dials are usually Signed on the watch plate "Time Ball Special" all having the same serial number, also reversed, with Time Ball Special on the dial, both signed Swiss. (I have said this before, it could be the Swiss workforce they used to start the Watch company)?
Then in 1881 they "Organized" the Fredonia Watch Company, this time with an American Workforce, and a very good watch.
"To quote again,
"Improvements were added to all major designs, especially on the United States movement, and eventually a basic Fredonia Watch Company design became a reality. During this period, some of the most experienced men in the watch manufacturing business were employed by the Howards. Charles Moseley, the first plant superintendent, was previously the superintendent at Waltham and later established the watch factory at Elgin, Illinois. He was followed by James Dangerfield, who previously had been Master Mechanic at Elgin for seven years. Additionally, all department heads had previous supervisory positions with major watch manufacturing companies."

So we see here, we have someone who is writing about a Watch Company, in this case, "Howard Brothers" with knowledgeable respect for the firm's work. We will hear more about this later.

Right now I think we should have a good look at Lake Shore, Organized in 1875, along with the Independent, and Empire. I now think it is clear that they were getting their raw material from one of the American Watch Companies, and selling them as the "Time Ball Special", or even non-magnetic, or are we still saying Swiss fakes?


The serial number again is 172654. The number is not known on the Illinois and Lake Shore serial numbers on this board.


xx-87.jpg
Odd one this, no serial number at all, and no Swiss.

xx-86.png
Now this one does have a serial number 816527. Though the surprise was the engraved "Non-Magnetic" at the bottom. The impression is the
Lake Shore was running from the start. 1875.

Before going any further, I would like to ask if there was or is a record of those Swiss mechanics that started all this. Was it really 40 Swiss
mechanics or was just a few? Did they return to Switzerland, or stay in the United States?

I have just found the Illinois "Lakeside" is all one word on the plates.



1666254144433.png

This, to me, points to a Watch Company that misused the serial numbers. The serial number I put in was 191099, it could well have been the United Watch Companies' serial number, but did they make so many watches?

"The ten-year period of movement production current statistical studies indicate an estimated production of only 60,000 watches, much smaller than the number deduced from the serial numbers assigned up to as high as 289,000" (UTC. WATCHES) (The company closed its doors in 1877)

To be correct the United Watch Company was reorganized as the "Marion Watch Company in 1874.

Serial number 191099 could have been bought by the Howard Brothers before their reorganization in 1881 to Fredonia Watch Company.

Though to continue, "In 1877 the "Howard Brothers of Fredonia N. Y." Purchased most of the remaining movements in stock and machinery".

So from now on it is only the firm's name on the plate, that gives us a rough idea of when they were made. Serial Number 191099 could have been sold around 1880.

So I think I am slowly getting to the bottom of this story, but there are miles to go, for me, this is fun, sorry if you find it boring.
 
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musicguy

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So I think I am slowly getting to the bottom of this story, but there are miles to go, for me, this is fun
:)



Rob
 

Bila

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I nice post Allan, as of the following quoted paragraph below, I'm still of the opinion that the "Time Ball & Lake Shore" you have shown are Swiss Fakes and also not constructed with raw materials from any American Manufacturer that I know of. One of the reasons I say this is of the "Lake Shore Watch Co" watches I have seen (over the years on Auctions sites and the like) that were marketed by the Howard Brothers all have been "Marked/Engraved" as I have written above on the back-plate and "Fredonia, N.Y." on the barrel-bridge. There might be others marked differently, as you never really know what is out there until they are seen in the wild. Hopefully someone might have other pictures they can post of the watches in question:)

Right now I think we should have a good look at Lake Shore, Organized in 1875, along with the Independent, and Empire. I now think it is clear that they were getting their raw material from one of the American Watch Companies, and selling them as the "Time Ball Special", or even non-magnetic, or are we still saying Swiss fakes?
 
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Bila

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Another little tidbit of info for you is that the Howard Brothers registered the Trademark name of "Lake Shore" in 1878. So quite possibly using the name before the trademark registration:)
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Hi Bila, I can only agree at the moment, but I have to ask, who was importing these so-called fakes, and who cased them? I know many American purchasers could get their new case fitted at the place of purchase, though these watches all look to me like they were factory-finished in America. I will have to look closer at people like C I Morthier-Sandoz. If Sandoz was working with the Howards, what are they then? I Will get back to this.

Allan.



PS. Just got this from a very good friend.

PPS: Take a real good look at this Sandoz watch, made to fit a swing-out case.

IMG_1748.JPG
 
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Bila

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Probably various American Importers Allan, there were many Companies set-up doing this, what particular one, at present, I do not know.

The "Lake Shore" name was not trademarked until approximately May 1878 by the Howard Brother's Firm, in the trademark patent it is mentioned that they are going to start using the mark moving forward from the date of lodgement, this was slightly earlier that same year.

I have seen and recorded some 'Lake Shore Watch Co" movements from around that time-frame that were produced by the Hampden Watch Co. I know some publications said that these (Hampden) movements for Howard Brothers had been made by "New York Watch Co", this is incorrect as far as I am concerned.

As for the "Empire Watch Co", I think you will find that this name was not used (if it did get used at all) until after the Collapse of the US Watch Co of Marion and its following re-incarnations. I think it ended sometime in 1877 and then the Howard Brothers acquired machinery and watch movements and parts later in 1878, so you would think possibly 1879 for them to have "Empire Watch Co" movements happening if they sold them as such. Or did they just acquire the name, I have yet to this day see one marked for them with "Empire City Watch Co, Fredonia, New York". I have seen Empire Watch Co movements with their address on only (State & Town) but not marked "Independent Watch Co" either and both these examples were probably acquired and sold while the "US Watch Co" was still in existence but in its last throes of life.

This thread has been very quiet, I thought there would be much more interest, you would think someone must have these in their collections:(

I wonder if anyone has seen Incorporation documents for the "Lake Shore Watch Co" or the "Empire Watch Co" under the Howard Brothers moniker:???:
 
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Bila

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PPS: Take a real good look at this Sandoz watch, made to fit a swing-out case.

IMG_1748.JPG
I have seen a lot of these over the years Allan, I can not see a connection or find one at this time. The Swiss Companies and Importers were renowned for naming watches after Cities and States around the U.S.A. Also after American Watch Companies, as well as after Railroads, one of these Railroads was called the "Lake Shore".
 
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Bila

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IMG_1716.JPG

The Lake Shore on the right here looks to have been a swing out, but the hinge is no longer there.
Notice here the two dials, (I think American) and the names on the dials. Left "Time Ball Special" and on the right, "Lake Shore"
The "Lake Shore" on the right Allan was imported by Strasburger & Co sometime after 1917-18 (PatH. info, thank you). As this is their mark on the dial which was trademarked in 1917 in that exact style, as Greg F., previously said, this style of watch is much to late for the Howard Brothers.

Many Thanks to Pat Holloway for pointing me in the direction of Strasburger & Co.
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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This thread has been very quiet, I thought there would be much more interest, you would think someone must have these in their collections:(
Though that is true, I think they are waiting for something they do not know about the "Howard Brothers" and hope we come up with it. I tried looking up the United States Watch company and then later United States company Marion, and there is too, very little to find. While looking for a United States movement bought by the Howard Brothers, I then found the one below on the on Jones & Horan auction and as I could not find one, by the Howards, I bought this one. (Plus it has a coin silver case) There were not many of these made (580?)A pity about the mock crown, it runs though.

While looking at the history of the United States Watch Company, I came across, quote,

"The year of1875 hit the watch industry the hardest; price cutting was predatory and the higher-priced watches of the United States Watch Co. were particularly vulnerable. Further lowering of finish standards and prices did not help and in1876 the company was once again reorganized into the Empire City Watch Co. and their products were displayed at the Centennial that year."

Made me think too, that was the year the Howards bought the Empire Watch Co. (1875) The United Watch Co. closed in 1877. It was then that the Howards bought up the leftover movements from the United watch Co, come Empire City Co. to Marion Watch Company.

There is a very good photograph of one of these watches (Fig. 12) finished by the Peoria Watch Co. Ill. in the above-mentioned article by Bernard G Kraus.



The serial number of my watch 21148 is below.

1666364032164.png


1666367710373.png
 
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Bila

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1875--organized Independent Watch Co. Organized Lake Shore Watch Co. organized Empire Watch Co.

If the date here of 1875 from Bernard Kraus for the organisation of the "Empire City watch Co" is for the "Howard Brothers" in his article Allan, then it is incorrect (can you recheck that article for me). The Empire City Watch Co was organised by Giles & Wright in 1875 and was the old United States Watch Co concern.

The Howard Brothers to my knowledge never got there hands on that until they purchased some of the old machinery and stock after Giles & Wright went Bankrupt. So the time frame for them (Howard Bros.) would be sometime in 1878-79 with regard to the "Empire City Watch Co". In 1875 the Howard Bros., probably were only buying "Empire City Watch Co movements to mark as their own (during the Independent Watch Co's time), but they did not own the concern.

Bernard Kraus and William Muir co-authored a book called "Marion, a History of The United States Watch Company", this was a NAWCC Special Publication, around the year 2000. They are probably the Seminal Authorities on the History of this Company. It makes a great read with heaps of data. In this there is a Chronological Time-line list for the Company and events that occurred, but beware, I have seen discrepancies within that list when compared to instances of happenings that they describe in the text of the book itself. Also I have a few instances (stories) taken from periodicals of the day that contradict some events mentioned within. This book also contradicts the time-line of 1875 from the Fredonia Bulletin article by Bernard for the Howard's having the Empire Watch Co enterprise, (so again, can you please check that date in his article).
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Article from the June 1990 Bulletin. link > The Howard Brothers, Watchmakers of Fredonia by Bernard G. Kraus. This article is 9 or 10 pages long and includes additional sources in the references.


Hi Bila,

The first list is on the above, thanks again to PatH. Plus I listed the list on post 27. It then gives another list on the second page. I must get in touch with the NAWCC office and get a copy of that book, (Should have done it before now) I have one or two books in the post to me, at the moment.:confused:

If anything, the dates prove they had good relations with the United States Company.

Regarding the second list, I will try and copy it here later today.

Allan.
 
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Bila

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I can no longer access that Allan, no longer a member, will try to buy a 1990 June edition of the Bulletin from the internet at a later date. There is plenty of information from the earlier research that is not really correct, no matter who has written it, just what happens when contemporary Researchers start looking for other info. Take the Encyclopedia on the Board here, it has areas of obsolete/incorrect info regarding certain Manufacturer's due to newer research:)
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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The Second List.

1872- Hampden & Illinois movements, Figures 1-4. Howard Brothers & Independent Watch Company, Lake Shore Watch Co. and Empire watch Co.

1879- April 10th, "Improved" Date.

1880September 15th. "Improved" Date

1879-80- United States movement and parts-Butterfly" Cutout & Disguised.

1881-Moseley "Full Plate" Model.

1881-March 22nd. Howard Patent Regulator.

1883-Dangerfield Model with Howard Regulator

1884- "Anti.Magnetic Hair-spring" Model.

1884- railroad Model with Howard quick train".

1885 March 1st, Howard patent for Regulator.

Later there is a third list, I decided to photograph it.


IMG_1749.JPG

I did say I don´t like lists like these, I prefer the paragraph lists much like those by Eugene T. Fuller (TX)

Here is one from the "American Pocket Watches Identification and Price Guide" the 1987 Copy written by Roy Ehrhardt & William "Bill" Meggers.

Peoria Watch Co.
Peoria 111.
1885-1895

Name changes
The United States watch Company
1865-1874
Marion Watch Company
1874-1876
Empire City Watch Company
1876.1877
Independent Watch Company
(Howard Bros.) Fredonia, N. Y.) in 1878
Purchased stock & some machinery as
Fredonia Watch Co.
Fredonia New York.
1883-1885 Sold to
Peoria Watch Company
Peoria, 111 1885-1895.


This same list is used for Fredonia, without the Peoria Watch Company.

I will keep at it.

Allan.
 
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Bila

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As I said previously Allan some of the old data is incorrect, I have old periodicals that show the "Empire City Watch Co" selling from 13 Maiden Lane (Giles & Wright of the old US Watch Co) in 1875.

The reference to Fredonia Watch Co buying some of the old machinery movements and parts stock is incorrect. Also the date reference at the top to Independent, Lake Shore and Empire City is also incorrect.

Those books and research articles were written sometime ago and tended to borrow some of the information in them from each other Researcher's work. This then has the effect of showing the same errors in each of the works.

Even comtempory Researcher's in some instances fall into this same pattern. Thus their articles also can carry incorrect info in some instances.

Everyone starts somewhere, so as researchers we look for previous articles and research to get a baseline. There is nothing at all wrong with that if the info is cross checked and verified, but as you can see, alot of the same incorrect info has been regurgitated by many researchers over the previous years without this verification.

Although the history of these Companies are old and has been static for a long period, the new research is evolving and bringing forth new information all the time.

Keep at it mate it is a minefield:)

p.s. please excuse any typing errors as I am doing this on a phone key pad.
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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By Jeff Hess 2006.
I just ferreted out some of my research that is still around and found this interesting passage from the Fredonia Censor, March 2, 1881 newspaper..

The Howard Bros "have already considerable machinery and skilled workmen from Switzerland and have for some time been making watches at their factory on the main street"


1666453383505.png
1666453602079.png


These are the pieces of history that confirm dates.

1666453801803.png
1666453900614.png



Hi Bila, do you know anyone who has a copy of the above?
 

Bila

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Have the two top adverts Allan and also many more in my archives, I wish I did have the Fredonia Censor notices book, but I have not:(
 
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I have not seen anyone mention the strange double recessed jewel settings that scream Swiss Fake to me. The plates holding them are clearly much thicker than they should be and are likely false plates.

Muir & Kraus is generally very reliable and most of the errors are documented in Bulletin articles.
 
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Bila

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Muir & Kraus is generally very reliable and most of the errors are documented in Bulletin articles.
The few Bulletin articles mentioned here Tom are before the Book are they not, or was there an earlier Book Print than 2000? Or are there later Bulletin articles on the Companies after 2000 by Muir and Kraus or someone else?
 

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Muir & Krause is after the old referenced articles. There were errors in Muir & Krause and the big jump in values for United states Watch Co grade brought out several articles about the higher grades and also the decline and fall including the legal actions against the person in New York who was using fraudulent ads to promote the material that was remnants of the original effort.

I am at the NAWCC Symposium in New York at the moment and do not have time to follow up, but any NAWCC member should be able to use the Bulletin search facility to find the articles.

As for the book, it was published in1985 and ABE Books has 14copies listed for sale Marion - A History of The United States Watch Company by Muir (William) & Kraus (Bernard): Fine Hardcover (1985) | Jeffrey Formby Antiques
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Tom, I have been out all day, and just got back in, (21.04Hrs.) So I have just taken a look at Jeffrey´s offer and bought the book.

This search I am working on is not a search for mistakes, no one would write a good article for example, to the NAWCC or AHS, HJ, or DGC, and then having had it printed. (Plus it would have been read by a judicator) without thinking he had done all he could to tell the story has known. I chose the Kraus article because it is the best I have read. 99% of his story is very good, it is just that little bit that bothers me. and others. Like, what happened to the Swiss mechanics, who were they, and did they stay a long time, and stayed in America working for the Howard brothers? Who was Ci, Morthier-Sandoz.

Yesterday I found on the Nett, " M Pettit, the Underground Railroad, and the Fredonia Baptist Church" by Wendy Straight, Church Archivist (December 2009)
It is nineteen pages long, and on page two there is a little note which says " Pattit enterprises had been sold to the Howard Brothers." It sort of caught my eye. (No pun intended ) So I had to read all nineteen pages, to find out they never even gave the date. On the way though there came another tit-bitt.
" Luther Webster´s son Charles, a civil engineer who married the niece of Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), became a business partner in Buffalo for a time. His survey maps of the Fredonia Baptist Church appear in the archives"

That cheered me up a little but left me in bits at the end. That was all I got. Except I now know the colour of Pettit's underwear.

To be cont....
 

Allan C. Purcell

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