H. Muhr's Sons

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H. Muhr's Sons (which evolved from Muhr & Sons) is a little-known watch case company, but some of its product trade names are very familiar since they continued to be used by successors long after H. Muhr's Sons ceased to make cases.

H. Muhr's Sons: A Brief History

The following information is based upon material in the book, History of the American Watch Case (see References, below):
Muhr & Sons was a firm making watch cases in Philadelphia in the 1880s (and possibly earlier). By 1884, it had evolved into H. Muhr's Sons, manufacturers of Crown, Excelsoir and Lion gold-filed cases. By 1891, the firm was also making the Victory Rolled-Gold-Plate Case. Since H. Muhr's Sons was also a jobber, it is a bit unclear whether they produced some lines of cases (under license or otherwise) or merely distributed them. Their ads implied that they were the manufacturers of the Willemin Case Co. solid gold cases, but it seems that H. Muhr's Sons were only the distributers of these. The same is possibly true for the line of 8K solid gold Eagle cases. This was a name also used for 8K soild gold cases by the Brooklyn Watch Case Co.

The company was reorganized again by 1895, becoming J. Muhr & Brother. Three years later, in 1898, the case business was sold to T. Zurbrugg & Co. (after having been on the market since November, 1894) to become part of the Philadelphia Watch Case Co. and later, the Keystone Watch Case Co.

Case Models

The above ads show that the Climax case, also known as the Muckle case - made by the Northwestern Watch Case Co., was made by H. Muhr's Sons, probably under license, in both Crown and Lion grades.

In addition to the Climax case, H. Muhr's Sons also patented and marketed a screw bezel case in which the movement was fastened to a ring. The ring then fit into a cupped back and a separate bezel was screwed on, capturing the ring and movement. This was a similar arrangement to the Swing Ring Case and was perhaps intended to provide the swing ring style (the 1-piece, cupped back) without infringing upon the swing ring case patents.


Case Grades


Case GradeCase Material
Willemin Case Co. (W.W.C.Co. Trade Mark)18K Solid Gold case - Willemin cases were probably only distributed by H. Muhr's Sons.
Willemin Case Co. (W.W.C.Co. Trade Mark)14K Solid Gold case - Willemin cases were probably only distributed by H. Muhr's Sons.
Willemin Case Co. (W.W.C.Co. Trade Mark)10K Solid Gold case - Willemin cases were probably only distributed by H. Muhr's Sons.
Acorn Trade Mark10K Solid Gold case - sold for $5.00 + 48¢/dwt.
Eagle, M.E.8K Solid Gold case - Possibly Brooklyn cases distributed by H. Muhr's Sons.
Crown14K Gold-Filled case warranted for 20 years and later (perhaps only when made by Zurbrugg), 25 years.
Crown B No. 2 (courtesy Timothy Davis)14K Gold-Filled case
Lion10K Gold-Filled case warranted for 10 years and later (perhaps only when made by Zurbrugg), 20 years.
ExcelsoirGold-Filled case warranted for 20 years
VictoryRolled Gold Plate case
MeteorRolled Gold Plate case, guaranteed for 10 years
MeridianRolled Gold Plate case, guaranteed for 5 years

See the Case Material Encyclopedia article for an explanation of the terms.


Catalogs


Net Price List of Movements & Cases, H. Muhr's Sons, Philadelphia, PA, March 18, 1886
Courtesy Jerry Treiman
Page No.Description
0Covers
1Title Page
2-3Index & Terms & Private Label Marking Prices
4-5Elgin Mvts
6-7Waltham 18-size Mvts & Complete Chronographs
8-9Waltham 16-Size & 14-Size Complete Watches
10-11Waltham 6-Size Complete Watches & Illinois Mvts
12-13Hampden Mvts
14-15Howard Mvts & Gold-Filled Cases
16-178K & 10K Cases
18-19Fahys Silver Cases
20-21Silver Case Mfr's Assoc. Silver Cases & Dueber Silver & Silverine Cases
22-23Dueber, Blauer & Waltham Silver Cases, Waltham Bond St. Complete Watches & Traveling Clocks
24-25Swiss Watches & Rings
26-27Willemin Gold Cases & Muhr Gold-Filled Cases
28-29Tables of 14K & 18K Gold Prices
30-31Tables of Diamond Prices
32-CoverRings, Lockets & Thimbles


References


Online Information

Muhr's cases (by this time being made by J. Muhr & Brother) are shown, as noted below, in the 1897 Lapp & Flershem Twenty-first Annual Illustrated Catalogue:
  • Crown - pages 328-329, 332-333, 335, 336, 339-342, 346-347, 350 and 353-354
  • Lion - pages 330, 331, 335, 337, 344, 348 and 349
  • Victory - pages 338 and 345


Books
Most of the books listed below, along with back issues of the NAWCC Bulletin, are available on loan by mail to members from the NAWCC Lending Library. Use the Lending Library Form.

History of the American Watch Case, Warren H. Niebling, Whitmore Publishing, Philadelphia, PA, 1971

Net Price List of Movements & Cases, H. Muhr's Sons, Philadelphia, PA, 1887, reprinted in American Pocket Watch 1978 Price Indicator, Identification and Price Guide, Roy Ehrhardt, Heart of America Press, Kansas City, MO, 1978, pp. 34-38.

A number of Muhr's trade marks (but not all) may be seen on page 120 of the book Trade Marks Of The Jewelry And Kindred Trades, Second Edition, Jewelers' Circular Publishing Co., NY, 1904 (found online by Askbart).

Watch case makersJobbers Catalogs
 
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Kent

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Moving material to the NAWCC Message Board.
 

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PierceA

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Nov 12, 2020
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Hello,

I've been passed down a Swiss pocket watch that doesn't say who made it. I've been told that it was probably made around 1900 give or take a decade. The movement serial number is 97996 and the case serial number is 484981 that is probably an H. Muhr's Sons case Crown edition. There's a private label inscribed on the dial and movement of "Howes Bros, Clinton Iowa". I've contacted Longines and they said it's most likely not theirs. Jaeger LeCoultre said it's probably not theirs but they can't be sure without going through the archives. Can anyone confirm that it's an H Muhr's Sons case and give any insight to the maker of the movement?

Thanks,
Pierce
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