H. Z. Culver

musicguy

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H.Z. Culver was a trade name on early Key Wind Elgin's.
At the time, they were only second to the B W Raymond.
The Elgin H. Z. Culver was a very finely made movement inside and
out with 15 jewels. First made in 1867, the same year the first B. W. Raymond was made.
Just a quick reminder of the Elgin National Watch Co. History.
On August 27, 1864, The National Watch Company was
started with a capitol of $100,000. (First production watches made 1867),
The incorporators were: Philo Carpenter, Benjamin W. Raymond, Geo. M. Wheeler,
Thomas S. Dickerson, Edward H. Williams, W. Robbins,
and Howard Zoroaster Culver.

Photo from my own copy of the 1873 Elgin Almanac
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#26,367 15 Jewel, 18 size, National Watch Company H. Z. Culver Model 1, Grade 3 Circa 1868-1869
Total production 16,146 Full Plate Plain Regulator Gilt finish. Cased in a
3 oz Dueber with gold hinges

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Rob 20220617_203604[1].jpg
 
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musicguy

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Sweeeeeet!


Rob
 

Rick Hufnagel

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The H.Z. Culver was also one of the Original grades to receive a Stemwind attachment in 1873. The Culver was released the first year because we have seen keyset movements from early in the same run as the one shown below. (No stem setting). This was only done for a brief time. (A yearish or less)

The second variation is the slide lever which is seen here.

This is 236110. Presumably 1874 or 75.
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musicguy

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Rick Hufnagel

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It is interesting that this is from 1881
Since it is a trademark, this date is because of the trademark act of 1881.

The previous trademark act of 1870 failed, so it would make sense that the paperwork is dated 1881 for this.

 

musicguy

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GeneJockey

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Neat. Thanks for sharing.

FWIW, besides the "H. Z. Culver", Elgin also made, early on, a small number of a grade marked only "Culver".
On YouTube, bunnspecial has a video, "How I Take Apart A Pocket Watch", which features a Culver, s/n 1155. It has a solid balance, straight line lever, and 15 jewels.

AND, like the first run of BW Raymonds, the parts are NOT stamped "1155", but rather "155", skipping the first numeral. Later movements had the full serial number.
 

musicguy

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Oversized 4oz Newport Coin silver Hunting case with hinged hunting bezel
National Watch Company H. Z. Culver #2971 circa 1867 with domed screws.
1867 was the first year Elgin produced production watches.

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Rob
 

musicguy

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If someone could help me, I have searched unsuccessfully for a portrait or any image of H. Z. Culver.
I know that there are many great internet sleuths here that may be able to find one
for me (maybe even in a book).

Thanks
Rob
 

Nathan Moore

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If someone could help me, I have searched unsuccessfully for a portrait or any image of H. Z. Culver.
I know that there are many great internet sleuths here that may be able to find one
for me (maybe even in a book).

Thanks
Rob
I revisit this search every few months and continue to come up empty. It is odd since he was involved in several enterprises in Chicago...
 

musicguy

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This Elgin 1873 Almanac was printed by, Culver, Page, Hoyne & Co., Printers Chicago
I would scan it but i's in such nice condition that it would damage it.
Click on any image to enlagre.

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Rob
 

Jim Haney

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Maybe along these leads.' Between his Publishing Co and H.Z. Culver of Culver, Page & Hoyne was also President of American Insurance Company. wiil turn up some Photo...

 

musicguy

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(From an 1870-71 railway directory courtesy Greg Frauenhoff )

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Rob
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Rob,

Per your request I could find nothing in my copies of the Elgin record books that mention the Culver. There is a small bit of info therein on the related grade no. 62 and it is shown below. It is interesting to note that this grade used "Raymond grade of material".

Greg

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Greg Frauenhoff

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I'm well aware of that. But Elgin, much later, essentially morphed the material specs for the early H. Z. Culver grades into those for the grade 62. This was probably done for the purpose of parts ordering simplification. But this fact should not be dismissed out of hand. Someone at Elgin must have understood that the H. Z. Culver and the grade no. 62 were, though not identical, very very similar.
 
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diveboy

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The parts are interchangeable but the grades are not

If we say that Grade HZ Culver & Grade 62 are all the same grade as they share the same parts, then there's 16,146 grade 62 / HZ Culvers produced
If we say that Grade 62 is Grade 62, then a single run of 1,000 Grade 62's exist
If we say that Grade HZ Culver is Grade HZ Culver, then 20 runs of HZ Culver totaling 18,446 exists
If we say that Grade 61 is Grade 61, then a single run of 500 Grade 61's exist, why do I bring up Grade 61 ? because 3 runs of HZ Culver which are Stem Wind were placed under Grade 61 as they share interchangeable parts with the Grade 61

I'm well aware of that. But Elgin, much later, essentially morphed the material specs for the early H. Z. Culver grades into those for the grade 62. This was probably done for the purpose of parts ordering simplification. But this fact should not be dismissed out of hand
Yes, the fact is just that, they were "lumped" together around 1924/6 with the new material parts, just because parts are interchangeable, does not mean they are the same grade of movement and we all need to stop using the 1950's material list as the gospel for grade identification as its got 436,081 errors in it.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Yes, the fact is just that, they were "lumped" together around 1924/6 with the new material parts, just because parts are interchangeable, does not mean they are the same grade of movement and we all need to stop using the 1950's material list as the gospel for grade identification as its got 436,081 errors in it.
I don't dispute your analysis, but if we (me included) accept that the 1950 material list isn't gospel for grade identification then what is? Is the 1915 list gospel? After all, by 1915 Elgin had been making watches for 50 years and I doubt if the Company was terribly concerned, in publishing a material ordering catalog, with getting everything 100% correct for all their production, especially the really old "obsolete" grades. And then there is the "problem" that, as the so-called Elgin Master Grade books make clear, the "recipe" for many grades changed significantly over time. So how much of a change is necessary before a grade becomes a different grade? Did Elgin even care? Maybe even the 1915 list has thousands of grade identification errors?

But in the end this "confusion" is what makes collecting watches so much fun.

Best regards,

Greg
 
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diveboy

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don't dispute your analysis, but if we (me included) accept that the 1950 material list isn't gospel for grade identification then what is? Is the 1915 list gospel?
I'm not saying to ignore the 1950 list, I'm saying that if you go off the 1950 material list, it incorrectly identifies 436,081 movement grades, it accurately identifies the parts required for those 436,081 movements, as it was designed to do. we as in collectors, adopted it for grade identification and that was its never intended use. the confusion around National Watch Company named grades and also Elgin National Watch Company named grades was introduced by the use of the 1950 material list, which it was never intended for.

After all, by 1915 Elgin had been making watches for 50 years and I doubt if the Company was terribly concerned, in publishing a material ordering catalog, with getting everything 100% correct for all their production, especially the really old "obsolete" grades.
Elgin still had their prize first production movement, the backset 18s that was produced before the BW Raymond in their archives in 1910, so I guess, one could say they cared a lot about their history.

and then there is the "problem" that, as the so-called Elgin Master Grade books make clear, the "recipe" for many grades changed significantly over time.
I can't really comment on the so-called Elgin Master Grade books as I haven't seen them completely and doubt they will ever be shared completely, the entries I have seen posted on Wayne's site for the 10s grades, are accurate, they do document the grade 29 correctly, the do not document the Lady Elgin grade correctly as its not a grade 29.

NAWCC said:
The NAWCC is dedicated to providing association services, promoting interest in and encouraging the collecting of clocks and watches including disseminating knowledge of the same.​
But in the end this "confusion" is what makes collecting watches so much fun.
No, the confusion is not "fun".
 

John Runciman

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I bought this H-Z. Culver last week, it´s still in the post. My question is, why has this watch got two Serial numbers, or is it someone trying to be clever?
if you look up the serial numbers both of them what are they come back as?

One of the unfortunate realities in watch collecting is that people like to mix-and-match for variety of reasons.

I think there's two reasons why you see things like this. From a repair point of view someone looked in the database decided the parts will interchange and it was done for repair reason. As opposed to fixing whatever was there in the first place. Then unscrupulous sellers eBay for one where you have a partial watch and another partial watch and soon you have a full watch.

Does your watch run? If it does it still makes for an interesting conversation piece doesn't it?
 

Bernhard J.

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Hi Allan, I would suppose that the barrel bridge is from another watch? Others will know better, whether there are Elgins with a serial number on the barrel bridge instead of the upper plate.

Best, Bernhard
 

Bernhard J.

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By the way, my Culver has a strange feature as well. The upper plate appears to have been engraved after setting of the chatons, as evident from this detail. Or was this common practice?

11a.jpg
 

musicguy

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Hi Allan, I would suppose that the barrel bridge is from another watch?
Yes it seems to be a watch made up of different culver movement parts from
different years.


Rob
 
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diveboy

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You would have to wait until you receive it and then remove the dial, it will be stamped on the plate and also the balance cock and the balance wheel, that will confirm the serial number. Till then, speculation would be someone replaced a part form another movement.
 
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Allan C. Purcell

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Hi Allan, I would suppose that the barrel bridge is from another watch?
My feelings at the moment, are the real serial number is the one on the right, that seems to be they were so when made, from what I have seen so far. The barrel bridge is probably as you have said. See post 1.

Thank you both for the quick response.

Allan.

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So, I would say you are all correct, looks like someone wanted an earlier date. I only wanted the case, I could change my mind though. I wanted to put my Howard movement in there, does that make me a bad boy??

Allan
 

musicguy

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Here are the two serial numbers in question(on the same movement above)
one is a B W Raymond and one is a H Z Culver.
This is a mismatched movement. It could be a bodge BWR or a bodge HZC

Elgin Pocket Watch: Serial Number 276687 (Grade 62) (pocketwatchdatabase.com)

Elgin Pocket Watch: Serial Number 128247 (Grade 69) (pocketwatchdatabase.com)


In the future please do not post full page images from websites that you
have not asked permission to use thier pages. The pocket watch database
has given this permission.


Rob
'
 
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Rick Hufnagel

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The upper plate appears to have been engraved after setting of the chatons
There are no chatons. The H.Z. Culver has jewels burnished into the plate. The ring is engraved into the brass and the screws are for aesthetics only.

As the second grade... the HZC lacks a few of the features of the Raymond. The dial is single sink instead of double sunk. The faux jewel settings and lack of Moseley regulator option.

HZC does, however, have a stopworks on the barrel like the BWR. I had to double check in the material catalogs because it's been forever since I had one apart. So that is a nice feature if it is intact. It is quick train as well(18,000bph).
 

Paul Sullivan

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By the way, my Culver has a strange feature as well. The upper plate appears to have been engraved after setting of the chatons, as evident from this detail. Or was this common practice?

View attachment 713782
Bernhard,

I believe the "screw" settings are strictly decorative. I think I remember the topic came up and the jewels are friction set. The engraved ring around the settings and screws give it the look of a higher grade watch.
Here is a detail from my Waltham 18s PSB circa 1869 with the same faux settings.


PSB Movement_Faux setting.JPG
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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Stupid me, I thought this organsation was about promoting interest in and encouraging the collecting of clocks and watches including disseminating knowledge of the same, guess its not fun to use accurate information.
Ugh.

I've freely (emphasis added) contributed tons of accurate information to the NAWCC message board over the past 20 plus years all with the intention, either implied or unambiguously so, of disseminating knowledge about American pocket watches to our members and guests. I don't claim to be the most prolific contributor, but neither will I take a second seat to anyone when it comes to sharing information on a great many topics that are of interest to me and for which I have some knowledge.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Hi Rob,
Thank you for the link above, I was beginning to believe, that the serial number on Howard Z. Culver watches was always on the balance late.
Then I found 181323 on the barrel plate. I would now say the earlier Culvers had the number on the barrel plate, then the later ones on the balance plate. So has said the number on my barrel plate is a replacement.

Thanks again.

Allan.
 
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musicguy

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Stupid me
I wouldn't agree...

diveboy 's very important Elgin National Watch Company research has led to very
crucial information that Elgin collectors use every day in order to understand their very early Named
movements in the context of Elgin's 1875 announcement. As we know in 1875 Elgin decided
that all new movement designs would now be designated and
characterized first by a Grade number and not by just by Grade name only
anymore (as were the first named Elgins) The last-named grade was the
Dexter St grade. All new movements had a Grade number assigned to them
but it wasn't until 1926 that Elgin renumbered the grades with the introduction of the material cabinet

Elgin simplified the list and the Grades themselves(eliminating 27 grades)by saying that all movement grades
that shared the same class of interchangeable parts were the same
grade(even if there were other differences). This is why the Grade numbers are very
misleading on the earliest watches (they never originally had Grade numbers only Grade names).
That is also how Elgin ended up numbering their very first Grade #69(named B W Raymond)
for their first serial number which is #101 from 1867(that never originally had a Grade
number assigned to it).
The Elgin National Watch Company was not thinking of future watch collectors
but simplification of the needed parts for their many movements.
Elgin National Watch Co. Threads with Research and other General Information | NAWCC Forums


Rob
 
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Clint Geller

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Zoroaster is an interesting middle name, Rob, a first or second millenium BC Persian prophet and founder of a religion. Zoroaster also was known as Zarathustra. I am imagining a dramatic video of a Culver movement emerging from behind the Earth with Richard Strauss's stirring music playing in the background. :) I'm wondering how many people would get the joke.
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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Zoraster is an interesting middle name, Rob, a first or second millenium BC Persian prophet and founder of a religion. Zoroaster also was known as Zarathustra. I am imagining a dramatic video of a Culver movement emerging from behind the Earth with Richard Strauss's stirring music playing in the background. :) I'm wondering how many people would get the joke.
Or maybe a human ancestor flinging an H. Z. Culver watch into the atmosphere after using it to club a nearby animal. It would probably take at least a 6 ounce case to get the job done.
 

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