Hamiltons First Rail Road Watch the 936

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by musicguy, Apr 1, 2018.

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  1. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    #1 musicguy, Apr 1, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2018
    I recently bought a well worn Hamilton 1904 936 with original dial. The DS dial is not in the best shape but I couldn't
    pass it up based on the price I paid for it(I am a bottom feeder). Also it happens to be in it's original
    B & B Royal case. In addition when I looked at the Hamilton ledger it has some nice history
    potentially that comes with it. According to what I've read on this site 23,597 936's were produced from 1893
    until 1920. Also the first Hamilton watches that were built were grade No. 936. Plus it's Hamilton's first
    railroad grade watch.

    I believe(and I would like some input) that the hands on the watch may be wrong for this year?

    So when I read the Hamilton ledger I saw that it was sold to J.W. Forsinger(It has a small monogram
    JFW on back) Traditional Monogram for an individual, the first name initial is followed by the last and
    middle. The last name initial (center) is larger than those on the side. Maybe it's a loaner watch?

    I did a search for J.W. Forsinger and found a lot of information....
    First, a great NAWCC encyclopedia article about J.W. Forsinger by Kent(That guy down in Georgia)
    and found out that:
    Railroad Trainmen's Journal May 1904.png 1904_Forsinger_Time_Inspection_Service.JPG The Jewelers' Circular and Horological Review 1893.png

    Plus some type of connection to Webb C Ball
    The Railway Conductor - Volume 21 - Page 707 - Google Books Result 1904.png
    k936 photo 6.jpg k936 photo 2.jpg k936 photo 1.jpg



    There are many variations including PL's of this grade please share what you have.


    Thanks
    Rob

    View attachment 469390
     
  2. 179

    179 Registered User
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    Lacking an ID number and marked on the case loaner, would most likely rule out it being a loaner. Yes the hands are later than the watch.
     
  3. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    That's not really a connection, they're notices that J.W. Forsinger has lost the time service contracts for the CRI&G and the CRI&P to Ball.

    1904_Sep_Forsinger_Loses_Rock_Island_To_Ball.jpg
     
  4. Tom Huber

    Tom Huber Registered User
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    I don’t see any damage o your dial. If their are any small hairlines, they I’ll come to with a soaking

    Tom
     
  5. 179

    179 Registered User
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    On my screen it looks like a hair line from the center hole to the 56 sec. mark, and some possible chipping around the center hole. A cleaning and it will look very good.
     
  6. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    179 is correct there is a small chip around center hole. With the bezel on(and looking through crystal)
    it can barely be seen(if at all), and there is a faint hairline also like 179 said.
    I will give it a good cleaning.

    179 do you mind if I ask your first name?

    Rob
     
  7. 179

    179 Registered User
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    Just 179 is fine.
     
  8. terry hall

    terry hall Registered User
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    very early entries in the ledgers will have an actual person, later entries are a jobber, wholesaler, agent, etc... this qualifies as later.
     
  9. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    Thanks Terry I actually knew that his name was all over the ledger page my watch was on.
     
  10. Tom Huber

    Tom Huber Registered User
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    Rob, I know 179’s first name, but my lips re sealed.

    Tom
     
  11. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    Hi Rob,

    Forsinger was one of Hamilton's largest volume dealers. That is a fact.

    On the case, I don't recall ever seeing a gold filled Loaner case, that is not gospel, but I don't remember seeing one, for the obvious reason that the plating will quickly wear off .

    That is why Loaners were in some variation of Silver,roid, reen,nickel, etc.
     
  12. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    #12 DeweyC, Apr 2, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2018
    Here is my favorite 936/937. Tracked down Dickerson as a minor publisher in the last quarter of the 19th century. No idea how Biddle was. Need to go look in the sales ledger.
    IMG_0289 (Small).JPG

    IMG_0291 (Medium).JPG IMG_0290 (Small).JPG IMG_0290 (Small).JPG


    IMG_0291 (Medium).JPG
     
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  13. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    I don't disagree and I've looked at many pictures of loaners and I almost
    bought a few(but prices were too high at the time).
    It could be a coincidence but the back of the watch doesn't have
    a clear place for a monogram and the initials are very small and off centered (way over to the side of the back of the
    case) so it just looks like it's just marked as their property(obviously only a theory).
    It might not mean anything but it could also be a company watch
    that they marked showing that it was theirs. Obviously just
    a theory with no backup.

    Rob
     
  14. Kent

    Kent Registered User
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    The J.W. Forsinger Encyclopedia article has now been updated to fix the broken links,
     
  15. Leigh Callaway

    Leigh Callaway Registered User
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    Rob:

    To your question of the hands: here are four 936s which I have or had. I think the hands and dials are correct - comments and documentation welcome please.

    Ham 936 Single 1894.jpg Ham936 Single 1895.jpg Ham 936 Double 1907.jpg Ham 936 Double 1909.jpg
     
  16. Robert Sweet

    Robert Sweet Registered User

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    With respect to the correct hands for a 936, the excerpt below from a 1909 Hamilton Material Catalog may be useful.

    Robert

    Hamilton 936 Hands - AA.jpg
     
  17. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    If anyone has an appropriate set of hands(and is willing to part with them) send me a PM

    Thanks
    Rob
     
  18. Leigh Callaway

    Leigh Callaway Registered User
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    Not to divert the thread, but would you have documentation for the hands for these two - both are 938 ca. 1896. Many thanks.

    Ham 938 Barry Dial w bezel.jpg Ham938 with bezel.jpg
     
  19. Robert Sweet

    Robert Sweet Registered User

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    The 1909 Hamilton material catalog is the earliest that I have observed. The same page as shown in my last post is attached with the 938 hands highlighted.

    There is very little information available for pre-1900 Hamilton watches. Others may have information that I don't have access to.

    Robert

    View attachment 469683

    Hamilton 938 Hands - A.jpg
     
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  20. Leigh Callaway

    Leigh Callaway Registered User
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  21. DeweyC

    DeweyC Registered User
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    Leigh,

    Here are 3 hand sets as used on pre S/N 9,000 936/937

    IMG_0310 (Medium).JPG IMG_0311 (Medium).JPG IMG_0312 (Medium).JPG
     
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  22. Leigh Callaway

    Leigh Callaway Registered User
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    Thank you - all this is valuable information.
    We match on the spade and Fleur de Lis. Rats - now I need to look out for crescent hands.
     
  23. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    #23 musicguy, Apr 5, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
    You guys convinced me, and I ordered a set of crescent hands.

    On my other watches I have Moon, Heavy spade, spade, Fleur De Lis,
    Spade wip, fine spade, Morning Glory and others but
    I didn't have any crescent ones. They are really beautiful!

    Thanks
    Rob

    ****EDIT****
    I see in the 1909 Hamilton material catalog above that they are officially called
    cresent hands(by Hamilton) but I also see them listed as umbrella hands
    on watch parts sites, and ebay etc.
     
  24. Jim Haney

    Jim Haney Registered User
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    Rob,
    It will look nice with some "Fancy Hands", as I refer to them, to describe all the different names.

    In the Price guide (2018) pg. 365, in the Rockford section,is a nice reference to all the different hands that I have referred to many times over the years..

    Early Hamilton's up to 3-4 thousand had an unusual amount of "Fancy Hands" or Fleur de Lis, like Dewey has on his watch in post #12.

    I don't know why, but they did. I guess it was the "Hot" item of the time;).
     
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  25. John Pavlik

    John Pavlik Registered User
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    Rob, they should look like these ...

    3CDE37E9-BD97-44C4-BAE4-A28346EE912A.jpeg
     
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  26. grtnev

    grtnev Registered User
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    Rob,

    The only 936 I have is later than yours and was one of 700 936's sold to the U.S. Navy as a comparing watch ca: 1917/18. It is serial number 1400637 - went to the finishing department on June 3, 1914. It is housed in a sterling silver case.

    Richard

    DSC03121.JPG DSC03136.JPG DSC03140.JPG DSC03142.JPG Finishing Dept.png Navy Memo.jpg 936.jpg
     
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  27. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    I wanted to thank Robert Sweet for posting the correct hands(post #16 above) for my Hamilton 136
    I ended up buying a beautiful pair of (part number 113) Crescent hands.

    Thanks
    Rob
     
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  28. Robert Sweet

    Robert Sweet Registered User

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    Rob,

    Thanks, I'm always glad to assist with any information in my possession. Don Dahlberg (NAWCC Library Volunteer) is responsible for most of the Hamilton information that I have. Don hasn't posted in this forum for some time. I hope he is doing well.

    Robert
     
  29. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    With the correct crescent hands

    IMG_8398.jpg IMG_0328.jpg

    Rob
     
  30. Harvey Mintz

    Harvey Mintz Registered User
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    And (just for the sake of completeness) a private label 936 with original fancy hands.:

    DSCN0351.JPG DSCN0352.JPG
     
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  31. Robert Sweet

    Robert Sweet Registered User

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  32. 179

    179 Registered User
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    Harvey, nice early C&O special. As you know made in the 1st. year of production, and later renumbered.
     

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