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Hampden for Ball

Greg Frauenhoff

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Bill Kapp asked, in another thread, about a private label Hampden mvt made for Ball that does not have the Ball name on it. I recall discussing this watch in an earlier thread, but here is a bit on the watch along with a little extra on early Hampden private labels mvts in general to help understand what was typical, as regards private labels, at the time.

First up the "Menlo Park" Hampdens are a private label made for C. H. Knight & Co. We know this for at least two reasons: (1) many surviving Menlo Park mvts have dials marked C. H. Knight and (2) there is known a C. H. Knight Co. catalog wherein the Menlo Park mvts are offered for sale. Also, there is no evidence that Hampden marketed a Menlo Park grade themselves. So it's very reasonable to conclude that "Menlo Park" was a name specifically requested by C. H. Knight & Co.; i. e. a private label.

Second up the "Lakeside" Hampdens are private label made for Chas. Wendell of Chicago (along a lake, by the way). So far as I know, none of the Lakeside mvts have dials marked for Wendell; rather they have Hampden marked dials. But this was somewhat common in the early 1880s for private labels (that is marked mvts without matching marked dials). One piece of evidence (there is probably other evidence but it would take me some digging to locate it) is provided by the shipping tin shown below.

Third up there are a few Hampdens marked "Superior St., Cleveland, O." (does the street ring a bell?) with dials marked Hampden Watch Co. Below is an actual order for such a specially engraved mvt from one of John C. Perry's memo books. Note who made the order: Webb C. Ball. So, the mvts marked "Superior St., Cleveland, O." were specially ordered by one Webb C. Ball. That is, they are a Ball private label. The evidence from Perry's memo is as close to proof positive as we can expect for the confirmation of any private label watch.


 

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Jeff Hess

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TERRFIC Thread! No guess work....great provenance.

And this only 5 years in to Webbs ownership of his store. He was so close to (As he referred to him..) "Uncle Johnny". And seemed to work closely with him for a long long time.

Jeff
 

andrew66

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Wow this is a great find indeed! I have never heard before....Basically it's the earliest Ball Hampden known made in the very first years Mr. Ball was in bussiness alone ...1880? Do we know if other examples have been reported? This might be the sole example known... Great History and find!
 

andrew66

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The serial number of the watch is 112,668 which year of production place it? 1879 according to the price guide serial number production date or 1881 according to Hampden table by Henry Burgell?Iam asking this as we do know Webb C Ball started is bussiness in the year 1879.I post here again the picture of this rare find for everyone to see taken from the previous thread and i hope the owner will not mind...:whistle:
 

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rockford

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Terrific thread and what a find!
Congratz. to the owner of this rare bird!
Being a Ball Collector I will definitively be on the hunt for one of these.
Hopefully a few survived, I know it will be very hard.....! Andrew66 i believe serial 112,662 it was made in the year 1880.
This is the map of 1880 with Ball shop. The first jewelry, after a few years it will be called by the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad as an expert.

Ball_office_1880.jpg
 

rockford

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I have found this picture of the first Webb C. Ball building located in Superior Street.
I believe they used this location for 32 years then they moved to Euclid Avenue in the year 1911.

I have a lot of interest in life and pocket watch of Webb Cornelius Ball.

.
superior street ball building.jpg


 
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andrew66

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It appears that serial number 112,662 PL for Ball by Hampden was made in the year 1880( thus few months after his business started that i believe was middle 1879.) It would be interesting to see if other examples surface and their serial number to have an estimate production number that i speculate to be very low. When W.C.Ball started his bussiness on SUPERIOR STREET in the middle of 1879 i believe Hampden's serial numbers had to be in the 95,000- 100,000 range.

Rockford thank you for that picture!
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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It appears that serial number 112,662 PL for Ball by Hampden was made in the year 1880( thus few months after his business started that i believe was middle 1879.) It would be interesting to see if other examples surface and their serial number to have an estimate production number that i speculate to be very low. When W.C.Ball started his bussiness on SUPERIOR STREET in the middle of 1879 i believe Hampden's serial numbers had to be in the 95,000- 100,000 range.

Rockford thank you for that picture!
Andrew,

I would caution that serial number date correlations are only approx. and dependent, among other things, on the particular grade being made. A year or two in either direction is possible and in some cases even more.

Cheers,

Greg
 

andrew66

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Hi Greg,I agree with you but if we want to give a date to the watch the list below seems to be the most correct list of Hampden serial numbers and dates.If this is correct your watch is right on the year Mr.Ball started his bussines on Superior Street,Cleveland,O. year 1879!Now I do not know if the Hampden watch co. serial numbers were in chronological order or not but if they are your watch is right there year 1879-1880.My 2 cents opinion .

YearS/N
187759,000
187870,000
1879100,000
1880140,000
1881180,000
1882215,000
1883250,000
1884300,000
1885350,000
1886400,000
1887480,000

 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Andrew,

The date for Mr. Ball's order for some "Superior St." marked mvts that I found in one of J. C. Perry's memo books (see pic above) is March of 1884. Of course, he could have made earlier (and multiple) orders, but he clearly made an order as late as 1884.

Anyway, a fascinating private label watch, even if it's not one that many Ball collectors would drool over.

Greg
 

andrew66

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I am sure Mr. Ball had multiple orders ( how many is everyone guessing) but if as per today this watch is the only one been reported i am sure not many made. Regarding the interest of Ball collectors on this particolar PL made for Ball now that these informations are out ( thanks to you!) i am positive they will be on the hunt considering the rarity and fascinating history/ name behind it...at the end this is a Ball Hampden PL... Unknown to most of collectors untill now...:)
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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I am sure Mr. Ball had multiple orders ( how many is everyone guessing) but if as per today this watch is the only one been reported i am sure not many made.
FWIW, I recall that the Superior St. private label is listed in both the Ehrhardt/Meggers "gold book" and the Hernick/Arnold Hampden book so the one here is not the only one reported.
 

andrew66

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FWIW, I recall that the Superior St. private label is listed in both the Ehrhardt/Meggers "gold book" and the Hernick/Arnold Hampden book so the one here is not the only one reported.
Do we know the serial numbers of the ones noted in these 2 books? That would help maybe in dating the watch( maybe are are from the Perry's 1884 note you showed?)This would be very interesting!
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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Three other Superior St. Hampdens are #109775 and 76000 (from Hernick/Arnold) and 103486.
 
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andrew66

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Thank you Greg Terrific!! So with your serial number 112,662 only 4 known/reported! Now....if it's correct serial number 76,000 is a 15 jewels adjusted Railway Grade!! and would place it in the year 1878..:eek:,,..Is it possible that these 'Superior Street "movements have been orderd while Mr.Ball was still in partnership with Whitcomb?? Serial 103,486 and serial 109,775 are same grade as your serial 112,662- 11 -15 jewels unudjusted.
 

Kent

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I've sent a note to Bob, but I suspect that he's been following this anyway.

Meanwhile, Ed and I have the following model 2, 15-jewel, adjusted, nickel, lever-set (except as noted) movements listed in our data base (which includes those listed in The Hampden Watch Co., NAWCC Special Order Supplement #1, J. Hernick and R. Arnold, NAWCC, Columbia, PA, 1997). All of these are Railway grade or Perry grade (take your pick for the private label movements).

75,026 - J.C. Perry
75,071 - J.C. Perry (not noted as being adjusted)
75,128 - J.C. Perry
75,131 - Cowell Bros.
75,139 - Standard
75,165 - Rwy
75,221 - J.C. Perry
75,244 - Perry (not marked "Adjusted")
75,317 - J.C. Perry
75,344 - Osgood & Chapin
75,382 - Perry
75,393 - J.C. Perry
75,441 - Rwy
75,480
75,499 - Perry (not marked "Adjusted")
75,547 - Rwy
75,555 - Rwy
75,576 - Rwy
75,606 - D.W. Smith
75,697 - Lawrence
75,806 - Rwy
75,813 - Rwy
75,820 - Rwy
75,882 - Rwy
75,887 - Rwy
76,000 - Superior St. (not noted as being nickel or lever-set)

In Hernick and Arnold's book, these are followed by the following 18-size movements. Ed and I don't have any records in this immediate serial number range (up to and including 76,623) as they aren't a high enough grade to be interesting to us and there isn't enough time to record everything:
76,135 - HG1K - 7J - Unadjusted
76,528 - HG1K - 15J
76,623 - HG1K
76,716 - HN2L - Perry, Adjusted
 
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Kent

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Here's the reply I received from Bob Arnold:

Yes, would you please put on the message board, edit all as you see fit.

I looked back thru the numbers I've gathered since the book was published and found the following for
Superior St, Cleveland, Ohio:
89,961: 18-7-HG1K-U
103,486; 18-11-HG2L-U
109,788; 18-11-HN2L-U
(Also; 76,000; 18-15-H_2_-_ in the book)
I don't have any pictures; I didn't realize the significance of these

Here is what I have in the S/N 75-76K range:
75,344: 18-15-HN2L-A, Osgood & Chapin, BATTLE CREEK, MI (gold jewel settings)
75,606: 18-15-HN2L-A, D.W.Smith, ALLIANCE, OHIO (composition jewel settings)
I don't remember ever seeing a Railway or others with this construction; another thing to look for.

Yours,
Bob Arnold
 

andrew66

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Kent thank you very much!! And of course a big thank you to Mr.Arnold for his unbelievable and priceless work regarding the HAmpden Watch Co.Without him most of the records of this American Manufacture would have been lost.

So as per today the following 6 serial numbers have been recorded/reported marked "Superior Street":

76,000 -15 jewels hunter

89,961- 7 jewels hunter

103,486 11 jewels hunter

109,775 11 jewels hunter

109,778 11 jewels hunter

112,662 11 jewels hunter

Serial number 76,000 seems very interesting being 15 jewels ( we do not know if adjusted and Railway grade ) but also the year of production would place it in the years 1877-1878? Webb C. Ball started his own bussiness in the middle 1879 so if that is the case it was ordered while in partnership with Whitcomb,,,am I correct? :confused:
 

Kent

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... Serial number 76,000 seems very interesting being 15 jewels ( we do not know if adjusted and Railway grade ) but also the year of production would place it in the years 1877-1878? Webb C. Ball started his own bussiness in the middle 1879 so if that is the case it was ordered while in partnership with Whitcomb,,,am I correct? ...
No. As Greg pointed out in post #13 (above), "... serial number date correlations are only approx. and dependent, among other things, on the particular grade being made. A year or two in either direction is possible and in some cases even more."
 

Fred Hansen

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Another one to add to the list, serial 112658 ...

https://mb.nawcc.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=194189&d=1379784485
 

Glenn Davis

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hampden face.jpg I just bought what I think is a Hampden private label that isn't listed above. The dial says Hampden watch co but the movement says W D Hawley and it's marked Syracuse NY. Picture is attached. I'll try and add a dial pic soon. I have it running but need a 3rd wheel to get it back perfect.

The movement # is 75654 .The pivot is broken and it catches on the winding bridge when on it's side. Am I correct in all the assumptions I have made? Is this a 1887 Hampden private label? hampden.jpg
 
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Bryan Eyring

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Correct, p/l Hampden. Cool piece in that it has the earlier setting mechanism, so probably closer to 1877. I don't have my serial list handy but your watch appears to be a "Railway" grade. I have one of these from the same run, marked for the Toronto Watch Co, in orig case. As an aside, these earliest stem-winders are very difficult to find in their orig. cases.
 

Glenn Davis

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Thanks Bryan! I am interested in the railroad grade proof. Can you confirm it is Railroad grade and if so how? I am new to the pocket watch collecting but I do understand the RG importance. I just missed out on a nice bunn special 60 hour I should gave bought. What can I look for to see if the case is original to this movement?
 

Kent

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... I am interested in the railroad grade proof. Can you confirm it is Railroad grade and if so how? ...
At the time the watch was built, in the late 1870s or early 1880s (using references listed in the Hampden Watch Co. Encyclopedia article), on many roads the watches only had to be adjusted to heat and cold, such as the Erie was was still accepting in 1891 (see below). Your watch, being marked "Adjusted" is at least adjusted to heat and cold.


attachment.jpg
 

Bryan Eyring

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Hi, to answer the second half of your question, I can already tell you that your case is not original, as it is a screw back and bezel, open face, approx 25+ yrs later than your mov't. Your movement would have originally been in a silver, gold, or gold filled hunter case. I have seen approx 25 of these earlier setting mechanism movements and only 2 of them were in their orig cases, 1 18k, 1 silver.
 

Glenn Davis

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Some better pictures of the signature and it looks like it has solid gold jewel settings and is 15 jewels. The dial is signed Hampden Watch. co. move close name.jpg move close number.jpg dial crack.jpg

Had a hard time finding a pallet arbor for this one. Really well made movement and the balance swings smoother than any other watch I have.
 
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Keith R...

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I'm glad you guys are sharing Hampden info. I only have a couple of Hampden lever sets and one key wind, but this Ball tie in is interesting.
Mentioned is CH Knight & Co. which last week I saw on a 18s Hampden dial and on the movement was Richmond and Chicago. I started to grab it but
think I need to cook a littlle longer on Hampdens, (home work). It's little things like on Glen Davis movement with a Tucker regulator in 75xxx range and on
one of mine is a Teske regulator. I have not seen any Ball references (yet, in the Henry B data base). I just want to thank you guys for sharing and I too like
this thread. Keith
 

Keith R...

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I'm hoping to hone in on key winds that jewelers were trying to up jewel or add fine regulation to on Hampden KWKS short of RR regs and Mr. Ball. Keith
 

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