Identifying mark on 1881 Elgin back case

tanagerred

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Sep 18, 2022
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Hello,
I inherited this Elgin pocket watch from my parents. It still runs! I am trying to identify the mark on the inside of the back case to find out who made the case and what the material might be (gold filled or gold plated).

The watch serial number is 901748 and I found online that it was produced in 1881 or 1882,
Attached is a pic of the manufacturer's mark and '44639' on the case. Also "NP 1074" is inscribed in a corner of the cover (not shown)

Thanks for any suggestions / information.

44639.JPG front.JPG heron on back.JPG movement.JPG
 

Kent

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Hi tanagerred:

Welcome to the NAWCC American Pocket Watch Message Board!

I know that you didn't ask for all of the following, but to add to the good information posted by Shawn:

Please excuse me if I repeat some of what you already know, it's easier for me this way. Checking the references listed in the Elgin Watch Co. Encyclopedia article (and looking at your pictures), Elgin movement serial number 901748 can be seen to be
an 18-size,
model 2,
grade No. 88,
unadjusted,
lever-set,
hunting movement,
having 11 jewels, a temperature compensated balance (also known as an expansion balance),
and a Plain Regulator.
The movement is fitted with a single-sunk, Roman dial.
It was built in about 1881, give or take a year or so. This was a popular movement of which 44,000 of this variation were made from about 1880 to 1886.

You can see a catalog description of the No. 88 grade, along with where it fits in Elgin's line of 18-size movements, on the bottom of page 5 of the H. Muhr's Sons Net Price List of Movements & Cases, H. Muhr's Sons, Philadelphia, PA, March 18, 1886 (below)

Your Watch Case is gold-filled and, as Shawn posted, seems to have been made by the Keystone Watch Case Co., or an immediate predecessor.

Unless you know that it has been properly cleaned and oiled within the last few years, you should have the watch serviced before running it very much. It may be helpful for you to read the Encyclopedia article on Watch Service and its related links, especially the one to the message board thread on the subject. The Encyclopedia article on Choosing a Pocket Watch Repair Person may be useful as well.

Having gathered and printed out information about a family watch, it is a wise idea to write out as much as you know about the family member to whom the watch originally belonged - or as far back as you can go, including (and clearly identifying) what you can guess. Then, add the names and relationships of the family members who passed it down to the current holder. Make up a booklet with this and all of the watch information and try to keep it with the watch. You might even include a CD or, better yet, a USB thumb drive with copies of the pictures or information, in addition to the printouts. Even though they may not be readable 100 years from now, some more recent descendent may transfer the files to the then current format and media. This way, the watch has real family heritage instead of it just being an old family watch, the identity and relationship of the original owner having been lost in the distant past.

Unfortunately, many of the links in our Encyclopedia articles were disrupted when we changed to the current version of our Message Board and its been a long process getting them all reinstated. So, if you come across a broken link and want to see what it led to, just let us know and we'll try and post it.

Please feel free to ask about anything that isn't clear to you.

Good luck,

1886_H_Muhrs_Sons_Catalog_Pg_04_&_05_J_Treiman.jpg
 
Last edited:

Jerry Treiman

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Aug 25, 2000
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Hello,
I inherited this Elgin pocket watch from my parents. It still runs! I am trying to identify the mark on the inside of the back case to find out who made the case and what the material might be (gold filled or gold plated). [ ... ]
Looks to be like a case mark for the Keystone watch case company.
Your Watch Case is gold-filled and, as Shawn posted, seems to have been made by the Keystone Watch Case Co., or an immediate predecessor.
The crown and scales logo denotes a gold-filled case made under J.Boss patents, which eventually were controlled by the Keystone Watch Case Co. The patent was initially owned/controlled by a succession of companies, including Hagstoz & Thorpe and Thorpe & Co. Thorpe did not re-organize as the Keystone Watch Case Co. until 1883.
So technically, if your case is from around 1881-82, then it did precede Keystone ownership.
 

tanagerred

New User
Sep 18, 2022
3
2
3
67
Country
The crown and scales logo denotes a gold-filled case made under J.Boss patents, which eventually were controlled by the Keystone Watch Case Co. The patent was initially owned/controlled by a succession of companies, including Hagstoz & Thorpe and Thorpe & Co. Thorpe did not re-organize as the Keystone Watch Case Co. until 1883.
So technically, if your case is from around 1881-82, then it did precede Keystone ownership.
Thank you both for your help.
 

tanagerred

New User
Sep 18, 2022
3
2
3
67
Country
Hi tanagerred:

Welcome to the NAWCC American Pocket Watch Message Board!

I know that you didn't ask for all of the following, but to add to the good information posted by Shawn:

Please excuse me if I repeat some of what you already know, it's easier for me this way. Checking the references listed in the Elgin Watch Co. Encyclopedia article (and looking at your pictures), Elgin movement serial number 901748 can be seen to be
an 18-size,
model 2,
grade No. 88,
unadjusted,
lever-set,
hunting movement,
having 11 jewels, a temperature compensated balance (also known as an expansion balance),
and a Plain Regulator.
The movement is fitted with a single-sunk, Roman dial.
It was built in about 1881, give or take a year or so. This was a popular movement of which 44,000 of this variation were made from about 1880 to 1886.

You can see a catalog description of the No. 88 grade, along with where it fits in Elgin's line of 18-size movements, on the bottom of page 5 of the H. Muhr's Sons Net Price List of Movements & Cases, H. Muhr's Sons, Philadelphia, PA, March 18, 1886 (below)

Your Watch Case is gold-filled and, as Shawn posted, seems to have been made by the Keystone Watch Case Co., or an immediate predecessor.

Unless you know that it has been properly cleaned and oiled within the last few years, you should have the watch serviced before running it very much. It may be helpful for you to read the Encyclopedia article on Watch Service and its related links, especially the one to the message board thread on the subject. The Encyclopedia article on Choosing a Pocket Watch Repair Person may be useful as well.

Having gathered and printed out information about a family watch, it is a wise idea to write out as much as you know about the family member to whom the watch originally belonged - or as far back as you can go, including (and clearly identifying) what you can guess. Then, add the names and relationships of the family members who passed it down to the current holder. Make up a booklet with this and all of the watch information and try to keep it with the watch. You might even include a CD or, better yet, a USB thumb drive with copies of the pictures or information, in addition to the printouts. Even though they may not be readable 100 years from now, some more recent descendent may transfer the files to the then current format and media. This way, the watch has real family heritage instead of it just being an old family watch, the identity and relationship of the original owner having been lost in the distant past.

Unfortunately, many of the links in our Encyclopedia articles were disrupted when we changed to the current version of our Message Board and its been a long process getting them all reinstated. So, if you come across a broken link and want to see what it led to, just let us know and we'll try and post it.

Please feel free to ask about anything that isn't clear to you.

Good luck,

View attachment 727036
Thank you for that wealth of information.
My father was an amateur clock repair man, and worked on clocks of all shapes and sizes. I suspect this wasn't a family heirloom, but rather something he picked up.
The house was always full of timepieces sounding off on the hour. We loved it.
 

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