Illinois Ben Franklin

rrwatch

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This is my find (one of them anyway) I found at the National in Louisville. I've seen the 18 size Ben Franklin, but this is the first 16 size I've run across. These were private label for Oskamp-Nolting of Cincinnatti, OH.

The 1910 Oskamp-Nolting catalog lists the 16 size Ben Franklin as available in 17, 21 and 25 jewels, all available in hunting or open face configuration. These are all "Getty" style, with the single exposed winding wheel.

How many of the 21 jewel open face were made? Meggars and Snyder list only two runs;
2,242,101 - 110 Run of 10
2,252,301 - 800 Run of 500

In the first run (of 10) we have recorded 1 example, SN 2,242,104, shown here.
In the second run (of 500) we have recorded 6 examples, NONE of which are Ben Franklin or any other private label.
In a third run, 2,242,121 - 2,242,130 run of 10, which is not listed as being Ben Franklin, we have 2 examples recorded, both of which ARE Ben Franklin.
My guess is that both runs of 10 are Ben Franklin, while the large run of 500 was listed as Ben Franklin in error, or mixed with regular Illinois production.

All known examples listed above are open face. There are two earlier runs of 21 jewel in HC;
1,977,401 - 600 Run of 300, mixed in with Ariston private label. The split between the two private labels is not known.
2,135,401 - 485 Run of 85


We will need more examples of these watches to determine how many were really made. Any additional information about any of the 16 size Ben Franklin would be appreciated.
 

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John Cote

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Ed,

I am in your camp...that there were probably 20 of these made. It will be difficult to prove but until serial numbers outside this range show up I am with you. We do know from some ads Oskamp ran well after the Ben's were made that they finally blew them out at reduced prices (I can't find the ads now but perhaps someone will come up with them). This probably means that the Ben's were not big sellers in their day. This is a really scarce watch...and a beauty too. Thanks for the pictures.
 

179

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Ed, 2,135,579 is a 21j O.F. It is listed in the Ledgers as 23j, but Bill had seen one from this run and it was 21j so he made a correction.
 

Frank N

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Add to the mix a 17 jewel hunt case Ben Franklin, serial number 2,255,964. This one is from 1910, run 2,255,801 - 2,256,000, the Meggers book says 350 were made. The case curvette is inscribed, "FROM PARENTS 21st BIRTHDAY 1917". Perhaps it sat on a jewelers shelf of a while.
 

Fred Hansen

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Some more 16 size Benjamin Franklin serial numbers …

2242138 - 25 jewel open face
2287905 - 25 jewel open face
2406964 - 25 jewel open face

2135494 - 25 jewel hunting case
2349604 - 25 jewel hunting case
2418712 - 25 jewel hunting case
2418718 - 25 jewel hunting case

2242110 - 21 jewel open face
2242114 - 21 jewel open face
2252417 - 21 jewel open face

1977592 - 21 jewel hunting case

2257343 - 17 jewel open face
2406990 - 17 jewel open face

2111956 - 17 jewel hunting case
2111960 - 17 jewel hunting case
2418734 - 17 jewel hunting case


I believe the 21 and 25 jewel versions were usually made in small runs of 10 to 20 watches at a time. The 25 jewel versions were often intermixed in runs of 23 jewel Sangamo grade, and the actual production of the 25 jewel open face is far less than Bill Meggers estimated due to the mixing of 23 jewel Sangamos in one of the runs.

All 21 jewel versions I've seen have been marked as Adjusted 5 Positions. 25 jewel versions (and 26 jewel in 18 size) are marked to 6 Positions.

The damaskeen patterns on the 16 size 25 jewel and 21 jewel versions are actually the same with the exception that the 25 jewel is a 2-tone color while the 21 jewel is all nickel. Same goes for the 18 size, identical patterns but the 26 jewel is a 2-tone color while the 21 jewel is all nickel.
 
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RON in PA

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Ed, Am I correct in thinking this Illinois is basically the same as a Sangamo?
 

rrwatch

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In general, yes. But as Fred H. noted, the 21 jewel Ben Franklin ii adjusted to 5 positions while the Sangamo 21 jewel movements are 6 positions.
 

woodms

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May 16, 2009
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Some more 16 size Benjamin Franklin serial numbers …

2242138 - 25 jewel open face
2287905 - 25 jewel open face
2406964 - 25 jewel open face

2135494 - 25 jewel hunting case
2349604 - 25 jewel hunting case
2418712 - 25 jewel hunting case
2418718 - 25 jewel hunting case

2242110 - 21 jewel open face
2242114 - 21 jewel open face
2252417 - 21 jewel open face

1977592 - 21 jewel hunting case

2257343 - 17 jewel open face
2406990 - 17 jewel open face

2111956 - 17 jewel hunting case
2111960 - 17 jewel hunting case
2418734 - 17 jewel hunting case


I believe the 21 and 25 jewel versions were usually made in small runs of 10 to 20 watches at a time. The 25 jewel versions were often intermixed in runs of 23 jewel Sangamo grade, and the actual production of the 25 jewel open face is far less than Bill Meggers estimated due to the mixing of 23 jewel Sangamos in one of the runs.

All 21 jewel versions I've seen have been marked as Adjusted 5 Positions. 25 jewel versions (and 26 jewel in 18 size) are marked to 6 Positions.

The damaskeen patterns on the 16 size 25 jewel and 21 jewel versions are actually the same with the exception that the 25 jewel is a 2-tone color while the 21 jewel is all nickel. Same goes for the 18 size, identical patterns but the 26 jewel is a 2-tone color while the 21 jewel is all nickel.

Hi - I inherited this from my great grandfather. It's marked as a Benjamin Franklin 21 jewel 6 position with a serial ending in 600, as shown.

I hope this contributes to this thread and I would like to know more about it. I posted this several years ago and the responses were helpful so I was hoping more had been learned. . .it could use a bit of a cleaning but it runs fine.

Any additional info would be appreciated!

Thanks

image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
 

John Cote

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Thanks a lot of the pictures. It is great to have it in the records. It appears to be in great original shape and would clean up very nicely. The dials of these watches usually are not perfect and yours seems pretty close to perfect.

Just out of curiosity, was your great grandpa from Southern Ohio? The company which sold these was out of Cincy.
 

Fred Hansen

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Nice example and thanks for posting the pics!

Since the earlier posts in this thread I've seen some more Benjamin Franklin 16 sizes in the various jewel counts, and I've seen both "Adjusted 5 Positions" and "Adjusted 6 Positions" marked examples among 21 jewel movements in both open face and hunting case varieties. At the moment the list of examples that I've seen and noted by serial number is ...


25 jewel open face
2135600
2242138
2287905
2406964

25 jewel hunting case
2135494
2135497
2349604
2418712
2418714
2418718

21 jewel open face
2135579
2242104 (5 positions)
2242110 (5 positions)
2242114
2252417 (5 positions)
2398260 (6 positions)

21 jewel hunting case
1977592
1977600 (6 positions)
2135476 (5 positions)

17 jewel open face
2228996
2257343
2406990

17 jewel hunting case
2111956
2111960
2255952
2255964
2418734
2418738
 

John Cote

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Nice example and thanks for posting the pics!

Since the earlier posts in this thread I've seen some more Benjamin Franklin 16 sizes in the various jewel counts, and I've seen both "Adjusted 5 Positions" and "Adjusted 6 Positions" marked examples among 21 jewel movements in both open face and hunting case varieties. At the moment the list of examples that I've seen and noted by serial number is ...
Fred,

You and your dad and all of the research and sharing both of you have done is what the NAWCC is all about. I am proud to have known you both since you were a little kid at the Chicago Regional and your dad was a middle aged workin' stiff.
 

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