Kennedy & Co, Pittsburgh Pa (Elgin P.L.)

Rick Hufnagel

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Private Label from near home, Elgin 17s, and a great stroll through the insane world of patent medicine.... this was just too good and allot of fun!

This is Elgin #488112. 7 jewels, 17 size, model 1 marked for Kennedy & Co. It cleaned up really well, still has the Hunter Patent Mainspring, looks great inside and lives in an Elgin N.W.Co coin silver case.
IMG_20210120_170940180.jpg IMG_20210120_171024788.jpg IMG_20210120_171050843_2.jpg IMG_20210119_201647592_2.jpg

So Kennedy & Co obtained the rights to Dr. Radcliffe's 7 Seven Seals or Golden Wonder in 1869, and immediately began advertising all over the country for product sales and for local agents. Prior to this they are listed as a stationary store. Here is a trade card recently added to my collection for this watch.
dr radcliffes front (1).jpg dr radcliffes back (1).jpg

How do we know it is the same company that is on the watch? From the beginning, Kennedy and Co offered watches to new agents as an incentive. This is from an 1869 issue of American Farmer, courtesy of google books.
1869 american farmer.png
One of their full column ads is attached to this post, its a pdf, sorry I couldn't find a better way to show it so it was readable.
Feb 1st, 1876 Bossier Banner (Bellevue, La) courtesy of Library of Congress. I guess it should be in the attachments section below. You will see they are still offering watches as an incentive to be an agent in 1876.


The patent medicine, or nostrum, scene was a mess of awesome advertising, hype and some crazy chemicals legally distributed all over the U.S. Dr. Radcliffe's medication is noted to cure.... just about anything. After finding out what is actually in this miracle cure I can definitely say it is not a cure, but if you took a few nips from the bottle you certainly wouldn't care if you were sick or not! This was a mixture of 90% Alchohol, Capsicum, Peppermint oil, Camphor, CHLOROFORM and ETHER!!!!! This lovely concoction came in a couple different sizes. Check out these awesome bottles. Each one marked Kennedy& Co Pittsburgh with Seven seals or golden wonder on the front. The smaller bottle is in exceptionally good condition.
IMG_20210120_171348238.jpg IMG_20210120_171312262.jpg IMG_20210120_171258353.jpg

I told you we had allot of fun with this one! These bottles are 146ish years old! I couldn't imagine how strong this concoction is. Sophie sniffed the empty bottle and look what happened!! hahaha
IMG_20200217_200635098_2.jpg
Sorry about the dog joke, i assure you no Labs were harmed in researching this company. She's just goofy and sleeps like that... and yes, those are all her blankets.

Anyways.... Kennedy & Co was located at 28 Wood St in downtown Pittsburgh. Today it is Gateway Tower, so unfortunately there is no picture of their building except for exaggerated advertisements. It is the corner building on 5th ave and Wood St, so this was a pretty prominent location at the time. 5th Ave was the place to be!

This post is started separately from the Elgin private label thread because Kennedy & Co advertised watches for their agents for years. I would imagine there could be any number of makes and models of watches out there marked for them and would like to ask anyone to please share if you know of any.

Thanks for reading and have a good day!
 

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Rick Hufnagel

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Thanks Bila, if you ever run across a picture, please let me know! I had seen another last summer, an orphan which is Sn 498216. 499076 is in that price guide
 
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PatH

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Great story and "go withs" to tell the watch's story, Rick! Good to know that the cure was equally good for man or beast, and that they had a policy of no cure, no pay. You and Sophie could have shared a bottle. What more could we want:???: :D
 

musicguy

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So I was also eyeballing this fantastic Elgin PL that Rick most
skillfully snagged. This is no common looking Elgin movement, and the
dial is great too. Thanks for posting this great informational history it
really adds value to our forum. Lucky for you that I forgot to bid on it(said in some type of accent).
Congratulations it is a nice addition to your early Elgin collection.


Rob
 

Tom Huber

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You don't see a lot of the 17S Elgins, especially cased. Most of these were made for export to England and cased with English cases.

Many of the silver cases have been scrapped. So, movements are rather easy to find.

Nice to see a complete 17S watch.

Tom
 

Rick Hufnagel

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You don't see a lot of the 17S Elgins, especially cased.

I think just because of their nature, the survival rate is moderately low.

These are marketed as an everyman's watch, a low cost option. They lack a few of the finer points of the normal Elgin watch. In the 1876 J.T. Scott Catalog (courtesy of Greg Frauenhoff) the Avery is $10. The next highest price is the Ryerson (7 jewels, full plate, solid balance) for $13.50. I do not believe the $10 includes the case on this one unlike some later price lists.

In the 1878 Clapp Webb & Young catalog the Leader (grade 59) is cased in a 2oz OF or HC and costs $13.33, which is the same as an uncased G.M. Wheeler.

Another reason are the cases themselves. Many are lightweight and just didn't hold up over the years. Just my 2 cents.

If anyone is interested, they are out there. Happy Hunting!

20210125_090309-COLLAGE.jpg

I'm still after a few specific ones, so good luck! :)
 

John Cote

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Great post and great story, as usual Rick. I just wish the great Elgin collector and friend Joe Jones was around to see the watch and to read the story. It would have put a smile on his face.
 
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Rick Hufnagel

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Thanks John. Sorry your friend is no longer with us, but it's always a welcome thing to talk to others who enjoy the same things.

That is a pretty neat case on the other watch. Certainly different. Haven't seen another, that's for sure.

Tom McIntyre has a thread explaining how to display PDFs, and I thought it would be good to show that one from the initial post so that you don't have to download it to read it.

 

Bila

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Had a quick dig around Rick and found another 3 of these Elgin 17 Jewel watches, 2 key-wind and 1 stem-wind, so that is 6 all-up (3 cased & 3 uncased). There are two "T. M. Avery's" Serials 406xxx & 410xxx, another two marked "Leader" key-wind 468,xxx and a stem-wind 507,xxx, also one of the "Kennedy & Co" serial 420,xxx (already mentioned above) and one "Sunshine" serial 495,xxx.

I notice that your Leader that is stem-wind is in the 500,xxx range, mine is also, I wonder if the 500,001 serial block this is when Elgin Watch Co changed this size and grade to the "stem-wind" only? Speaking of chasing others I have always looked for a "Inter-ocean" from the early days of my collecting forays but have only seen 2 in all that time and they went for very good money (well out of my price range:() All of these have the same type & font dials and I have never seen anything other then 7 jewel varieties over the years:)
 
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Rick Hufnagel

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Hi Bila,

The stemwinders are grade 11, one run of 10,000 which are 7 jewel and hunting, or some are cased as open faced less seconds bit.

The Inter Ocean is a grade 59. 7 jewel. same as Sunshine, Kennedy & Co, and keywind leader watches.

There are 11 jewel 17 size watches. grades 15 (4,100 total serial numbers) and 53 (1000 total serial numbers) both jeweled in pairs with the fourth and escape wheel jeweled. I think mostly exported
 

Rick Hufnagel

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Thanks! I don't know how many grade 59's are marked Inter-Ocean.
we have Thirteen total 17s private labels listed.
4 Inter Ocean, 3 Kennedy & Co grade 59s
one Avery
two different grade 15
three different grade 14
 
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