Paul M. Chamberlain Watch Collection Stolen Items List

aucaj

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Paul M. Chamberlain Watch Collection Stolen Items List

In 1958, many pieces from the Paul Chamberlain watch collection were stolen from the Michigan State University. A few more pieces were stolen from an exhibit in the 1980s. Currently, there are 36 stolen pieces still missing from the MSU Chamberlain collection.

With permission from the MSU museum, I have attached an excel document listing all the stolen items. I have also included a link to a free downloadable copy of the 1921 'Watches: the Paul M. Chamberlain collection at the Art Institute of Chicago" from the Smithsonian Library. This document contains descriptions and some photos of the Chamberlain collection. Unfortunately, there are at least 9 items on this list that do not have accompanying photos or sufficient distinguishing characteristics to positively identify them.


If any of these items are located or observed, please contact the staff at the MSU Museum immediately:
MSU Museum
409 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing, MI 48824
www.museum.msu.edu/
(517) 355-2370
 

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aucaj

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Here is a link to a review of the 2009 Chamberlain exhibition. It contains some history of the collection.

REVIEW: Watches of the Paul Chamberlain Collection
BOOKREVIEW Paul Chamberlain’s Watch Collection documented Watches of the Paul Chamberlain Collection – 2009 NAWCC National Convention Exhibit, Grand Rapids, Michigan, by NAWCC Publications Staff, Terry Casey (Introduction) and Dennis Engels (Photography). Published 2009 by NAWCC, Columbia PA...


Here is a link to 1936 newspaper article about the watch exhibit at the Chamberlain Memorial Museum.

 

aucaj

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MSU Property Marking:
When many of the stolen movements were recovered shortly after the 1958 theft, the MSU museum curator at the time had the movements engraved on the back plate with 'MSU' and his initials. Current MSU staff have given their assurance that no further markings will be applied to any recovered pieces. In the 1960s the museum was not aware that applying property markings in this manner was actually defacing these artifacts.
 

Tom McIntyre

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Watch 292 listed as DeLong in the Excel file was not stolen as far as I can tell. In the record of the 1921 Art Institute Catalog, it is listed as belonging to Mr. Hills and loaned to the Exhibit. The watches owned by Hills from the remains of the McIntyre Watch Co. were sold to the Time Museum and consisted of the subject watch and a 12 size McIntyre Watch with a somewhat simpler escapement (i.e. no wind indicator).

When the Time Museum was sold at Sotheby's the 16 size watch was purchased by the Museum of time and Glass, which is not currently open to visitors. The other Hills' owned watch belongs to a private collector.

Chamberlains's description of the watch is inaccurate since it is jeweled in the barrel and winding indicator for a total of 25 jewels.

Do you know the folks at MSU well enough to see if the items currently in the collection could be available to be photographed?

I was at the exhibit in Grand Rapids when they were being displayed by Terry Case for MSU. I had my own McIntyre and DeLong Exhibit on display in the same room and gave three lectures on Fred Mcintyre, Charles DeLong and the McIntyre Watch Co.

Hills eventually donated the remaining tooling, parts and drawings to Samelius for the Elgin School and he later sold the material to Henry Wing Jr. I purchased it from his son, Don Wing, about 20 years ago.

Henry Wing Jr. made many of the display cases that held the Chamberlain movement collection. I amy not sure of the origin of the case idea and other collectors besides Chamberlain used the cases. I am confident that Henry Wing Jr. did not make all of them.

I am currently trying to organize some thoughts on Chamberlain and his collections.
 

aucaj

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Do you know the folks at MSU well enough to see if the items currently in the collection could be available to be photographed?
Hi Tom,

I'm not sure how they generated the stolen items lists. Do you think this error could have occurred because they were comparing the 1921 exhibition catalog to their current holdings? Could there be other errors?

The MSU staff were very friendly and helpful. They told me that all the watches are currently held in secure storage. I am not sure about gaining access. In the past, I have hired a local photograph to meet with staff at the British museum to photograph watches listed in their online database (COVID has unfortunately prevented it for the past year). Perhaps the MSU museum would allow something similar?

R/
Chris
 

Tom McIntyre

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I am planning a paper on Chamberlain, and I would really like to be able to get some better images of some fo the pieces. Of course, It's About Time is a treasure trove of his thinking. It presents challenges in deciding what else might be said about him and his career as a horologist/collector.

My time budget is about a year for this project, so it is not really urgent and I hope the pandemic will be behind us in time.

It occured to me in rereading my post above, that the description of the DeLong watch may have been to the 12 size watch rather than the 16 size wind indicator watch. Since all those who really knew are gone now, we may never know which one is being described. Here is a link to my web page on the McIntyre Watch Co. and DeLong. AWCo Web
 
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Ralph

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Tom,

You might like this. It's a 1923 Elgin document describing the insuring of the Chamberlain collection while being in an exhibition at the Elgin School of Horology...

Enjoy...

Ralph
 

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aucaj

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Ralph,

Wow! Thank you for sharing the document. Is there any chance you would consider providing the NAWCC library with a digital scanned copy for their records? I know they have a large number of Chamberlain documents and records. I think your document is an very interesting and important part of that history.

Kind Regards,
Chris
 

Tom McIntyre

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Thanks ralph. That is a great set of documents and also a great insight into the value of watches from the period.

Do you have the document, or are these images from a while ago?
 

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Thanks ralph. That is a great set of documents and also a great insight into the value of watches from the period.

Do you have the document, or are these images from a while ago?
Tom, yes I have them.

Ralph
 

aucaj

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I am planning a paper on Chamberlain, and I would really like to be able to get some better images of some fo the pieces. Of course, It's About Time is a treasure trove of his thinking. It presents challenges in deciding what else might be said about him and his career as a horologist/collector.

My time budget is about a year for this project, so it is not really urgent and I hope the pandemic will be behind us in time.

It occured to me in rereading my post above, that the description of the DeLong watch may have been to the 12 size watch rather than the 16 size wind indicator watch. Since all those who really knew are gone now, we may never know which one is being described. Here is a link to my web page on the McIntyre Watch Co. and DeLong. AWCo Web
Hi Tom,

I have a shared interest in Chamberlain and his collection. I would be interested in reading whatever material you publish on the subject. I believe you probably saw from my lever-duplex post (https://mb.nawcc.org/threads/seeking-examples-of-duplex-lever-escapements.182895/) that I have acquired Chamberlain's collection piece that we briefly writes about in this book and that I plan to publish an article on that watch and its design. I have also been tracking down as many items as I can from Chamberlain's second collection. Outside of these two areas, I would be happy to be any assistance I can with your efforts.

R/
Chris
 

Tom McIntyre

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I have also been tracking down as many items as I can from Chamberlain's second collection. Outside of these two areas, I would be happy to be any assistance I can with your efforts.
Chris, How do you identify watches from Chamberlain's second collection? Did Margaret publish a list of items somewhere? I have never seen any sort of list of the later collection. I actually have two copies of the 1921 Art Institute display. One is autographed by Chamberlain to his cousin William C. Chamberlain.

I have been purchasing movements in the Wing/Chamberlain display case whenever I could for the past 30 or so years.

I have one interesting movement that may have been originally from Chamberlain, but it was purchased from the Oscar T Lang collection. It was discussed in another thread here: Ingold.
 

aucaj

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I have one interesting movement that may have been originally from Chamberlain, but it was purchased from the Oscar T Lang collection. It was discussed in another thread here: Ingold.
Hi Tom,

I have checked but I don't see anything in my records that definitively identify the Ingold as belonging to Chamberlain.

As you're aware, the display case is the Wing design. However, I believe Wing did not make these exclusively for Chamberlain.

R/
Chris
 

Tom McIntyre

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I have checked but I don't see anything in my records
Chris, what is the source of your records? I do not know of any lists besides the ones we have seen in this thread. Is there another compilation later than the Art Institute of Chicago? Since Margaret sold the collection after her husband's death, she probably had some sort of inventory.

I did find out that Margaret was the first woman member of the NAWCC. It is possible that some of the Chamberlain paper records found their way to the NAWCC Library Archives. Terry Casey would have known about that I believe and it is not mentioned in the .document produced for the 2009 NAWCC Convention Exhibit.

I displayed my McIntyre Watch Co. and DeLong artifacts in the same exhibition.

McIntyre WatchCompany Charles DeLong 1636689Fred Mcintyre737784.png
 
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