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Picked up some receipts from the 1880s 1890s

easj369

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I couldn't find an area to post an introduction, so here it is along with a question. I'm David from Daytona Beach Florida and I collect wrist and pocket watches (short and sweet). So the question. I recently picked up receipts, over 20, from the 1880 and 90s. They all have the same customers name. I'm fairly certain this person worked for the Old Colony Railroad. A lot of of receipts have the serial number to the watch that was sold, so being curious I looked them up on the pocket watch database. A lot of it matches up with the receipts, but a few others don't. I just looked up a waltham and the database shows it as being a model 35, while the receipt says it's a model 40. There was a hampden I recall where the receipt was written a few years before the database says it was manufactured. Little things like this. I'm assuming the receipts from that time period are probably correct, but at the end of the day, who knows. Is there anybody that documents these things? Does anybody actually care? I have these and just want to make sure I don't keep them from the world when they can be useful.

Screenshot_20221208-095600_Gallery.jpg
 

musicguy

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Hi and welcome to the NAWCC Forum!!

Rob
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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I couldn't find an area to post an introduction, so here it is along with a question. I'm David from Daytona Beach Florida and I collect wrist and pocket watches (short and sweet). So the question. I recently picked up receipts, over 20, from the 1880 and 90s. They all have the same customers name. I'm fairly certain this person worked for the Old Colony Railroad. A lot of of receipts have the serial number to the watch that was sold, so being curious I looked them up on the pocket watch database. A lot of it matches up with the receipts, but a few others don't. I just looked up a waltham and the database shows it as being a model 35, while the receipt says it's a model 40. There was a hampden I recall where the receipt was written a few years before the database says it was manufactured. Little things like this. I'm assuming the receipts from that time period are probably correct, but at the end of the day, who knows. Is there anybody that documents these things? Does anybody actually care? I have these and just want to make sure I don't keep them from the world when they can be useful.

View attachment 739717
I don't document such items but I do think they are really neat and a have couple myself. It's especially interesting to see the prices that things went for.
 

mikeh

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Is there anybody that documents these things? Does anybody actually care? I have these and just want to make sure I don't keep them from the world when they can be useful.
Hi David,


Thanks for the post! I don't think I'm alone in saying that I find the info very interesting and useful, but I don't know of a repository for this sort of thing... other than here of course.

In this particular case, if the receipt is accurate on the No 40, it would change the assumed production quantity on a relatively low production grade. I happen to keep any eye out for these, but I have never recorded anything from this run in either grade... but I certainly can't spot them all!

Add:
I checked pocketwatchdatabase and there are a few examples from this particular run. Most look like ATCo/No 35, but they include a CPR and a private label, so perhaps this run was a bit like the 'Asst. Special' runs (although not documented as such).
 
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easj369

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I don't document such items but I do think they are really neat and a have couple myself. It's especially interesting to see the prices that things went for.
I agree, like the dozen mainsprings for a dollar and alarm clocks for 85 cents.
 

easj369

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Another interesting thing was how many watches the person had engraved when he bought them. There's also receipts for crystals and such. Also several business cards with notes written on the back of various prices of things. Would it be OK to post more photos of the entire receipts, Including names and such?
 
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musicguy

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musicguy

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Post them as thumbnail photos :)


Rob
 

Chris Radek

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These are wonderful! The "return charges" or in some cases it says "express collect" is maybe the fee for the COD? It's 15¢ usually, but sometimes 25¢ (for higher values maybe).

That's sure a better deal than paypal fees. Sometimes I marvel at the thought of doing all my business by mail instead of email. It would work about the same but be slower I guess. I used to order from my main parts house by handwritten fax (which was nice, I could easily include a little sketch, a drawing with an important dimension shown, etc.) but I never really did it by mail alone. Quite a few customers do still mail me checks though, which is nice too, as I get to keep all those extra percents.

I suppose in Boston this business probably had twice-daily mail pickup and delivery. Imagine!
 

Kent

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I can't read the grade No. 40 serial number in the first post. Can somebody post it?

Thanks
 
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Steven Thornberry

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I can't read the grade No. 40 serial number in the first post. Can somebody post it?

Thanks
Looks like 3887037, but that is a grade 35, per PWDB, unless I misunderstand what is what.
 
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Steven Mercer

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The serial number on the receipt shows 3887037. This falls into the run of Grade 35's 3887001 - 3887400 which as shown in the hand written records is a run of Non-Magnetic movements.

In the Gray Book, the complete run of 1600 movements, is shown as: 3886401 – 3888000 Crescent St.'s

The hand written record breaks down the 1600 movements as:

3886401 – 3887000 Crescent St.
3887001 – 3887400 Grade 35 – Non-Magnetic
3887401 – 3887500 Grade 35
3887501 – 3888000 Grade 25

As for Grade 40's, there are 4 runs according to the Gray Book:

5738001 – 5739000
5739001 – 5740000
6501001 – 6502000
6502001 – 6503000

While the hand written records have 3 runs:

5738001 – 5739000
5739001 – 5740000
6008001 – 6008500

The following runs show in the hand written records as Appleton, Tracy

6501001 – 6502000
6502001 – 6503000

I think the receipt is in error and that movement is not a Grade 40 but a Grade 35. The date on the receipt looks like March 19, 1892. According to the hand written records, the production dates of the first run of Grade 40's was started in Oct 1892. What could have happened is that the customer wanted a Grade 40 which was a non-magnetic movement and if the Grade 40's were not ready to ship or not in stock, a Non-Magnetic Grade 35 was substituted.
 

easj369

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I think the receipt is in error and that movement is not a Grade 40 but a Grade 35. The date on the receipt looks like March 19, 1892. According to the hand written records, the production dates of the first run of Grade 40's was started in Oct 1892. What could have happened is that the customer wanted a Grade 40 which was a non-magnetic movement and if the Grade 40's were not ready to ship or not in stock, a Non-Magnetic Grade 35 was substituted.
And that's one of the things I was afraid of. A store owner writing incorrect info. I know waltham had good records. I'll have to look it back up, but one of the receipts I was curious about was a Hampden where the receipt was a year or two before what the pwdb says it was made. Also there was a conflict in models for one or two other hampdens. What I'm personally really curious about is the alarm clocks. No idea what they looked like, what mechanism they used, or what they were for on the railroad.
 

Kent

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Looks like 3887037, but that is a grade 35, per PWDB, unless I misunderstand what is what.
Thanks Steven, for the serial number.

To All:
Ed Ueberall and I have the following serial numbers listed in our data base of surviving examples of railroad watches and other interesting (to us) watches. All are model 83, 15-Jewel (except as noted). As always, the data listed is subject to possible errors of reporting or recording.

3,886,682 - CS
3,886,689 - CS
3,886,833 - CS
3,886,860 - CS
3,887,087 - AT&Co - 17J
3,887,583 - Am Walt W Co.

So, serial number 3,887,037 may well be correct as a grade No. 40.
 
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easj369

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Just found another, again slightly off, but still peaks my curiosity difference between a receipt and pwdb. An elgin the pwdb says is from 1889, but the receipt is 1888. I know it's very minor but these are the things that I think might help future endeavors to documenting.
 

Kent

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And that's one of the things I was afraid of. A store owner writing incorrect info. I know waltham had good records. I'll have to look it back up, but one of the receipts I was curious about was a Hampden where the receipt was a year or two before what the pwdb says it was made. Also there was a conflict in models for one or two other hampdens. What I'm personally really curious about is the alarm clocks. No idea what they looked like, what mechanism they used, or what they were for on the railroad.
There are no records of Hampden serial numbers or production! The best estimate I've seen are the serial number vs. date chart in The Hampden Watch Co., NAWCC Special Order Supplement #1, J. Hernick and R. Arnold, NAWCC, Columbia, PA, 1997 (no longer in print).

If you post the serial number vs. grades of the 'conflict in models,' I'll post what's in our data base.
 
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Kent

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Just found another, again slightly off, but still peaks my curiosity difference between a receipt and pwdb. An elgin the pwdb says is from 1889, but the receipt is 1888. I know it's very minor but these are the things that I think might help future endeavors to documenting.
Elgin dates can be off by two years. Their first Veritas grade No. 214 movements are a good example of this, starting with serial number 8,400,001. Many tables list this date as 1899. Elgin may have asssigned the serial numbers on that date, but the watches weren't available to sell until 1901 (see below).

1901_Mar-6_Veritas_Introduction.jpg

Another example of why you can only use date tables as a guide, +/- a year or two, comes from Hamilton. The ledger page shown below lists grade No. 992 movements 786,001 - 786,042. The dates they were sent to the Finishing department and were sold was spread out over two years !

Ledger_Page_992_786001+.jpg

So, be careful in using serial number vs. date tables.




 

Bila

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Just found another, again slightly off, but still peaks my curiosity difference between a receipt and pwdb. An elgin the pwdb says is from 1889, but the receipt is 1888. I know it's very minor but these are the things that I think might help future endeavors to documenting.

Best not to treat the PWDB site as Gospel on dates or grades among other things, it is a research site and with certain Manufacturer's does not correctly reflect what was made as what, and what was not:( Also please remember that few Companies had good ledger keeping back in the day, so all this type of research will have errors to a varying degree. It is a continuous work in progress and will have errors, that is the nature of this type of research. Although in saying this, the PWDB is very slow to react with regard to the changing of incorrect data (possibly a people-problem), this is obvious with a brief foray to the site when you consider my below paragraph.

It is over reliant on observations by many others (this is what we all do with our research, many eyes usually can make less work in the long run), this is fine to a degree, but when you have multiple inputs of data from sources that are not verified before the uploading, then the site data can be skewed and at times downright incorrect. Therefore you end-up with problems with incorrect information being spread across the collecting world :(

People in general seem to run with anything they find on the internet, "I seen it on the net so it must be true". This is a major problem regarding these types of sites that have a "policy of open-slather" of data being posted with-out any checks or balances (data verification) before uploading.

I will give a basic example; Just visit eBay and now look at some of the items (watch related) of the Sellers that are "quoting or uploading an image of the data provided by the PWDB", you will find instances of correct but also incorrect information. I have contacted some of these Sellers to let them know that the info they have downloaded with regard to some of it's content is incorrect. Most of the responses I get in return is "that it must be correct as it is on the PWDB site":(
 
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grtnev

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The dates they were sent to the Finishing department and were sold was spread out over two years !
This topic has always been interesting to me; i.e. why do we date watches based on when they were sold as opposed to when they were manufactured/finished?

A contemporary example, a new car is designated by its model year/year of manufacture. For example, if a new 2022 model is not sold until 2023, it is still a 2022 irrespective of the fact that it wasn’t sold until the following year.

Why wouldn’t the same logic apply to vintage American made pocket watches?

Richard
 
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easj369

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This topic has always been interesting to me; i.e. why do we date watches based on when they were manufactured/finished or when they were sold?

A contemporary example, a new car is designated by its model year/year of manufacture. For example, if a new 2022 model is not sold until 2023, it is still a 2022 irrespective of the fact that it wasn’t sold until the following year.

Richard
That's a great question. And that 2022 model that was sold in 2023 was made in 2021.
 

thesnark17

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Oh, never fear, we're all having a great time!

I found this thread to be quite interesting. You have given us a good data point for Hampden, and raised a rather interesting question about the Waltham grade 40.

Quoting an earlier post:
"I think the receipt is in error and that movement is not a Grade 40 but a Grade 35. The date on the receipt looks like March 19, 1892. According to the hand written records, the production dates of the first run of Grade 40's was started in Oct 1892. What could have happened is that the customer wanted a Grade 40 which was a non-magnetic movement and if the Grade 40's were not ready to ship or not in stock, a Non-Magnetic Grade 35 was substituted."

When was grade 40 announced to the trade? I would not have thought that a customer would be aware of the grade 40 if none yet existed in the market, or that a wholesaler would write in error a grade 40 if they have yet to see or sell any. Keep in mind that this is all happening a full 7 months before production began.

It seems to me that there is more going on here than a simple mistake in labeling!
 

Allan C. Purcell

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It seems to me that there is more going on here than a simple mistake in labelling!
My question is, "Do we have here two different grades with the same number?

The watch below has a serial 131346 Model 1 Grade 40, and the one on the bill here is for a non-magnetic watch.

I think the word confusing, I am looking for.

1670685037415.png





1670685125721.png


This is a really exciting thread, a true step in time. For instance, this serial number here says, "Estimated Production Year 1885 to 1904"

Allan.
 
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Greg Frauenhoff

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When was grade 40 announced to the trade? I would not have thought that a customer would be aware of the grade 40 if none yet existed in the market, or that a wholesaler would write in error a grade 40 if they have yet to see or sell any. Keep in mind that this is all happening a full 7 months before production began.

It seems to me that there is more going on here than a simple mistake in labeling!
I agree.

The production records might show when the "official" grade no. 40 runs began, but it's certainly possible that the first grade no. 40 mvts were made from mvts assigned to runs of other grades. Maybe even somewhat randomly.

A quick check of some trade catalogs in my collection shows the grade no. 40 as an addendum to a Sept. 1891 price list. Which means the addendum dates to after this date. Exactly when isn't noted therein.

I suspect that an announcement for the grade no. 40 could be found in period trade catalogs, such as The Keystone or Jewelers' Circular. I'll leave the chore of looking for such to others.
 

Greg Frauenhoff

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My question is, "Do we have here two different grades with the same number?

The watch below has a serial 131346 Model 1 Grade 40, and the one on the bill here is for a non-magnetic watch.

I think the word confusing, I am looking for.

View attachment 740019




View attachment 740020

This is a really exciting thread, a true step in time. For instance, this serial number here says, "Estimated Production Year 1885 to 1904"

Allan.
Allan,

Your watch is not an "American Waltham", but the "other" company called the "United States Watch Co." of Waltham.

Greg
 

Allan C. Purcell

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Thank you, Greg, I did put the serial number on The Waltham Serial numbers on the board, then took it for granted it was "Waltham". I will watch out for that in the future. It´s not my watch though, I found it on eBay. (Under Waltham grade 40)

Thanks again,

Allan.
 

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