The Elgin Medal: Request for Known Specimens

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by TimeAntiquarian, May 22, 2017.

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  1. TimeAntiquarian

    TimeAntiquarian Registered User
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    I am currently conducting research on the Elgin Medals issued with movements sold by Elgin in the late 1870s. These token-like medals were announced in the 1875 Elgin Almanac, urging customers to only purchase movements accompanied with "The Elgin Medal."

    The reverse of the token features the grade and serial number matching the movement.

    I have already compiled observations from images available online and would now like to make a request for examples that might be in private collections. Please post an image of the back, if possible. Otherwise, the grade name and serial number would be appreciated.
     
  2. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    I saw one of these for sale a short while back.
    Elgin Medal

    Rob
     
  3. TimeAntiquarian

    TimeAntiquarian Registered User
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    Rob - Thanks. I got that one on my list. In fact, it is in my hand. :D
     
  4. musicguy

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  5. PatH

    PatH Registered User
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    I will have to see if I have others, but here's one for a C.M. Wheeler.
     
  6. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    That's a G not a C :)



    Rob
     
  7. PatH

    PatH Registered User
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    oops! Thanks!
     
  8. TimeAntiquarian

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    Common mistake to make on the G.M. Wheeler medal. Even the most popular token classification system has it designated as "C.M. Wheeler"

    Thanks for posting the image!
     
  9. PatH

    PatH Registered User
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    Just curious - how long were these tokens used? I have Elgin ads from the late 1800s and subsequent, but they don't mention the tokens. Looking forward to hearing your findings and seeing other examples.
     
  10. TimeAntiquarian

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    #10 TimeAntiquarian, May 22, 2017
    Last edited: May 22, 2017
    They are mentioned in the 1876 Elgin Almanac, which was the last year the almanac was published. Based on my current observations, the medals may have been issued as late as 1881.

    (The highest serial number recorded is 860200).
     
  11. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    its interesting that the Medal above has the No. for number
    like some of the movements had.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. TimeAntiquarian

    TimeAntiquarian Registered User
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    Does anyone have an example of the Elgin Medal marked with the "B.W. Raymond" grade? I have yet to record a single observation yet.

    Thanks!
     
  13. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    I just saw one of these from 1873(Dated from the serial number on back)


    Rob
     
  14. TimeAntiquarian

    TimeAntiquarian Registered User
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    Did you happen to record the serial number?
     
  15. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    Gail Borden #207336


    Rob
     
  16. TimeAntiquarian

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    B.W. Raymond Elgin Medal, serial #337064.
     
  17. Tom McIntyre

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    #17 Tom McIntyre, Aug 12, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  18. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    Very nice Tom, if the matching # movement from 1881 was there
    I would say it was spectacular.



    Rob
     
  19. PatH

    PatH Registered User
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    Thanks for sharing, Tom. Very interesting how the medal fits in the tin. I'll have to check my tins to see if any are made with this indentation. Being key wind, it seem this would have been one of the earlier medals. Is that correct?
     
  20. TimeAntiquarian

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    Tom - Excellent find. Thanks for posting the images.

    #810915 is the second highest serial I have recorded for these Elgin Medals.
     
  21. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    Here's a couple of examples, with serial numbers 641363 (with mvmt holder) and 680704.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  22. Dave Chaplain

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    Something to consider (if you're otherwise bored) ... I've seen one of these medals indicating a 10s Dexter St. movement which got me thinking about the size of the medal. It appears the size of the medal takes into account a movement holder size down to about 6 size.

    These medals appear to have begun around the time of the 1874 Chicago Exposition, and share the same obverse of the Elgin 1874 Exposition medal. But the 6-size movements weren't sold until 1877 or so, starting with serial number 510001. So it would appear that the medal size chosen took into account the future 6 size offering. Does anyone know otherwise, or for certain? :)
     
  23. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    I should grab an 18 size KW movement and check, but I believe the movement fits into the loose cup with the dial up and then that assembly is put into the outer box with the medal in the bottom. It is likely there was some sort of paper pad between the inner container and the medal and perhaps another above the dial and below the lid.

    I am trying to get my movements in some semblance of order, so am sure I will run across at least 1 18S KW Elgin.
     
  24. TimeAntiquarian

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    Intriguing theory.

    The diameter of each medal measures 30.0mm, which was a common token size at the time.

    The example I included within the original post of this thread would have accompanied an 8-Size Grade 65 movement (#596,444). Thus, we can conclude the medals were certainly shipped with the smaller product line, once offered to the market.

    Elgin introduced the 8-Size movement in 1878 (#510,001). It was not until late 1885 that the 6-Size movements were officially offered (though, there are experimental 6-Size batches as early as 1883). The medals were issued as late as 1881, so it is unlikely that any 6-Size movements were accompanied by the medal.

    I presume the 30.0mm size was a continuation from the 1874 Exposition medal rather than foresight into future production.

    I would be interested in seeing a shipping tin from one of the 8-Size movements during this period, if any are available.
     
  25. Dave Chaplain

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    Hi TimeAntiquarian,

    Wayne Schlitt's Elgin database shows the 510001 run as being produced in 1877, and as the 1st 6-size run. And that 10,000 were produced in 9 runs of 6-size in 1877, in grades 64, 65, 66, 67 and 71. Is that info incorrect?

    Dave
     
  26. TimeAntiquarian

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    Yes, indeed.
    Unless there is supporting documentation that I am not aware of, that info is incorrect.
     
  27. Dave Chaplain

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    Hi TimeAntiquarian,

    Other than Wayne's database there's not much documentation that I've found. Things could have changed between 1877 and 1887, but here's an 1887 ad from SF Meyers that at least lists the grades 65, 67 and 71 as being 6-size.

    ps. where are you getting your "8-size" information for the run starting 510,001?

    [​IMG]
     
  28. Dave Chaplain

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    I may have found a source to the confusion (unless they were also incorrect) - Ehrhardt & Meggers from 1993 lists the grade 64 as 8s, but the grades 65, 66, 67 and 71 as 6s. Which if correct would make 1877 the start for the 8s grade 64, and also 1877 for the other 6s grades.

    Dave
     
  29. Dave Chaplain

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    #29 Dave Chaplain, Aug 14, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
    And additionally, to add less clarity, the 1904 Elgin parts list has the grade 64 as "6 size" and "As Originally Made", as well as the grades 65, 66, 67 and 71! It could be that the grade 64 was made in both 6 and 8 sizes?

    So either Wayne's data is wrong and the grade 64 was 8s, or E&M's data is wrong and the grade 64 was 6s, or they were both right and the grade 64 was made in both sizes! :)

    And the 1904 Elgin parts lists claim no 8s watches! I'm going to go with "some 8s grade 64 watches were made" ... :)
     
  30. TimeAntiquarian

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    Correct.

    By the end of 1887, all the 8s grades still in production had been transitioned to 6s, as is supported in the advertisement from the S.F. Myers catalog, including grades 65, 67, and 71.

    I am currently compiling a more extensive exploration on the topic, but the general dividing line for this size transition is at serial 2,000,000, with the exception of Grade 94 and a few early experimental batches.
     
  31. TimeAntiquarian

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    Grade 64 was discontinued before the size transition. Therefore, all Grade 64 movements are 8-Size.
     
  32. Dave Chaplain

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    Here's more supporting info (the smoking gun, see notes at bottom of page) from the Elgin 1915 parts list, via Wayne's site and a reference provided by Luis Casillas on another earlier thread ... the "No. 99 ... 6 and 8 size" refer to classes 49, 50 and 51, which are the classes for grades 64, 65, 66, 67 and 71.

    http://elginwatches.org/scans/tech_doc/1915_MC/l_pg066_levers.html
     
  33. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    Cool, glad someone is on it! I also see that Wayne includes the notes "Elgin MCs says some were 8s" for each of these grades, and adds the question for only the grade 64, "(all of these?)", which supports all of the above!
     
  34. TimeAntiquarian

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    Yes. I am very familiar with the information related to sizes in each of the material catalogs. Both the dials and levers were offered in specific 8 and 6 sizes, for obvious reasons.

    Elgin does not provide much information within the material catalogs to determine the size systematically and further contributes to the confusion by grouping these movements into a "Size 6" designation wherever listed.
     
  35. TimeAntiquarian

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    Dave, this is the supporting source for the Elgin 8-Size movements being introduced in 1878, not 1877:

    “Between March 28, 1878, and June 11th of the same year, a line of 8-size, stem winds consisting of five grades were added. These have since however, been entirely superseded by the present 6-size movements.”

    The Complete History of Watch Making in America
    Charles S. Crossman
    (Compiled from The Jewelers’ Circular and Horological Review, 1885-1887)
     
  36. Greg Frauenhoff

    Greg Frauenhoff Registered User
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    If anyone is interested, I have several 1880s price lists that include info on the 6 and 8 size grades.
     
  37. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    Greg,

    I'd be interested in seeing those, and I'm sure I'm not alone!
     
  38. Greg Frauenhoff

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    Bowman & Musser, July 1883:

    [​IMG]

    Cross & Beguelin, Oct. 1884:
    [​IMG]

    S. F. Meyers & Co., March 15, 1887:
    [​IMG]

    Payne, Steck & Co., May 1887:
    [​IMG]

    L. S. Stowe @ Co., Oct. 1890:
    [​IMG]


    Smith & Knapp, Sept. 1, 1891:
    [​IMG]
     
  39. Dave Chaplain

    Dave Chaplain Registered User
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    Greg, nice collection of price lists and thanks for sharing those! :coolsign:
     
  40. TimeAntiquarian

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    Greg - Thanks for your contributions, as always.

    The most intriguing advertisement you uploaded is the Cross & Beguelin from October 1884. This provides documented support for the somewhat-random small "experimental" 6-Size batches amongst the standard 8-Size ranges before the full size transition occurred.
     
  41. Dave Chaplain

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    #41 Dave Chaplain, Aug 17, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2017
    I don't know if it applies to all grades in the group, but if 6 size watches were available at a point to a retailer, I'd presume that the change from 8 to 6 size had occurred already for at least the grades included. That is, the availability to a retailer would make them beyond the experimental point, and at which time the old stock 8-size and new 6-size were equally available. And then that "full transition" might only apply to the point when all included grades were being made as 6-size - although some 8-size, in some grades, would continue to remain in stock beyond the point when only 6-size were being produced.

    An interesting puzzle to solve for!

    ps. I did something similar for a similar Waltham 10-size conundrum, and the result was that the changes occurred at definite and sequential (by time and number) serial number break points. That is, it was found that the variations were not produced in parallel.
     
  42. TimeAntiquarian

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    My observations include early very small batches of 6-Size examples mixed in 8-Size runs. The dimensions of these movements are even slightly different than what was eventually established. Many times, these early mixed runs are then followed by subsequent 8-Size runs until the massive shift occurred. Further research may uncover additional batches of the 6-Size, but this seems to indicate "experimental" batches were made while the 8-Size was still being produced. That said, I will need to finish my research on the topic before drawing a final conclusion on the matter.

    I certainly appreciate the discussion and thought provocation here.
     
  43. PatH

    PatH Registered User
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    4 additional medals I picked up in Houston this weekend. Not the best pictures, but hopefully you can see the serial #s.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  44. TimeAntiquarian

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    Excellent. Thanks for uploading the images.

    Is there any possibility you can post the serial numbers as well so I can record them without errors?
     
  45. PatH

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    #45 PatH, Aug 27, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2017
    Under magnification they appear to be 75091, 534548, 540460, 752855. Do these numbers seem reasonable? Although it appears that is what is stamped, I'll get out the microscope tomorrow if they are not reasonable.

    Will keep an eye out for others as we attend upcoming Regionals.
     
  46. TimeAntiquarian

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    Thanks! The 75091 one seems a bit early for the "Elgin Natl. Watch Co." variation. Is there another number at the end that is difficult to see?
     
  47. PatH

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    It didn't seem right to me, either, so thanks for confirming. Using strong lights from several angles at the same time, and higher magnification, I found what appears to be a poorly struck 4, so 750914. Do you agree? Thanks!

    [​IMG]
     
  48. TimeAntiquarian

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    Agreed. Thanks for double-checking that one. Yes, 750914 makes more sense for the "Elgin Natl. Watch Co" variant.
     
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