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What is Pw_elgin?

Pw_elgin is a program that can search a database of Elgin Serial Numbers and print out information about watches that it finds for you.

This database is now online and you can access it directly here.

The Elgin Serial Number database was created by scanning and OCR'ing the 1950 serial number list. Then I had to go through and clean up the list by hand, changing 'O's to '0's, 'S's to '5', etc. Then I wrote some code to do a bunch of sanity checks on the data (serial number runs should increase and not overlap, high grade numbers should appear early, etc.) Then I verified the runs that I found with the runs that Dennis Booth typed in by hand and resolved all discrepancies between the two databases. Next I compared the production totals by grade with the list created by John Miller in Roy Ehrhardt's "Elgin Watch Company" book. Next I typed in by hand which runs are marked with which name out of the 1896 material catalog. Finally, I have been checking the database against watches that I've seen on the net and adding information as I can find it.

The Elgin Grade Number database was typed in completely by hand from many sources.

I believe this database is the most accurate Elgin serial number list available anywhere, either computerized or on paper. As I mention here I have found a fair number of errors in Elgin's own serial number lists.

I also believe that this database is the most complete serial number list available anywhere, either computerized or on paper. I have many runs recorded after the 1950 material catalog ends.

I have used the portions of the Elgin Master Records that I have in order to make this database more complete and more accurate. For example, only the master records tell you which serial numbers are grade 277. The master records tell you what all runs are actually grade 348's and which grade 164's are labelled Father Time. This is information that is now public and can be used by anyone.



How to get pw_elgin and the databases

The source code and pre-built executables for Linux can be found right here.

The source should build on just about any Linux/Unix box with minor tweaks to the Makefile. The static binary was compiled on my Debian 2.2 Linux box, so it should probably work on most versions of Linux. I've had reports that the binary also works on NetBSD under the linux emulator.

The documentation is really poor right now, but I've been putting off releasing this code and database for too long, so I decided to just put it out here. Please bear with me as I try to get this into a more usable shape.

If you don't have Linux or another version of Unix, you may be able to get some use out of the raw databases. There is both a Elgin Serial Number database, and a Elgin Grade Number database that you can view.


Current stable version: v1.0   Updated: 05/24/00

pw_elgin.tar.gz 167k Compressed source code for pw_elgin
pw_elgin.tar 700k Source code for pw_elgin
pw_elgin.static.tar.gz 163k Compressed staticly linked binary for x86 Linux
pw_elgin.static.tar 630k Staticly linked binary for x86 Linux

If you have questions or comments about this, please email me.


Older versions of Pw_elgin

You can find older versions of pw_elgin in the download directory. Most of these versions won't work with Ebay, but they may be of historical value. The most current version can always be found at http://elginwatches.org/databases/download/pw_elgin-current.tar.gz .

While I'm not an expert, I believe the information on this page is correct. Please send suggestions and corrections to the webmaster.
This web site runs on 100% Open Source Software. This web page was last changed on 10/10/2002 at 16:28:27.