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Archive of older news

Changing ISPs30 Mar 2005

Sometime in the next week or so, I will be moving my website from one ISP to another. In theory, this should all be transparent to everyone and there should be zero downtime. If things don't go well, you might have problems connecting for a while, but rest assured that I'll try and fix any problems ASAP.


Hardware problems29 Mar 2005

The power supply on my webserver went out last night. I bought a new one, it is installed, and things appear to be working ok now. Sorry about the 12hr outage.


Elginwatches.org is back19 Jan 2005

As of yesterday afternoon, the elginwatches.ORG domain started working again. It may take up to several days for everyone to see this change though. Also, there are still problems, in that I don't control the domains and as a result, things may break at any time.   *sigh*  


Something bad did happen13 Jan 2005

Well, apparently something bad did happen, despite my crossed fingers. Worse, I didn't notice it right away. I've switched things back to using elginwatches.COM but that won't help people who can't find the website to begin with. :-<


"Nevermind!"10 Jan 2005

Well it appears that something good happened and elginwatches.ORG was renewed an hour and a half after it was supposed to expire. I'm going to cross my fingers and hope nothing bad happens later on.


Temporary change in domain name10 Jan 2005

Bad news: Sometime in the next day or two, I suspect that the elginwatches.ORG domain name will stop working. I'm attempting to switch stuff over to elginwatches.COM until I can get this fixed. I do not know how long this will be a problem.

The longer story:

The problem is that something is broken in the software ("DNS") that figures out how to translate the name "elginwatches.org" into something that can actually reach my computer (the IP address). DNS is basically like a phone book that translates your name into your telephone number. The scary thing is I'm actually as much of an expert in this DNS stuff as I am in Elgin watches. In fact, right now I'm very busy working with the DNS group of the Internet standards organization (the IETF) to create a new standard that will change how things work.

It is kind of like if I was a watch designer and was too busy creating a new watch to fix my personal watch. So sent the watch to a watchmaker, and the watchmaker messed it up and won't send it back. I know what needs to be done. I've done almost everything right, but it is still in the hands of someone else.

Technically, the problem is with the domain name registrar that I'm using for elginwatches.ORG. I have been unable to renew the domain name and all attempts over the last few months to get it fixed have failed. I am also unable to transfer control from them to another domain name registrar without the approval of the current domain name registrar. So far, I have been unable to reach them on the phone, and I'm not sure I will get any help from them anyway since they say I'm only supposed to use their web-based support (which is what they have been ignoring for months).


A Brighter Future for Elginwatches.org5 Jul 2004

Every once and a while, someone asks me about what I have done to make sure that elginwatches.org will survive if I get hit by the proverbial vegetable truck.

In the last couple of weeks I talked with several of my relatives about this very subject. I'm lucky in that many of my relatives are very computer literate[1], and they have long known that I have wanted them to continue the elginwatches.org website and they were willing to do so.

As you have probably noticed, I've started running google ads on my website. The great news is that this is now bringing in almost enough income to pay for the costs associated with running the website. This means that continuing to run the elginwatches.org website will no longer be a (small) burden for my relatives and maybe one day it will even become a source of income.

It is my hope that the elginwatches.org website will be around for as long as people find it useful. While I dislike having to run ads, this helps ensure that elginwatches.org will have a future.

[1] My father, started using computers in 50s, taught CompSci at UNL during the 70s, and continues to be very active in very technical computer stuff to this day. My brother is a system administrator at UNL, my ex-wife is a computer programmer, and my sister used to do programming for research into functional-MRI.


Film On The Elgin National Watch Company Now Available!4 Dec 2002
Bill Briska of the Elgin Area Historical Society Museum sent me email and let me know that the film about the Elgin National Watch Company that they have been working on is now available.

They have been working on this for about three years and was professionally produced. The cost is $20 plus shipping.

See the Elgin Area Historical Society website for details.


Yet more scans20 Nov 2002
It looks like I've fallen behind on my updates.

Kent Singer has been busy as always sending more ads. The latest batch includes ads for Hamilton 992 in a plain case, Hamilton 16s dials, Illinois Bunn Special, Illinois Alton Railroad, Kelley's Watch Oil, Nye Watch Oil, B&B Regal Watch Cases, Marvin Watches, Zenith Watches, and Hamilton Canadian Montgomery Dial.

I have also rescanned the 1914 Elgin Sales Catalog, although the quality still isn't as high as I would like.


New sales flier and ads for Niello cases24 Sep 2002
Jerry Treiman has kindly sent me scans of a 1922 flier from Elgin called "For Christmas". It includes one of the first pictures of the Hulburd presentation watch.

Kent Singer sent me a couple more watch case ads, this time on Niello cases and B&B Royal cases. Kent also has sent me a copy of an 1884 Longines and Agassiz ad.


More patents and ads20 Sep 2002
There are a bunch of new patents from the US Patent Office that have been cleaned up and indexed:
Patent 0002939 J D Custer Watch
Patent 0057310 S D French Watch Escapement
Patent 0061867 G P Reed Watch Regulator
Patent 0077078 Elgin Hairspring Stud
Patent 0077827 Elgin Watch Pallet
Patent 0185867 Elgin Convertible
Patent 0203976 Waltham Woerd Sawtooth Balance
Patent 0372003 Waltham Woerd Escapement

Also, Kent Singer sent me another ad:
1941 Hamilton Time Book


Two new ads for Waltham and Hamilton4 Sep 2002
Kent Singer sent me two new ads:
1908 Waltham Silver Dial
1932 Hamilton 992E No 7 Case

Three Articles From ca 18701 Sep 2002
I've scanned in three articles about Elgin from 1869, 1871 and 1873. The Harper's magazine article seems to be widely reproduced, but the other two seem to be much less common. All three give good insight on how Elgin worked in the early days and the process of making watches.

1869 Harper's: Making Watches By Machinery
1871 Wood's Household: Good Watches and Mean Time
1873 Scribner's: Among the Elgin Watchmakers


1939 Elgin Sales Catalog29 Aug 2002
Today's new scanned document is a 1939 Elgin Sales Catalog. This is a beautiful color catalog with around 300 wrist watches, pocket watches and even a few clocks.

Early Elgin Service Bulletins28 Aug 2002
I have finally gotten around to writing up a credits web page to acknowledge all the contributors to this website. I've almost certainly forgotten to mention someone, so please let me know if you find an error!

The last four of the early Elgin Service bulletins are now available:
Elgin Bulletin on Balance Truing
Elgin Bulletin on Cleaning and Oiling Watches
Elgin Bulletin on Mainsprings
Elgin Bulletin on Receiving Time by Wireless
(I posted the first of these, Elgin Bulletin on balance poising about two months ago.)

I also managed to find two Elgin patents:
Patent 157021 for Elgin's Micrometric Regulator
Patent 596408 for Elgin's Motor Barrel

Finally, Kent Singer sent me another ad, this one on silver filled watch cases.


More scanned documents reorganization14 Aug 2002
First off, John Fogarty and Tom McIntyre have graciously allowed me to mirror John's large database of Elgin Private Label watches. There are over 400 watches listed in this database.
Thanks John!

I've continued to work on reorganizing, fixing errors, adding new links and adding to the scanned Documents and Pictures section of the website. I have added a scan of the 1874 Elgin Almanac and I have also copied many other scans that were available elsewhere on the website into the Documents and Pictures section.

Finally, I have also updated the Frances Rubie Puzzle with information that I've learned about in the last year and have added links to documents that are now online.


Reorganization of online books, ads and pictures30 Jul 2002
The old "Picture Gallery" has been renamed to "Documents and Pictures" to more closely match the types of scanned images that are now available and it has been overhauled and reorganized.

There are two features of this reorganization that are the most visible. First, it should be much easier to navigate with new "previous", "next" and "up" links, making it much easier to "turn the page" of the many scanned books. The other feature is that you are now given the choice of four sizes of images instead of just two. This lets you better balance the trade-offs of screen size vs download time vs readability.

Besides the above features, the following new sections have been added to the Documents and Pictures section:

Cases, Chains etc. Ads
Articles about Elgin
Articles about Non-Elgin Related Topics
Ads for Non-Elgin Watches
Elgin Bulletin on balance poising

The first four sections are filled almost entirely with over 200 scans sent to me by Kent Singer. Thanks Kent!


Online books: 1871 almanac, 1896 Material Catalog, etc.8 Apr 2002
Lots of stuff to report today!

First, I would like to thank Paul Chambre for allowing me host his great article, Forgotten Masterpieces: The Last Elgins, which talks about Elgin's DuraBalance based watches.

Next, I would like to thank Kent Singer for sending me two more Elgin ads on the B.W. Raymond. See the 1925 Two Inspectors and 1951 Railroader's wife makes Discovery. Both of these ads appear in this month's NAWCC Bulletin. These ads are in the second part of Kent and Ed's Railroader's Corner column on the 16s B.W. Raymonds.

I have continued doing some scanning and with the addition of the complete 1871 Elgin Almanac and extracts from the 1896 Elgin Material Catalog, this website now has almost everything that Roy Ehrhardt's Elgin book has. The most significant information that can still only be found in dead tree format are the 4 pages of pictures from inside the factory in Elgin. On the other hand, I have pictures from inside the factory in Lincoln. I'm sure that everyone can under why these pictures are much more horologically significant. ;-)

The 1871 Elgin Almanac was the first of 6 almanacs that Elgin published in order to promote their watches to the public. This one is said to contain the first use of the "father time" image by Elgin. It should be noted that several of the advertisers were also investors in Elgin.

The extracts from 1896 Elgin Material Catalog, are mostly items that are not duplicated in the 1915 Material Catalog. In particular, there is a very nice list of Society, Sporting and Fancy dials.

I have also scanned a few more grades from the so-called Elgin Master Records. These include the 10s Keywind grades, which are related to the Frances Rubie Puzzle. I also scanned the records for the grade 446 C.H. Hulburd presentation watch and the "grade 277". The grade 277 is not mentioned in any of the published serial number lists, the only list I have found is in the Master Records. It is documented as being a grade 150 (18s 21j OF) which has been converted from pendant set to lever set. These "lever set grade 150" watches are known to exist, but it is not known exactly how many were produced. It appears that the master records list of converted watches is incomplete.

Other scans include a 1932 Elgin Aviation sales catalog showing some of the other products that Elgin started to branch out into during the depression era. The Box of Wonders in Your Pocket is an introductory text on watches that, while it is aimed at the general public, goes into more detail than the What is a Watch brochure.

Finally, I have scanned my copy of the Waltham Watchmakers' Handbook. This book is fairly technical and covers subjects such as why double roller escapements are better than single roller escapements, making adjustments to a watch and cleaning a watch.


1915 Material Catalog and Master Records18 Mar 2002
Egads! It has been almost a half a year since I've made any major improvements to this website. I haven't disappeared, I've just been real busy at work.

The news for today is that I have scanned the 1915 Elgin Material Catalog and scanned selected grades from the so-called Elgin Master Records. These two books add more scans than all the Elgin ads combined and increase the number of scanned pages on the website from 325 to 475. I've been working on these for quite a while now, so I haven't been as idle as I might first appear.


Improved glossary on serial numbers, grades, models, etc.13 Oct 2001
Not much has been happening on my website lately, my new job has been keeping me very busy.

Kent Singer has, of course, sent in more Elgin ads, this time from 1906 (Oct), 1925 (Mar, Mar, Apr), 1950 (Aug), and 1951 (BoLE).

The only other significant change is to the Glossary of watch classifications. This web page has actually been split in two, one is a short version designed for new watch collectors. This document now covers more subjects, has more useful information, and is shorter than the old document. The second one is a greatly expanded version, which discusses the technical details of how serial numbers, grades numbers, grade names and such evolved over the years.


Miscellaneous updates16 Jul 2001
I noticed that I haven't updated the news for several months now. I really have been working on the website, it is just that most of the updates have't been "news worthy". Since the last news item on April 25th, I have updated over 50 web pages, but most of those changes have been to spelling, grammar and other small improvements. (Yeah, I know, there are still plenty of spelling errors that I need to fix.)

Of course, Kent Singer has still been sending me great Elgin ads, including these:
1903 A whole series of 7 ads aimed at the Railroader.
1906 Four ads from September aimed at dealers
1907 A short article about William Todd, the watchmaker who put together the first B.W. Raymond watch.
1909 "49 silver dial" advertisement of one of Elgin's first metal dials
1910 An ad for Elgin's "minute numerical dial" (Ferguson-style)

Some of the more significant additions I've made are:
And amusing article from 1883 on the thickness of watches.
Explaintion of why watches use the Roman numeral IIII is used instead of IV
1925 Sales catalog: Elegance and Efficiency
Updates to the "Jewels in Watches" web page


What is a watch?25 Apr 2001
Tom McIntyre was kind enough to send me a copy of an Elgin booklet entitled " What is a watch?" and I have converted it into a web page. It makes a great introduction to mechanical watches and how to judge the quality of a watch.

Many more pictures19 Apr 2001
Kent Singer has still been hard at work sending me more pictures of Elgin ads. Three of special note are from 1894, 1895 and the 1895 Montgomery Ward catalog. These ads cover the introduction of the Elgin grade 149 and 150 railroad watches. Originally these had only 20 jewels, but were later upgraded to 21 jewels. Kent Singer and Ed Ueberall cover this in an article in the April 2001 Railroad Corner column in the NAWCC Bulletin.

Other new pictures from Kent include:
1889 Introduction of the grades 106 107 and 108
1901 Introduction of the Veritas
1908 Example of a Factory Cased Watch
1927 Humorous Railroad Ads


Watch sizes page updated20 Mar 2001
The watch size information web page has been cleaned up, information on the Dennison gauge has been added and there is a new table of the various watch sizes.

Guide to watch values16 Mar 2001
I have recently finished (or, at least, stopped working on) a guide to help you determine how much your watch is worth.


More donated pictures13 Feb 2001
Arthur DeKalb was kind enough to send me scans of a 1926 Waltham Sales Catalog. No, there isn't any Elgin stuff in there, but that's fine with me.

Kent Singer has continued to send me more pictures, which I really appreciate. The latest are the "Old Timers" series from 1925 and 1926.


New Watch Word article25 Jan 2001
I came across an article on the remarkable diagram of an Elgin Watch that I've had up for a while now. It gives you some idea of just how much work went into this drawing!

Scan of 1904 Elgin Sales Brochure12 Jan 2001
There is now a scan of the 1904 Elgin Timemakers and Timekeepers sales brochure. This introduced the Veritas line and ties the developments of railroads with the developments of watches.

Even More Explanations for Non-Experts10 Jan 2001
Continuing my effort from last time, I've added a few more pages to help explain things. Check out Comments on Watches With Car or Motorcycle Logos, Explanation of Grade, Class and Model Numbers, Explanation of What Adjusted Means, Explanation of Types of Regulators, and Explanation of Types of Mainspring Barrels.

With these additional web pages, all the codes used by the Online Elgin Database should now have at least a little explanation of what they mean.


More Explanations for Non-Experts7 Jan 2001
I have finally created a few more web pages to help explain the results of the Online Elgin Database. In particular, look at the explained example, and watch size information.

New Elgin Ads28 Dec 2000
Kent Singer has been kind enough to scan and send me a bunch of new Elgin ads that he and Ed Ueberall have. These are the guys who write the Railroad Corner column for the NAWCC Bulletin. The new pictures are about the "New B.W.Raymond" watches from 1906, 1923 and 1924. In addition, there is an S.F.Myers jewelry catalog from 1887.

New Discussion on Watch Jewels11 Dec 2000
I have added a web page that discusses the reasons why watches have jewels, what those jewels are, and why higher grade watches have more jewels.

New photos30 Nov 2000
Joe Bott was kind enough to send me 11 more Elgin related photos from the 1940's and 1950's. I really appreciate this kind of thing. One of the reasons why I've gone through the effort of putting this website together is because I know that I'll get stuff like this in return and everyone comes out ahead.

John C. Adams' Elgin watch SN113 found!29 Nov 2000
Rarely do I get to report actual NEWS about Elgin watches!

Charlie Klimkowski sent me an email tonight letting me know that yesterday the Chicago Tribune had reported that the watch owned by John Adam's has been found. The article requires a "free registration" that asks all sorts of personal questions. :-<

For those of you who don't immediately recognize John C. Adams. he was responsible for forming the Elgin National Watch Co. (1864) by getting the watchmakers and business men together. He later went on to help start the Cornell Watch Co. (1867), the Illinois Watch Company (1869), the Adams & Perry Watch Co. (1874), and the Independent Watch Co (1880).


Ebay logs are now searchable28 Nov 2000
You can now search the eBay logs for exactly what you want instead of having to download the entire database. This should be a big plus if you want to guess the value of your watch.

This search has now been integrated into the Online Elgin Serial Number lookup. You can click a link to list all watches sold with the same grades ad the watches you looked up.


Updated Links27 Nov 2000
Over the last few weeks, I've been finding a lot of new sites to add to my links page. The list of sites about other watch companies in particular has been greatly expanded.

New page on watch repair7 Nov 2000
I've added a new article on Watch Repair ca 1910 that gives a little perspective on what things used to be like. In some ways, things haven't changed much!

The picture gallery is a little better25 Sep 2000
The Picture Gallery should be a little bit easier to use now. It now has the same "look and feel" as the rest of the website, and I have also created pictures that are easily viewable on a web browser.

If you have looked at the Picture Gallery before but found it too confusing and/or the pictures too large to be worth wading through, I recommend you try taking another look.


A neat new picture18 Sep 2000
A while ago, I picked up a blue print of an Elgin watch. I had the image scanned, but the resulting file was too large to work with. Well, after some playing around with The Gimp, I managed to shrink the picture down and turn it into something usable for the website. You can view the picture on the "Watch Diagram" page. I wish you could see the full sized version, it is awesome!

A few new pages6 Sep 2000
Well, before I even finished reorganizing the website, I've added a few new pages. I how have a list of recommended books and an "About Me" page.

New Website3 Sep 2000
You are now looking at the new website for the Elgin Watch Collectors site. It should be easier to get around in, it looks a little nicer, but most importantly, it is much easier to add new information to.

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 10/04/2002 at 00:51:58.