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Roy Ehrhardt's Elgin Watch Company book

These are the "problems" that I know of in the book Elgin Watch Company Grade and Serial Numbers by Roy Ehrhardt 2nd print 1976, here after referred to as EWC.

Actually, I am not certain that these are all really problems, they may simply be things that I don't understand. If anyone can clarify this stuff, I would be grateful. Also, this list is not complete, I know that I've noticed other minor stuff before I started writing up this list.

The EWC book contains very little original or distilled information of its own, it is mostly reprints of other documents. For this reason, most of these are not really "problems" in Roy's work.

I would like to thank Roy for collecting all this information and putting it in one spot. It is the best single book that I know of for Elgin watch information. You can purchase copies of this book at Heart of America Press.


Pages 2-8
This is a reprint from Elgin's 1915 Material Catalog. I don't have a complete list of problems, but here are some examples:

  • The Frances Rubie grade has numerous problems, which are highlighted in the Frances Rubie puzzle page.
  • Grade 12 is said to have only 7 jewels, but Elgin's 1871 Almanac shows cuts (drawings) with ones that have have more.
  • I have seen some grade 44 and grade 123 watches that have 17 jewels, even though this table says that they only have 15.
  • Grade 57 is said to have 13 jewels in this table, but I've never seen anything other than 11j.

Pages 9-44
This is a reprint from Elgin's 1950 Material Catalog. There are a few errors here, again, I don't have a complete list. Samples include:

  • The run starting at "2470000", should really be 2470001 instead, as 2470000 is already counted in the previous run.
  • Similarly, the run starting at "10709000" should start at 10709001.
  • The run starting at 11066001 says that it ends at "11067001", but it should end at 11067000.
  • The run starting at "12681000" should be "12681001"
  • The run right after 19880001 is said to start at "19844001", but I think it should be 19884001 instead.
  • The run starting at 21482001 should end at 21484000, not 21484001.

It's amazing what little nits you can find when you scan in all the serial numbers and use a program to check for errors.

Page 47
Starting on this page, there is a list developed by John D. Miller based off the Elgin serial number lists. There are a large number of errors in the production totals, number of runs and the first/last serial numbers. It appears likely that up to around 65 (about 10%) of the grades have some sort of problem with counts. (Remember that an error in one grade will likely effect at least one other grade.)

More importantly, there is a large amount of information that is omitted. This information is almost always "in the ball park", but I wouldn't use it as a "final word."

I have some cryptic notes on the errors in the counts here, but they weren't written for anyone except me to understand.

I guess a final comment on the subject:   I list a lot of errors in John's work while I list none in mine and that might make John's work sound unreliable. Actually, I am quite impressed with his work. Of course I resolved all the errors in my work by checking against his, I just didn't keep notes about my errors.

Page 48
Grade 52 is listed as a "HG2K", but it is actually a "HG1K"

Page 50
Grade 114 is listed as a "HG3P", but it is actually a "HG3L"

Page 51
Grade 161 is listed as a "HN2M", but it is actually a "HN2L"

Page 52
Grade 230 is listed as a "HH2P", but it is actually a "HG2P"

Grade 247 is listed as a "ON7P", but it is actually a "HN6P".

Grade 255 and 256 ares listed as a "ON2P", but they are actually a "ON1P"

Page 54
Grade 350, 360, and 361 are listed as a "ONC6", but they are actually a "ONCL"

Page 99
There is a claim that "The only thing we could tell from the serial number list is how many Grade 55s were made, not how many of each name." This is true for the serial number lists from 1950, but the 1896, and 1915 lists do seem to show which names were put on which grades. This information matches the information I have collected from Ebay, so I believe it is accurate

Page 100
There is a claim similar to the bottom of page 99 about the number of early named grades. See the above reference for more info.

Page 112
The Father time depicted on this page has a note by Roy that it is a grade 154, which is a 16 size 17 jewel that can't possibly match the picture. However, the serial number on the movement corresponds to a grade 252, which is a 18s full plate 21j watch. I believe that Roy looked up the serial number "6736141" instead of "8736141".

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 08:57:12.