The other day I picked up a book that seemed pretty interesting to me. The author, Dennis Sagwold, is a watchmaker and watchmaker who has been trading since 1965. Dennis owned and operated his own store for ninety years. For the past thirty years he has been conducting research and collecting alarm clocks.
Tinted carcasses or nickel signaling watches, as they were called from 1880 to 1935, were in fact foot signaling watches. They were nickel-plated, and years later other finishes were applied. These watches were popular and manufactured by most watch manufacturers.
As the styles changed, you would find bells that were fastened to the top of the case, and were also positioned on the back. Money cases are not common. Some foot clocks have brass, and tops have ornaments. Peeled pie shells are hard to find. Can't find calendar alerts. Ongoing alarms that strike for half an hour are rare. Light numbers are harder to find than white. There are personal lists of rare labels through which the retailer could place his name on the watch signal at no extra cost if he orders the required quantity of watches. The minimum order was one
Speaking of collecting private labels, Big Ben watches have those labels more than any other alarm. In addition to sharpening the feature of this watch, it revealed a very important part of the story, as the private label used to tell when the jeweler had become in business and where he was.
Some of the manufacturers of these watches are: Ansonia Clock Company was located in Ansonia, Connecticut, from 1851-1878. In 1851, the company was started by Anson G. Foster. Phelps. It became a separate company in 1859 and then incorporated in 1873. The company moved to New York in 1878, and a year later the fire damaged the company. However, business resumed in 1880. Ansonia was a very successful company. In 1930, Russia sold everything, including cars.
New Haven Clock Co. Established in 1853 in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1875, marine watches were created that used balance control instead of a pendulum. In 1880 they produced back wind nickel alarms. Wristwatch movements were produced in 1915. Production of electric watches began in 1929, and by 1950 there were 3 million watches produced annually. They quit in 1959.
Waterbury Clock Co. The company was established in Watbury, Connecticut, in 1857 as a branch office of Benedict and Burham. In 1892 they began producing watches for Robert Ingersol, and in 1924 Ingersol and his brother bought the company. In 1944 the company became the United States Time Time Corp.
In 1887, Westlox was known as the Western Clock Manufacturing Company and was born in Peru, Illinois. The company changed its name to Western Colo Clock in 1895. In 1910 the West Clock Code became Westlox. The company became the largest manufacturer of alarm clocks in the United States.
Dennis notes that leggings or tin watches are difficult to find today. The latter were manufactured in the late 1930s.