Pocket Horology

“Pocket Horology” is the name of a former national interest chapter of the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors that I founded in the mid 1990’s.  That chapter was dedicated to promoting scholarly research into the history and collecting of antique mechanical pocket watches, which I myself have researched, collected, and written about for over thirty years.

(To see some of the horological research the chapter fostered, go to http://ph.nawcc.org/.  To see even more, join the NAWCC, so you can access past issues of the NAWCC BULLETIN.)

And so I have titled this page of my blog after my old chapter, in honor of my many friends, living and deceased, who called the Pocket Horology chapter their horological home, and who contributed to its accomplishments.

On this page, you can find some of my non-fiction writing on Early American and Civil War watches.  I would be pleased to also make my website available to friends who may have their own horological research to contribute.  I have previously published a book and a number of essays on these subjects, and I will be collecting some of them here.

Presentations

Please enjoy these presentations:

Watch my blog for updates as I continue to add presentations.

Past Publications

NAWCC Members can access the publications listed below by logging into: https://nawcc.org/, and following the PUBLICATIONS/Watch & Clock Bulletin/Past Issues links.

  1. “E. Howard & Company Watch Dials,” NAWCC BULLETIN, Vol 35/4, No. 285 (August, 1993).
  2. “A Guide to cases for E. Howard & Company Watches,” NAWCC BULLETIN, No. 295 (April, 1995).
  3. “A Civil War Watch,” in the Research Activities and News section, NAWCC BULLETIN, Vol. 37/4, No. 297 (August, 1995).
  4. “Some Unusual E. Howard & Company Watches,” NAWCC BULLETIN, No. 310 (October, 1997).
  5. “The Priceless Recollections of a Few: Eugene T. Fuller 1932-1999,” NAWCC BULLETIN 322 (October, 1999).
  6. “The Origin and Evolution of the E. Howard & Company Divided Plate Keywind Movement,”  NAWCC BULLETIN, No. 324 (February, 2000).
  7. “Boston: Cradle of Industrial Watchmaking: The 23rd Annual NAWCC Seminar,” NAWCC BULLETIN, No. 338 (June, 2002).
  8. Harold Visser and Clint B. Geller, “Private Label Movements and Dials for Webb C. Ball, by E, Howard & Co.,” NAWCC BULLETIN, Vol.46, # 351, (August, 2004).
  9. Harold Visser and Clint B. Geller, “ Howard & Co. ‘Railroad’ Watches,” in the RailRoader’s Corner Column, NAWCC BULLETIN, # 352, (October, 2004).
  10. Harold Visser and Clint Geller, “E. Howard & Co. Watch Movement Production Totals,” on-line article on the NAWCC Chapter 174 (Pocket Horology) website, circa 2004.
  11. “Boston: Cradle of Industrial Watchmaking,” based on the proceedings of the proceedings of the 23rd Annual NAWCC Seminar (now called the Ward Francillon Seminar), held in Boxboro, MA, in October 2002, chaired by Clint Geller.  Introduction to the volume by Clint Geller;  NAWCC BULLETIN Special Order Supplement No. 5 (2005).
  12.  “A Study of E. Howard & Co. Watchmaking Innovations, 1858-1875,” NAWCC BULLETIN Special Order Supplement No. 6 (2005).
  13. “Reed Serial #4,” NAWCC BULLETIN, No. 360. (February, 2006).
  14. “E. Howard & Co. Divided-Plate Key Wind Movement Serial Number 349: First Run,” NAWCC BULLETIN, No. 364 (October, 2006).
  15. Coauthored with Chris Abell, “An Early Experimental E. Howard & Co. Watch,” NAWCC BULLETIN, Vol. 49, #369 (August 2007).
  16. “Some Thoughts on Originality & Restoration of Watches,” NAWCC BULLETIN, #382 (October, 2009).

Current Horological Publication Project

Currently, I am writing what will be either a short series of articles, or perhaps a monograph on the watches that saw service during the American Civil War, with an emphasis on watches that are identified to specific Civil War combatants. More information will be posted here and on my blog as it develops.

E. Howard & Company Watch Product Wiki in the NAWCC Message Board “Encyclopedia” Section

I wrote this wiki for the NAWCC several years ago, and it probably remains the best compact primer on the products of the original Howard watch company on the web.  (Note: this wiki covers only the products of the original Howard watch manufacturing organization – the maker of so called “early Howards” – which signed all of its watches “E. Howard & Co.,” and not the later “E. Howard Watch Co.” organization of Waltham, which shared a similar, though not identical, name.) While the wiki itself does not include watch images, the links provided there more than make up for this deficiency.  Recently, the Message Board software changed, and a few minor font incompatibilities have crept into the wiki in the process, but none of them prevent one from understanding the content.  The wiki may be found here:

https://mb.nawcc.org/wiki/E-Howard-and-Co

Online Forums

In addition to the NAWCC Message Board American Pocket Watches Forum, I am an active participant and a patron of the American Civil War Talk (CWT) website.  Of particular interest to readers of this page will be the CWT forum on Uniforms and Relics, which features numerous posts by yours truly on subjects related to Civil War timekeepers and timekeeping.

The first thread I initiated on the CWT, which is in the Uniforms and Relics forum, provides a primer for the collecting of Civil War watches. (Readers may also wish to consult my two-part PDF presentation, linked above, in conjunction with the primer.)

Upcoming Events and Exhibits

Presentation at the Carnegie Library “Second Saturday” Civil War Lecture Series, Saturday, February 10, 2018, in Carnegie PA

I have accepted an invitation to speak at the “Second Saturday” Civil War Lecture Series at the Carnegie Library, 300 Beechwood Avenue, Carnegie PA 15106 (412-276-3456), at 1 PM on Saturday, February 10, 2018.  My talk, entitled “Why and How to Collect Civil War Timepieces, with Illustrative Examples,” will be oriented to non-horological audiences  whose primary interest is in Civil War history and artifacts.  I plan to review the role and prevalence of personal watches in Civil War armies, and the kinds and characteristics of watches carried by Civil War combatants.  The latter part of the talk will focus on watches from my personal collection, their original owners, the units with which they served, and the battles in which they fought.  The watches will be on display during and after my presentation.  After the talk, I look forward to seeing and discussing watches that may be brought by members of the audience with their owners.

For those who have never visited the Carnegie Library of Carnegie PA, it is well worth the trip in itself.  It is a majestic structure set on top of a prominent hill in Carnegie.  The building houses the Civil War Room, where the Captain Thomas Espy Post #153 of the Grand Army of the Republic met for several decades after the Civil War.  Home to one of the last active GAR posts in the country, the room was sealed for the better part of a century after its last veteran died in 1937.  Today, the room and its contents of original flags, books, prints, relics, and rare Lincoln photographs are spectacularly preserved, and are open to the public (please see their schedule for guided viewings).

Civil War Timepieces Exhibit & Seminar at the NAWCC HQ Museum, July 2019

I will be guest-curating a special six-month exhibit on pocket watches of the Civil War at the NAWCC HQ Museum in Columbia, PA (just about 40 miles from the Gettysburg Battlefield), opening on Saturday, July 6, 2019.  I am planning to kick it off with a one-day seminar on that day, but I can still use help planning and organizing it.  If you are interested, please contact me here.  Thanks.

I had the honor of chairing and organizing the 2002 NAWCC National Seminar in Boxborough, Massachusetts. See my blog post, The 2002 NAWCC National Seminar, “Boston: Cradle of Industrial Watchmaking”, for more details. Also see the on-line catalog of the exhibit, which has since been further enlarged and enhanced.

Awards & Honors

NAWCC Fellow Award – 2003

NAWCC James W. Gibbs Award for Excellence in Literary Achievement – 2009