Pocket Horology

On this page, you can find some of my 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.

Books & Publications

The Appreciation & Authentication of Civil War Timepieces

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My latest horological book was published by the NAWCC in June, 2019. This book is intended to stand as the definitive work on the subject of how and why to collect Civil War watches. About half horology and half Civil War history, the book will equip readers with the tools to make informed judgments concerning the authenticity of Civil War timepieces and the provenances sometimes associated with them. The book also endeavors to impart a basic understanding of the importance in American history of the events to which these artifacts relate, and to make the stories of the men whose names appear on some of these watches live for a new group of admirers.

The book is 238 pages at 8″ x 10″, with 162 figures, 12 tables, 155 references, and a 67-book bibliography.

Print copies in both hard and soft cover are available from the NAWCC Gift Shop and www.NAWCC.org, from popular online stores, and from local bookstores (request it by title). The e-book edition will be available on popular online stores by the end of June.

The list price of the book is $34.99 for the soft cover edition, $44.99 for the hard cover edition, and $29.99 for the e-book. NAWCC members purchasing from the Gift Shop are entitled to a member discount, and also to an extra discount if purchasing before July 31, 2019. Members can order by calling 1-717-684-8261, extension 211.

NAWCC Articles

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

  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 23rd Annual NAWCC Seminar (now called the Ward Francillon Time Symposium), 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, 1858-1875NAWCC 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).
  17. “Watch Presented to Brigadier General William Jackson Palmer by the Officers of the 25th Pennsylvania Cavalry,” NAWCC BULLETIN, Vol. 61/3 #439 (May, 2019)

E. Howard & Company Watch Product Wiki

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 its watches “E. Howard & Co.”. It does not include 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, but the few minor font incompatibilities that crept into the wiki in the process mostly have been fixed now.

The wiki may be found here, in the “Encyclopedia” section of the NAWCC message board:

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

Events, Exhibits, and Seminars

Timeless Testaments: Civil War Watches & the Men Who Carried Them

The Timeless Testaments special six-month watch exhibit, opening on Saturday, July 6, at the NAWCC Library and Museum (514 Poplar St., Columbia PA, 17512 – just about forty miles from Gettysburg) will feature eighteen watches with Civil War provenances and a representative selection of other Civil War period timepieces drawn from four museums and ten private collections. Visitors will be able to self-guide through twenty-seven linked, narrated slide presentations on a 24″ touchscreen, which will afford close-up views of the watches, and more details about the men who carried them, the unit sin which they served, and some of the battles in which they fought.

The exhibit will kick off on opening day, July 6, with a seminar featuring five presentations by a panel of speakers.  Registration, which includes morning coffee and lunch, will be $20 in advance or $25 at the door. The seminar program and an NAWCC registration portal will be linked here shortly.

“Why and How to Collect Civil War Timepieces”

I spoke at the “Second Saturday” Civil War Lecture Series at the Carnegie Library, in Carnegie, PA on Saturday, February 10, 2018. See the flyer, here:

February 10 2018 2nd Sat Carnegie Lib Lecture flyer.

My talk, entitled Why and How to Collect Civil War Timepieces, with Illustrative Examples, was oriented to non-horological audiences whose primary interest is in Civil War history and artifacts.  I reviewed 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 focused on watches from my personal collection, their original owners, the units with which they served, and the battles in which they fought.  The watches were on display during and after my presentation.  After the talk, I  discussed watches that were brought by members of the audience with their owners.

The Carnegie Library of Carnegie PA is a majestic structure set on top of a prominent hill. The building houses the Civil War Room, where the Captain Thomas Espy Post #153 of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) 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).

My talk was an update and expansion of my earlier Collecting Civil War Watches talk, listed under “Presentations” above.

2002 NAWCC Seminar

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 in Horology (2009)

About The Name “Pocket Horology”

“Pocket Horology” is the name of a former national interest chapter of the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors (NAWCC) 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 nearly forty 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.