Elgin National Watch Company
Elgin National Watch Company
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Elgin National Watch Company
January 21, 1921 (green)
May 18, 1921 (orange)
Western Bank Note Company
11 1/4" (w) by 7 1/2" (h)
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Elgin, originally known as The National Watch Company of Chicago, Illinois was incorporated on August 27, 1864 with a capital of $100,000. The incorporators were Philo Carpenter, Howard Z. Culver, Benjamin W. Raymond, George M. Wheeler, Thomas S. Dickerson, Edward H. Williams and W. Robbins.
In September of 1864 a visit was made by some company representatives to the Waltham Watch Company and seven of their key people where lured away to work for the newly formed company and they were nicknamed the Seven Stars. The bait used was a $5,000 a year salary for 5 years, a $5,000 bonus and one acre of land on the company's, soon to be acquired, 35 acre site (some things never seem to change). Since turn about is fair play, Elgin lost several of the Seven Stars to the Illinois Watch Company a few years later in 1869.
The Seven Stars were all machinists first and watchmakers second. One of these men was Charles S. Moseley and he became the factory's first superintendent. He had been in the watch business since 1852.
The first movement was delivered from the factory April 1, 1867 and was named in honor of Benjamin W. Raymond. It was an 18 size, key wind, and full plate, with quick train and straight-line escapement arranged to set on the face and was adjusted to temperature. At that time watches took six months to complete and the B. W. Raymond model sold for $117 at a time when pork chops sold for three cents a pound (several years ago this watch was bought at auction by the city of Elgin for $15,000).
On May 12, 1874 during a special stockholder's meeting held in Chicago, the name of the company was changed to "The Elgin National Watch Company. This was thought to be advisable because the movements manufactured by the company were universally known as and called "Elgin Watches" or the "Watch from Elgin".
In 1888 the factory was producing about 7,500 movements per week, about one fifth of which were key wind and one tenth of the movements were nickel. The factory had 2,300 employees at this time and they were split 50/50 between men and women but not so their pay. The women earned about $6 per week while some of the men earned as much as $3 per day and this was for a 6-day work week.)
During World War I the United States Army had the Elgin factory train more than 350 men to make the precision repairs required in the battlefields.
It was during the Second World War that all civilian work was stopped and Elgin made military watches, chronometers for the U.S. Navy, fuses for artillery shells, altimeters and instruments for aircraft and sapphire bearings used in the aiming of cannon. The Elgin Company was awarded ten Army-Navy "E" awards, for full filling contracts ahead of schedule.
The Elgin Company diversified after World War II making decorator clocks, transistor radios, wedding rings, but the heart's beat was the Elgin watch. That heart beat had been getting slower every year and Elgin ceased to depend on the watch factory as its main enterprise. The clock tower of the National Street plant was torn down October 7, 1966.
The world's largest watch manufacturing complex was located in several buildings from its inception in 1864 until the last Elgin movement made in the United States was completed in Elgin, South Carolina, in 1968.
Certificates carry no value on any of today's financial indexes and no transfer of ownership is implied. All items offered are collectible in nature only. So, you can frame them, but you can't cash them in!
All of our pieces are original - we do not sell reproductions. If you ever find out that one of our pieces is not authentic, you may return it for a full refund of the purchase price and any associated shipping charges.
Are the certificates offered on your site genuine or reproductions?All of the certificates you see on our site are genuine pieces, we do not sell any reproductions.
Are the certificates you sell negotiable on any of today's stock markets or indexes?
No. All of the pieces we sell are either canceled or obsolete and have collectible value only.
Are the images presented in your product listings of the exact piece I will receive?
It depends. We try to present images of the exact piece you will receive whenever possible. However, when we are offering quantities of a piece, this is impossible. Within every product page we detail whether or not you will be receiving the exact certificate listed, or if the image is a representative example of the one you will receive.
How will you ship my order and how much do you charge?
We ship all orders via the United States Postal Service. Most domestic orders are shipped via Ground Advantage. USPS International, Priority and Express Mail, UPS and DHL services are also available, and costs are calculated during checkout. Current charges may be reviewed here.
Can I return my purchase?
Absolutely. You may return any merchandise, for any reason, within 30 days of the purchase date for a full refund of the purchase price.
We guarantee all of our pieces to be authentic. If you ever determine that a piece is not authentic, it may be returned for a full refund of the purchase price as well as any associated shipping charges.
If your order exceeds $35, and the shipping address is within the United States, shipping via USPS Ground Advantage is FREE!
We make every effort to ship out all orders within 24 hours of receipt.
We ship the majority of orders via the USPS, with domestic orders using the Ground Advantage service.
Shipping is calculated during checkout. Upgraded services such as Priority and Express Mail, as well as UPS and DHL options, are also available.
As soon as your order is shipped you will receive your tracking information via email.
OVERSEAS ORDERS PLEASE NOTE THAT WE DECLARE FULL ORDER VALUE ON ALL SHIPMENTS. CUSTOMER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL VAT/CUSTOMS CHARGES.
Our goal is to make sure every item you receive is exactly what you had in mind. If you not happy with your purchase, we’ll help you get it sorted in a timely and professional manner.
You can return anything we offer for an exchange, refund or store credit within 30 days of delivery. Return shipping costs may apply, and the item must be in its original condition and packaging.
Any shipping charges collected on the original order are not eligible for a refund.