1883 -1892

The Aurora watch company was established in July 1883. Although they were only open for nine years, the company managed to produce over 105,000 pocket watches. At $100 for each individual share, the company managed a capital of $250,000 and were given land in the city of Aurora, Illinois.

They began building a factory which was finished in February of 1884. Aurora’s first completed pocket watch followed in October later that year. The company was unique in that it claimed to sell exclusively to only one business or individual dealer per city. The factory superintendent, George F. Johnson developed the company’s patented stem-wind attachment that was included in the companies earliest pocket watch models.

Typically the company employed 150-200 factory workers with an output average of 150 watches per day. The company’s two most popular models in old pocket watch collections are the Aurora Sidewinder and the Aurora 15 Ruby Jewel movements. The company was forced to sell out to the Hamilton Watch Company in 1892.

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Source: Heritage Pocket Watch

Craig Duling

Craig Duling's fascination with timepieces goes back at least to his college days, when he built a digital clock from scratch for his senior year physics lab class. Currently the head of Heritage Management Services, a business management firm in San Francisco, Craig Duling is also a significant collector of rare antique pocket watches. Pocket watches are often associated with images of 19th-century railroad conductors consulting them as steam trains left the station. This close attention to correct time was essential. In the 19th century, most trains traveled in both directions on single sets of tracks. Sidings were placed at regular intervals to allow trains to pass safely. Printed timetables showed the arrival and departure of trains, as well as when they were waiting in sidings. This system depended on accurate watches. The problem with this became evident in 1891 when two trains in Ohio had a head-on collision, killing nine people. Investigation disclosed that the engineer's watch on the passenger train had stopped and restarted, making it four minutes slow. This tragedy prompted railroad officials to set up standards for pocket watches. These specifications mandated that watches share a common design, as well as being reliable, easy to read, and impervious to extremes of temperature.

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