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Independent Watch Company


1875-1881


 

Brothers E. W. Howard and C. M. Howard of Fredonia, New York formed the Independent Watch Company. The brothers originally started out selling patent medicines and started a side business to sell pocket watches and jewelry by mail order.Initially the brothers sold Swiss pocket watches that they had engraved their name into, but later switched to American made watches coming from the Hampden Watch Company, the United States Watch Company of Marion and the Cornell Watch Company. The brothers were so successful in their side business that they decided to create the Independent Watch Company. In the beginning, the brothers did not have a factory and simply engraved their company name on the top plate and dial of the watches that they sold.
In hopes of making more money, E. W. Howard and C. M. Howard purchased the California Watch Company factory in Berkeley, California and started to manufacture their own watches as the Independent Watch Company and the Fredonia Watch Company. This venture did not last very long however due to the brother’s not being as successful at manufacturing their own pocket watches as they had hoped.
A Large View of an Independent 15 jewel Keywind with a Silvered Balance Bridge 18 size movement

A Large View of an Independent Howard Brothers 18 size Dial

A Large View of an Independent Hampden 11 jewel Keywind 18 size movement

Images provided by: oldwatch.com

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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