Biltmore pocket watch dating

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A famous train wreck on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway in Kipton, Ohio on April 19, 1891 occurred because one of the engineers' watches had stopped for four minutes. Ball as their Chief Time Inspector, in order to establish precision standards and a reliable timepiece inspection system for Railroad chronometers.This led to the adoption in 1893 of stringent standards for pocket watches used in railroading.In 1857 the American Watch Company in Waltham, Massachusetts introduced the Waltham Model 57, the first to use interchangeable parts. Most Model 57 pocket watches were in a coin silver ("one nine fine"), a 90% pure silver alloy commonly used in dollar coinage, slightly less pure than the British (92.5%) sterling silver, both of which avoided the higher purity of other types of silver to make circulating coins and other utilitarian silver objects last longer with heavy use.Watch manufacture was becoming streamlined; the Japy family of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, led the way in this, and soon afterwards the newborn American watch industry developed much new machinery, so that by 1865 the American Watch Company (afterwards known as Waltham) could turn out more than 50,000 reliable watches each year.Chains were frequently decorated with a silver or enamel pendant, often carrying the arms of some club or society, which by association also became known as a fob.Ostensibly practical gadgets such as a watch winding key, vesta case, or a cigar cutter also appeared on watch chains, although usually in an overly decorated style.The movement was made of iron or steel and held together with tapered pins and wedges, until screws began to be used after 1550.Many of the movements included striking or alarm mechanisms.

Watch fobs began to be used, the name originating from the German word fuppe, a small pocket.

The watch was wound and also set by opening the back and fitting a key to a square arbor, and turning it.

Until the second half of the 18th century, watches were luxury items; as an indication of how highly they were valued, English newspapers of the 18th century often include advertisements offering rewards of between one and five guineas merely for information that might lead to the recovery of stolen watches.

Pocket watches generally have an attached chain to allow them to be secured to a waistcoat, lapel, or belt loop, and to prevent them from being dropped.

Watches were also mounted on a short leather strap or fob, when a long chain would have been cumbersome or likely to catch on things.

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