Railroad Watch

Railroad managers learned that to have their lines run on time, they needed to issue accurate timepieces to their employees. This watch was made in 1869 by Elgin National Watch Company, Elgin, Ill., under contract to the Pennsylvania Railroad. Outside case back is engraved "449," the number of the locomotive on which the watch was used. The "449" was a Baldwin 10-wheeler delivered to the railroad in July 1869.
The watch is an 18-size, 15-jewel key-wind movement in silver case. Movement marked: "B.W. Raymond / Patent Pinion / No. 69170 / Elgin, Ills." The B. W. Raymond model was named for Elgin’s first president, who also had been mayor of Chicago twice and president of the Elgin and State Line Railroad Co. Inside of dust cap marked: "7431." Inside of case back stamped: "J. R. Reed & Co. / Pitts / Coin / 7431." Dial reads: "PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD CO." Its steel winding key survives.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
ca 1869
Elgin National Watch Co.
Physical Description
silver (watch case material)
overall: 3 in x 2 1/8 in x 5/8 in; 7.62 cm x 5.3975 cm x 1.5875 cm
face: 4.5974 cm; 1 13/16 in
overall, key: 1 1/4 in x 3/8 in x 1/8 in; 3.175 cm x .9525 cm x .3175 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
serial number
Measuring & Mapping
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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