A New Havel Motor brand pocket watch with black faceplate and radium painted numbers and clock hands. The watch case is made of plated metal and has a ridged winding mechanism at the top. "New Haven Motor" and "Radium" are printed in white lettering on the watch face.

In the 1910s–1920s, radium was all the rage. A glowing radium watch was a must-have item. In factories, young women painted face dials with radioactive material. Unaware that the paint was harmful, they would place the brush tip on their lips to achieve a fine point.

After suffering from radium poisoning, several young women sued their employers and brought national attention to the safety of workers. These young women helped create new laws to protect all workers.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States

See more items in: Work and Industry: Mechanisms


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Estate of W. Carl Wyatt

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: ME.317201Catalog Number: 317201Accession Number: 230383

Object Name: WatchOther Terms: Watch; Mechanical, Spring-Driven; Pocket Watch

Physical Description: plated-metal, glass, radium paint (overall material)Measurements: overall: 3 in x 2 1/8 in x 1/2 in; 7.62 cm x 5.3975 cm x 1.27 cm


Record Id: nmah_852427

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