William Ellery model Pocketwatch

William Ellery model Pocketwatch

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During the Civil War Army physician Dr. G. D. O'Farrell received this watch as a gift from grateful patients.
In the 1850s watchmakers at what would become the American Watch Company of Waltham, Massachusetts, developed the world's first machine-made watches. They completely redesigned the watch so that its movement could be assembled from interchangeable parts made on specialized machines invented just for that purpose. They also developed a highly organized factory-based work system to speed production and cut costs.
In its first decade, the firm's work was largely experimental and the firm's finances were unsteady. The name of the company changed repeatedly as investors came and went. Operations moved from Roxbury to Waltham in 1854, and the Panic of 1857 brought bankruptcy and a new owner, Royal Robbins. Reorganization and recovery began, and output reached fourteen thousand watches in 1858.
Renamed the American Watch Company the next year, the firm was on the brink of success from an unexpected quarter. During the Civil War, Waltham's watch factory designed and mass-produced a low-cost watch, the William Ellery model. Selling for an unbelievable $13.00, these watches became a fad with Union soldiers. Just as itinerant peddlers had aroused the desire for inexpensive clocks, roving merchants sold thousands of cheap watches to eager customers in wartime encampments. By 1865, the year the war ended, William Ellery movements represented almost 45 per cent of Waltham's unit sales.
This William Ellery model watch was a gift to Army surgeon G. D. O'Farrell from his patients at White Hall, a Civil War hospital near Philadelphia. The inscription on the dust cover of O'Farrell's watch reads: "White Hall USA Gen'l Hospital, Feb. 15, 1865 Presented to Dr. G. D. O'Farrell, USA by the patients of Ward C as a token of regard & respect for his ability as a surgeon and unswerving integrity as a man."
Currently not on view
Object Name
pocket watch
Date made
American Waltham Watch Co.
Place Made
United States: Massachusetts, Waltham
Physical Description
enamel, white (dial material)
silver (case material)
overall: 3 in x 2 1/8 in x 3/4 in; 7.62 cm x 5.4102 cm x 1.905 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Clothing & Accessories
Measuring & Mapping
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I have one of these pocket watches. It has been sitting in a drawer for a number of years and now is time to pass it on to my grandson. The watch works; however, the hour hand is detached. It is pretty heavy watch and the case seems to be silver.
I can not for the life of me figure how to set the time on my waltham/ellery pocket watch #2,001245. It winds and runs well. Could someone help?
I have one given to me by a family friend. It was made between March and June of 1865. It runs great! It loses about two minutes or so a week. Not bad for that age!!!
I just purchased a Wm. Ellery watch. It is the second Waltham watch I've purchased with the name of one if their founders on the movement. Both are quite valuable because of those names. This watch is an 1882, and though it's not currently running, it is a very beautiful watch. It already looks great among the other 35 antique pocket watches I own.
"I have a am ellery pocket watch the outside of case is silver and has a man with a hat on and pie in mouth. The #796d are engraved on the inside of pocket watch on the inside of casing it has WM ELLERY on top, Boston MADD on bottom and it looks like the # 147450"
"I have one of these watches...it belonged to my paternal great grandfather. As a child, my father recalls my great grandfather winding this watch every night before bed and hanging it on a nail driven into the bedpost. William Ellery signed the Declaration of Independence for Rhode Island. Coincidentally, I am a fourth generation Rhode Islander. The watch works just fine. It has the original chain and a reproduction key."
I have a Wm Ellery pocket watch exactly like the one pictured the number is 8860 inside the watch cover plate. My watch has a Eagle with a shield and arrows on the watch cover. How does the watch cover open to see the face of the watch?
If you look around the edge of the inner, rear cover, you should clearly see a notch to pry open the cover. the notch is typically located on the inner rear cover, near the 11 - 12 oclock position if you are looking at the dial side. Please use great caution not to let the pry tool slip and damage the movement or jab your hand. Good luck.
Who was William Ellery after whom the 1857 William Ellery model pocket watch was named? Lincoln owned a William Ellery watch.

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