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Usage conditions apply
An Illinois brand wrist watch with brown leather strap. The watch is nickel with a radium painted faceplate.
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.
Object Name
Other Terms
Watch; Mechanical, Spring-Driven; Wrist Watch
place made
United States
Physical Description
leather (watch wrist strap material)
nickel, glass, radium paint, leather (overall material)
overall: 8 5/8 in x 1 1/2 in x 1/4 in; 21.9075 cm x 3.81 cm x.635 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Estate of W. Carl Wyatt
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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