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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.
Object Name
Other Terms
Watch; Mechanical, Spring-Driven; Pocket Watch
place made
United States
Physical Description
plated-metal, glass, radium paint (overall material)
overall: 3 in x 2 1/8 in x 1/2 in; 7.62 cm x 5.3975 cm x 1.27 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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