The Hon. N. P. Banks, in his address at the Crystal Palace, a few weeks ago, alluded tc the manufacture of watches in this country, and stated that a watch could be made in three h#ors equal to any imported from London or Paris. This is an astonishing fact, but not quite so surprising as that we have excelled every country in making clocks, both as regards cheapness and regularity, and are as yet almost unable to make good and cheap watches. We have now made a start, and a good one, and we have no doubt that we shall soon stand at the top of horological countries. In the year 1825 we imported watches to the amount of $320,498, and in 1855, to the amount of $3,651,187, which shows a tremendous annual increase of money sent away, that might have been used at home. There is no doubt that as regards cheapness we car beat the world ; for our American clock car be bought in England for one dollar, while the cheapest .Swiss or Dutch clock costs one dollar and a half. Yet in Holland and Switzerland labor is about half the price it is here. Now it is evident that if we apply the same principles of manufacture towatches that we have done to clocks, we must succeed equally as well. Yankees have demonstrated their capabilities in this branch of art in days long gone by. During the war of 1812, many were made in Worcester county, Mass., and some of them are still extant, and Messrs. Appleton, Tracy Co. of Waltham, Mass., have just established a watch factory where the separate parts are all accurately stamped out by machinery and fitted by hands. The jewels are bored by hand, and the corresponding pivots fitted to them by females. All the watches are made alike, so that they can be easily repaired, and any part of one size will exactly fit any other watch of the same size, so thatthey can easily be repaired and refitted. The simplest kind of lever watch without the fusee is the form adopted, and they can turn out about ten thousand per annum. We hope they may have occasion to test their productive powers, and thus gain for themselves the honor of being the pioneers of American machine-made watches. We are indebted to the Waltham Sentinel for the majority of facts stated in this article.
This article was originally published with the title "Watchmaking" in Scientific American 13, 14, 108 (December 1857)