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Canadian Rail 343 1980

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Canadian Rail 343 1980

Canadian Rail §
.T),
No.343
AUGU5T1980

Published r:10ntll1y by The Canadian Railroad
Historical Association
P.O. Box 22, Station B Montreal ,Quebec,Canada
H3B 3J5
EDITOR: Fred F. Angus
CO-EDITOR: M. Peter Murphy
BUSINESS CAR: Dave J. Scott
OFFICIAL CARTOGRAPHER: William A.
Germaniuk
LAYOUT: Michel Paulet
FRONT COVER
A Canadian Pacific Railway watch
made by the American Waltham Watch
Co., serial number 8,858,139. Thi s
watch was purchased new in 1898 by
Ewan Kenneth Nicholson, section foreman
at Milan,Que. Mr. Nicholson paid the C.P.R. $1.00 per
month
until the pri ce of $23.00 was met. (Photo: Canadian
Pacific Ltd.).
OPPOS ITE
A vi ew of the moveme nt of No.
8,858,139 clearly showing the Canadian
Pacific beaver and shield.
This watch is a Waltham model1883
made in 1898 or 1899. (Photo: Canadian
Pacific Ltd.).
ISSN 0008 -4875
CALGARY & SOUTH ~ESTERN DIVISION
60-6100 4th Ave. NE
Calgary, A1 berta T2A 5Z8
OTTAWA
BYTOWN RAILWAY SOCIETY
P .0. Box 141, S ta t ion A Ottawa, Ontario
K1N BVl
NE~ BRU NSW IC K 0 I V I S I orl
P.O. Box 1162
Saint John,
Ne~ Brunswick E2L 4G7
CROWSNEST AND KETTLE-VALLEY DIVISION
P. O. Box 400
Cranbrook, British Columbia
V1C 4H9
PACIFIC COAST DIVISION
P.O. Box 1006, Station A, Vancouver
British Columbia V6C 2P1
ROCKY MOUNTAIN DIVISION
P .0. Box 6102, S ta t i on C, E dmo n ton
Alberta T5B 2NO
WINDSOR-ESSEX DIVISION
300 Cabana Road East, Windsor
Ontario N9G lA2
TORONTO & YORK DIVISION
P.O. Box 5B49, Terminal A, Toronto Ontario
M5W 1P3
NIAGARA 01 V I SI ON
P.O. Box 593
St.Catharines,
Ontario L2R 6W8
ST. LA~RENCE VALLEY DIVISION
P.O. Box 99
Ste. Doroth~e, Quebec H7X 2T4
IIlIlBMD
POOITDTCDS
II
by Fred Angus
A verge watch of the type still in use in the early days of
railways. This particular one was made by Charles Norman in
London England in 1797, and, according to papers found inside
the case, was in service at least as late as the 1870 s.
While such watches were never noted for accuracy, they were
rugged and long-lasting, and, in the days before rigid watch
inspection, were no doubt often employed in early railroad
service. (Collection of the author).
CANADIAN
229
R A I L
For a century and a half the pocket watch.has been almost
indispensible in the performance of du~y of ra~~roQd employ~es
concerned with operating trains. Many ~llustrat~ons show ra~l­
roaders with their trusty timepiece, so much in fact that the
pocket watch has become almost as much of a railroad symbol as
the conductors punch the engineers hat, or the brakemans
lantern. How many of ~s, however, have looked inside the c?se of
the familiar watch to see what makes it tick, or to cons~der
how such a small but complicated mechanism came to be developed?
The story of the evolution of the.pre~ision timepie~e.that is the
railroad watch is a long and fasc1nat~ng one, a def~n~te part of
the much larger story of Canadian railways.
The start of railway development in the first half af the nine­
teenth century was undoubtedly the greatest single advance in
transportation technology ever seen in history. Where railways
were built, average speeds suddenly increased by more than tenfold
over previous methods of travel such as by road and water. It soon
became very apparant that efficient use of this new means of trans­
portation required timekeeping of a much greater accuracy than had
been commonly in use before. An error of five minutes would have
had little significance in the more leisurely days of stage coach
or canal travel, but on the railway, particularly where trains on
single-track lines had to meet, such an error could be disasterous.
Fortunately, the period of initial railway development coincided
with the coming into use of watches of much greater accuracy than
had been available, and the improvement in watch design kept pace
with the increasing speeds of railway trains. It is the intention
here to give only on outline sketch of the development of railroad
watches with special reference to Canada. The subject of time ser­
vice and inspection of timepieces is so involved that it would take
a book to cover it, but it is a vital part of the safe operation
of railways.
In the year 1800, a person who could afford to buy a watch
would probably have one with what is knownas a verge escapement.
The design of this mechanism had changed little since about 1670
and was quite complicated utilizing a crown wheel and a right-angle
drive consisting of a contrate gear meshing with a pinion on the
same axle as the crown wheel. Power was supplied from the mainspring
through a fusee, an ingenious device which employed a chain winding
around a spiral pulley to e0ualize.t6roue as the spring ran down.
A verge watch would run for about 30 hours on one winding, and if
properly adjusted could be relied on for an accuracy of five or ten
minutes a day, perfectly adeouate for the less demanding schedules
of that era. This is not to say that more accurate watches were
not available. The eighteenth century had seen much development in
the design of timepieces, most notably the marine chronometer which
kept time to accuracy measured in seconds per month. Also, new
watch escapements such as the cylinder, the duplex, and the lever
had been invented and gave promise of much better accuracy. The
trouble was that all these watches of improved design were very
expensive compared to the verge and difficult to produce in ~uantity,
furthermore the extra accuracy was not then justified economically.
Hence the ancient verge design accounted for more than 90% of all
watches made. Between 1800 and 1825 the increasing tempo of life,
influenced by the Industrial Revolution as well as the Napoleonic
CANADIAN 230 R A I L
Wars, required greater accuracy in timekeeping. Watchmakers,
especially in England, tried to develop better watches or to facil­
itate manufacture. of previously-invented designs. After much exper­
imenting, it appeared that the lever escapement, first invented
as far back as 1760, was the best for the watch of the future. By
1820 the lever watch could be made in ~uantity at a price which,
considering its superiority, was competitive, and by 1850 the lever
design accounted for the majority of all watches in use. The name
lever watch refers to the escapement which permits free oscillation
of the balance wheel and should not be confused with the lever
set watch (which does, however, usually have a lever escapement)
of which we will hear more later. The conclusion that the lever
was best was based on accuracy, economics of manufacture, ease of
maintenance, and resistance to damage under rough use. That this
conclusion was valid is shown by the fact that almost all mechanical
watches made today are of lever design, and its supremacy is
threatened only by the electronic watches now being produced. All
the railroad watches considered in this article have the lever
escapement. Thus, when the railway revolution occurred in the 1830 s
and 1840 s, watches were readily available with the accuracy reluired
for train operation.
At the time Canadas first railway opened in 1836 there were
no standards for railroad watches and in fact more than half a
century would pass before strict standards and specifications would
be required for all watches in railroad service. In the early
days it was only required that a watch used by operating personnel
Manufactured by E.C. Mitchell of Liverpool England in 1825,
this watch with lever escapement, was the most modern and
up-to-date type of watch in the early days of railroading.
No. 669 would have passed any inspection (such as may have
existed) before about 1860, and even today is a better time­
keeper than some cheap watches presently used (but not in
railroad service of course). Note the words Patent Lever
on the balance cock to draw attention to the new feature.
The heavy case and dust cap has protected the works for more
than 150 years. (Collection of the author).
CANADIAN
231
R A I L
keep accurate time and be checked periodically with clocks located
at major stations. There is no record as to what watches were used
in the pioneer era, but a typical good watch in use in 1836 would be
about 24 inches in diameter, 3/4 thick, and weigh more than a quar­
ter of a pound. It would be in a silver case, wind and set with a
key, and have a lever escapement as well as the 11 fusee chain-drive
device. Timekeeping to within one minute per day could be relied
upon if the watch was properly adjusted, and it was rugged enough
for railroad service. However watches were still basically hand­
made with non-interchangeable parts, and so repairs were expensive
and time consuming if a part was broken.
After 1850, the development of railways in North America in­
creased at a very great rate. Coincidently with this, a great
advance occurred in watchmaking. Starting in the 1850s, machine­
made watches with interchangeable parts made their appearance and
were soon found to be as good or better than the hand-made ones.
Not only could watches be produced much more cheaply but, e~ually
important, could be repaired cheaply using standard replacement
parts. The pioneer of this system was the American Watch Company
at Waltham Massachusetts, and during the next hundred years millions
of railroad-grade Waltham watches were made for use on the railways
of the world. Many of the later Walt hams are still in use, and
are likely to remain so for years to come. The new mass produced
watches incorporated much greater use of jewelled bearings and in
addition the improved mainsprings meant that the watches no longer
reauired the delicate and complicated chain drive. The early Wal-
One of the first machine-made watches ever produced, No. 2386
was made at Waltham Mass. about 1856. The forerunner of many
millions of quality watches produced by Waltham over the next
hundred years, this design was the pioneer attempt to make a
quality watch in America at a competitive price. During the
1850 s, 1860 s, and probably considerably later, watches of
this basic design were in use on railways on both sides of the
U.S. -Canada border. (Collection of the author).
CANADIAN
232
R A I L
thams cost $40.00 each in 1857, but this price was greatly reduced
for the more common grades as production increased. About this
time the United States became the major producer of good watches at
reasonable prices, and continued so until the twentieth century
when Switzerland gained this distinction. Soon other companies such
as Elgin (1864), Illinois (1869), and Hamilton (1892) were formed to
produce quality watches and it is during the latter part of the nine·
teenth century that the t~ue railroad watch made its appearance.
Canada did not produce railroad watches, but some U.S.-made watches
were produced to Canadian specifications, and many other U.S.
railroad watches were used on Canadian railways, so the development
of railroad watch standards in Canada after 1880 closely followed
that of the United States.
The first watch specifically designed with the railroad man in
mind was the B.W. Raymond grade produced by Elgin starting in
1867 i in fact Elgins first watch was one of this type. The one
shown here, serial number 2042, was made in 1867, and has fifteen
jewels, compensating balance, and is adjusted for temperature and
position. The gold-filled case, also introduced at this time,
meant that a strong, non-tarnishing case could be had for a small
fraction of the cost of solid gold, and such cases became the
most popular type for railroaders in later years. This watch is
representative of the final development of the key-wound watch.
Already stem winding was beginning to appear, and by the 1880 s
all high grade watches were stem-winders. Although manufactured
in the year of Canadas confederation, No. 2042 will still keep
time to within a few seconds a day. (Collection of the author).
CANADIAN
233
R A I L
Following the introduction of mass production, other problems
of watch design were solved step by step. Although a watch may
keep excellent time in a fixed environment, the result may be guite
different when it is subject to changes in temperature and position
in actual use. The temperature variation was reduced by means of
a compensated bi-metallic balance wheel, but the position errors
required the careful adjusting of each watch as it was made. For
some applications, adjustment was not necessary, but railroad use
required ad justment to various positions, originally three, but
later higher grade timepieces were adjusted to as many as six pos­
itions. Although there was still no official railroad standard
in the 1870 s, many railroads ordered good watches directly from the
manufacturer for the use of their employees, and in some cases the
railroad name would appear on the dial, or even on the movement it­
self. A railroad-quality watch of the 1870 period such as the
Waltham Crescent Street or the Elgin B.W. Raymond would have
about 15 jewels, compensated balance, and be ad justed to at least
three positions. It would still be key-wound and key-set, but could
keep time to within a minute a week and would be a good watch even
today although not, of course, able to pass the modern railroad
inspection.
An advertisement for the National Watch Co. of Elgin Ill. in 1870.
No. 19458 shown in the ad. is the same as No. 2042 depicted above.
Elgin watches have been used by most railways in Canada and the
U.S. from their start in 1867 until the present.
CANAD IAN
234
R A I L
The next development was the stem-winding watch which came into
general use soon after 1870. It was no longer necessary to carry a
key to wind and set the watch, and the elimination of the key hole
meant that the case could be sealed tighter and so made more dust­
praof. However the new method of setting by pulling out the winding
knob had the disadvantage that the watch might accidently be set
while winding with potentially disasterous results. Therefore the
method of lever set (not to be confused with lever escapement)
was developed for railroad watches. By this method the watch could
not be set unless a lever was pulled rut to engage the setting gears.
This lever could only be reached by opening the bezel surrounding the
watch glass, and so eliminated the possibility of accidently changing
the setting. A more dust-tight case was invented in which the front
and back of the case were screwed on, thus sealing the movement into
the case. Both the lever setting and screw case became re~uired
features for railroad watches in the 1890 s.
The 1890 s witnessed the first concerted effort on the part
of the railways to adopt official standards for railroad watches.
Before this time the requirements varied widely from railroad to
railroad, some were excellent while others were not. It is said
that crews used an alarm clock hung from a nail in the engine cab
on at least one short line! The story is that a disasterous collision
in Ohio in 1891 was caused by inaccurate timekeeping, and this was
the event that at last farced the issue and resulted in the start
of uniform standards. In the United States these standards were
adopted in 1893 and required a minimum of 17 jewels, adjustment to
five positions, and temperature compensation for the range from
40 to 95 degrees Farenheit. The watch must also be lever-set, have
the winding knob at the numeral 12, and have a plain dial with
arabic numerals. Since most existing watches did not meet these
new standards, there was a sudden demand for new higher quality
timepieces. To satisfy this demand two new companies came into
existance for the production of railroad watches. The Hamilton
Watch Company was formed in 1892 to manufacture high grade railroad
watches, the first being completed in 1893. The Ball Watch Comp-
any did not make any watches but ordered them made to its specific­
ations from other manufacturers. The older companies,such as Waltham
and Elgin, not to be outdone, introduced new models in keeping with
the new standards. Elgin developed the Veritas and Father Time
designs, while Waltham praduced its famous Model 1892 in many diffe­
rent grades, this being the first Wal tham designed from the ground
up as a railroad watch. Two watch designs of this period which
were very popular in Canada were the Waltham models 1883 and 1892.
Both were produced for many years, the Model 1892 continuing in
production until 1918, while the Model 1883 actually outlasted the
1892, being manufactured until 1920. Although in later years the
1892 was superior to the 1883 (none of the latter, for example,
being ordered by C.P.R. after 1904) thG higher grades of both models
were considered as railroad standard for many years, and both were
ordered by the major Canadian railways over a long period of time.
It is in this period that a distinctly Canadian variety of
railroad watch made its appearance. The Canadian Pacific Railway
had adopted 24-hour time on its Western lines in the construction
days of the 1880 s, and watches ordered for the C.P.R. and, later,
other Canadian railways had the numerals 13 to 24 an the dial
as well as the usual 1 to 12. Even more truly Canadian were
the Waltham watches especially marked Canadian Pacific Railway
and those marked Canadian Railway Time Service directly on the
movement. These were produced in many different lots between the
A watch with a definite association with the history of railways
in Canada, No. 2,489,534 was made by Waltham in 1884 and was
presented to Richard Marpole of the C.P.R. in 1887. Mr. Marpole
was superintendant of construction and operation on 500 miles of
the Lake Superior Division when the first through train was run
in 1885. He also was the first to prepare timetables on the
24-hour system first used by C.P. at that time. Ironically,
however, this watch does not have the 24-hour dial. Quite apart
from its railroad interest, No. 2,489,534 is an excellent example
of a railroad watch of the 80 s, being a Waltham model 1877,
stem-wind, with patented fine-adjusting regulator.
CANADIAN 236
R A I L
1890 s and about 1920,· and were mostly 17-jewel (although a few
were 21-jewel) watches in models 1883, 1892, and the smaller model
1908. While the Waltham serial number list indicates that 4570
C.P.R. watches were made between 1897 and 1919, and 1451 C.R.T.S.
from 1907 to 1918, this cannot be relied upon exactly as examples are
known to exist outside the given ranges. In fact one C. R. T.S.
watch observed bears a serial number indicating that it was made
about 1892, fully fifteen years before the records say this type
began~ In other instances watches shown as being in the C.P.R.
or C. R. T.S. ser ies are not so marked in fact, all this indicating
that the Waltham list, campiled years after the fact, is only an
approximate guide and actual markings may differ from those offici­
ally recorded.
By 1900 the railroad watch had reached a high state of perfec­
tion, so much so that no really fundamental changes in design were
made for more than sixty years. A new, smaller size (known as 16
size) came into use and gradually superseded the older 18 size,
and improvements were made in some other features. These included
improved non-magnetic balance-spring alloys, extra jewels (up to
23 or even as high as 25), double-roller locking in the escapement,
and adjustments to six positions. Nevertheless, a good railroad
pocket watch of the late 1890 s bore a definite similarity to one of
the 1960 s, and while the older one would not pass the more strict
Complete with 24-hour dial, patent regulator and inscription:
Canadian Railway Time Service, this Waltham model 1883 watch
No. 6,008,385 was made in 1892 and is one of the first watches
specifically marked for Canadian railway use. Although Waltham
records do not indicate any C.R.T.S. watches before 1907,
there must have been some orders for such watches beginning in
the early 1890 s and continuing until 1918. This watch is in a
hunting case (i. e. there is a hinged cover over the dial) a
style that was not much used on railroad watches after 1900
since railways preferred open-face watches.
(Collection of P. Kushner).
CANADIAN
237
R A I L
inspection criteria ot the later days, it would still be perfectly
adeauate for all but the most demanding situations. As an example
of railroad watch standards of the first half of the Twentieth
century,the following was renuired of watches in the service of the
Canadian Paci f ic Railway under regulations dated 1922: The
standards adopted by this company are for grades of movements that
have been approved and listed by the Chief Inspector of Time Service.
These must be equal or above 17 jewel, Breguet hair spring, patented
micrometric regulator, double roller, lever set, mean time screws,
and adjusted to temperature, isochronism and at least five positions.
Name of maker, name or number of grade, and number of positions
must be stamped on the movement. Time variation must not exceed
30 seconds per week.
After about 1950 the situation began to change again. Wrist
watches had now come into fashion and eventually the railways
began to approve so~wrist watches for railroad use while continuing
to approve pocket watches that met the standards. In more recent
times, electronic watches have become a great challange to mechanical
ones, While offering more accuracy, their dependibility under rough
usage has been a drawback in certain cases, but now some models
are being approved. Manufacture of high ~uality mechanical watches
still continues, but has become more and more the domain of the Swiss.
The Waltham and Elgin companies were sold and stopped making watches
in the United States in 1957 and 1965 respectively, but these names
are still used on Swiss products. Finally, in December 1969
Hamilton ceased production of its 21-jewel Railway Special Model
992B a type which had been introduced in 1941. This was the last
railroad pocket watch made in America, and when the last one come
off the assembly line it was truly the end of an era.
In the history of Canadian railways we have seen that no railroad
watches were actually manufactured in Canada although some were were
marked for Canadian railways. At first English, later American, and
today Swiss, watches have been used in the nearly century-and-a-
half of Canadian railroading. Many of the earlier watches are
still in existance being treasured keepsakes of former railroaders
or their families. These survivors are true railroad artifacts and
well worthy of preservation. Although records say that almost 6000
CoP.R. and C.R.T.S. watches were made they are seldom found today
and one wonders where they are if they still exist. So before you
turn in that old turnip be sure to give it a good examination. It
may well be a genuine and importa nt relic of the great era of rail­
roads in Canada.
OUR 2·I-HoUR W ATCR.
A drawing of a 24-hour watch used by
the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1888.
The C.P.R. was a pioneer of the 24-hour
system, and used this drawing to advertise
this system to passengers.
A pair of C.P.R. Walthams which are not recorded in the official
lists and which present some puzzling features. No. 5,728,976 (top)
bears the name of 5. Porte,S t. 5 tephen N. B. on the dial instead
of the usual Waltham. No. 7,903,986 (bottom) is the same as the
standard C.P.R. watch of the period except it is pendant-set instead
of lever-set. Possibly at that time some railroad service did not
require lever-set watches. Both are Waltham model 1883, and both
have the 24-hour dial and C.P.R. beaver and shield. No. 5,728,976
was made in 1892, while No. 7,903,986 dates from 1897.
(Top: Collection of L.O. Leach, bottom: Collection of the author) •
TAB
L E
CANADIAN
PACIFIC
RAILWAY
WATCHES
REPORTED
IN
WALTHAM
SERIAL
NUMBER
LIST
SERIAL
NUMBER
RANGE
QUANTITY
JEWELS
MODEL
APPROX
YEAR
MADE
7,903,201
7,903,220
*
20 17 1883 1897
10,042,501
10,042,900
400
21
1892 1901
10,082,601
10,082,700
100
21
1892 1901
0 ~
11,072,501
11,073,000
500
17
1883 1902
z ~
12,674,001
12,674,500
**
500 17 1883 1904
0 –
14,
192,001
14,192,200
200 17 1892 1905
~ z
15,024,701
15,025,000
300
17
1892 1907
18,038,201
18,038,400
200 17 1908 1911
II
II
18,064,001
18,064,300
300 17 1892 1912
19,002,201
19,002,400
200 17 1908 1913
~ Co:)
19,086,101
19,086,300
200 17 1892 1913
to
20,000,101
20,000,300
200 17 1892 1914
IIII
20,001
,901

20,002,100
200 17 1908 1914
22,017,601
22,017,700
100 17 1892 1918
22,023,101
22,023,200
100 17 1908 1918
II:
22,066,501

22,066,650
150
17
1908 1918
22,155,801

22,156,000
200 17 1908 1918
22,294,001

22,294,200
200
17
1908 1918
II
r
23,271,001
23,271,500
500 17 1908 1920
TOTAL
FOR
1883
MODEL:
1020.
TOTAL
FOR
1892
MODEL:
1800.
TOTAL
FOR
1908
MODEL:
1750.
GRAND
TOTAL
C.P.R.
:
4570.
The Hamilton Watch Company of Lancaster Pennsylvania started making
watches in 1892, their first model being the Model 936. The one shown
here, No. 6218, is a model 936 and was completed by the factory
on December 12 1894, being shipped to a jeweller on February 27 1895.
Hamilton watches have always been very popular with railroaders. The
4-4-0 locomotive engraved on the back of the case of No. 6218 (no
relation to the C.N. locomotive of that number~) is typical of the
art often found on watch cases of that period.
(Collection of the author).
TAB
L E 2
CANADIAN
RAILWAY
TIME
SERVICE
WATCHES
REPORTED
IN
WALTHAM
SERIAL
NUMBER
LIST
SERIAL
NUMBER
RANGE
UUANTITY
JEWELS
MODEL
APPROX
YEAR
MADE
() l>
15,005,501
15,005,700
200 17 1892 1907
2 l>
15,
11
2,
501
15,112,700
200 17 1892 1907
0 –
18,038,101
18,038,200
100 17 1908 1911
l> 2
18,063,801
18,064,000
200 17 1892 1912
19,002,401
19,002,500
100 17 1908 1913
IIII
19,086,001
19,086,100
100 17 1892 1913
20,000,000
20,000,100
101
17 1892 1914
~ .I>-
20,001,801
20,001,900
100 17 1908
1914-
I-
22,017,501
22,017,600
100 17 1892 1918
IIII
22,023,001
22,023,100
100 17 1908 1918
22,066,651
22,066,700
50
17 1908 1918
22,168,501
22,168,600
100 17 1908 1918
II
:lJ l>
TOTAL
FOR
1883
MODEL:
O.
TOTAL
FOR
1892
MODEL:
90l.
II
r
TOTAL
FOR
1908
MODEL:
550.
GRAND
TOTAL
C.R.T.S.:
1451.
TAB
L E 3
CANADIAN
RAILROAD
WATCHES
KNOWN
TO
EXIST
BUT
NUMBERED
IN
RANGES
SHOWN
BY
WALTHAM
LIST
AS
BEING
OF
OTHER
TYPES
SERIAL
NUMBER
TYPE
CONTAINED
IN
RANGE
MODEL
APPROX
YEAR
5,728,976
CPR
5,728,001
5,729,000
1883 1892
6,008,385
CRTS
6,007,001
6,009,000
1883 1892
7,903,986
CPR
7,903,221
7,904,000
**
*
18
83 1897
8,858,139
CPR
8,857,001
8,858,500
****
1883 1899
9,544,796
CPR
9,544,701
9,544,900
1892 1900
10,058,400
CPR
10,058,001
10,05
8
,500
18
83
1901
NOT
E S
FOR
ALL
TAB
L E S
*
THIS
LOT
PROBABLY
INCLUDES
MORE
THAN
THE
20
WATCHES
IN
THIS
RANGE.
SEE
NOTE
***
BELOW.
**
IN
THIS
RANGE,
NOS.
12,674,121
12,674,126
AND
PROBABLY
MANY
OTHERS
*** ****
ARE
PENDANT-SET
AND
ARE
NOT
C.P.R.
NO.
7,903,986
IS
PENDANT-SET,
UNLIKE
MOST
RAILROAD
WATCHES.
NO.
7,903,714
IS
(OR
WAS)
PROBABLY
ALSO
THE
SAME.
EVIDENTLY
THIS
RANGE
CONTAINS
SOME
PENDANT-SET
C.P.R.
WATCHES
IN
ADDITION
TO
THE
20
LEVER-SET
ONES
IN
THE
SERIES
7,903,201
7,903,220.
ALL
800
OF
BOTH
RANGES
WERE
BASICALLY
THE
SAME
AND
WERE
PROBABLY
PRODUCED
ON
THE
SAME
DAY
AS
PART
OF
THE
SAME
RUN.
THIS
RANGE
IS
OFFICIALLY
SHOWN
AS
BEING
MODEL
1892
ALTHOUGH
NO.
8,858,139
IS
DEFINITELY
MODEL
18
83
WHILE
NO.
8,857,912
IS
MODEL
1892.
HOWEVER
THE
NEXT
RANGE
(8,858,501

8,859,500)
IS
LISTED
AS
MODEL
1883
SIMILAR
TO
THE
C.P.R.
GRADE.
o l> Z l> o l> Z
III ~ 01:>­~ III
: r
CA NAD I AN
243
R A I L
Walthams answer to the new watch standards of the 1890s was the
model 1892, designed from the start for railroad service. Shown
here is No. 7,818,910 which was made in 1897. This watch is used
by the author in regular service and can be depended on to keep
time to within 30 seconds a month, even after 83 years service, a
tribute to the workmanship of those days. (Photo by the author).
NOTES ON THE DATING OF WATCHES
It is quite difficult to tell the EXACT date of a watch, since this
is seldom indicated on the movement. Furthermore, the case may well not
be the original since watches were often re-cased at some later date.
In the case of many American pocket watches this is not serious since
the watch factory only supplied the movement, and the buyer selected the
movement and case separately at the time of purchase. In the examples
shown here the cases are of the same period as the movement and may be
the original ones.
The serial number lists which exist for Waltham, Elgin, Hamilton
and others indicate the type but not the exact date, however tables have
been made which, though unofficial, are accurate to within a year or two,
and these have been used in this article. The only exact official date
found for any watch in this article was that for Hamilton No. 6218.
Here the Hamilton records indicated that the watch was completed on December 12
1894 and shipped to the retail jeweller on February 27 1895,
but this applies only to the movement and not the case.
CANADIAN
244
R A I L
Another pair of wotches which are somewhat puzzling. Nos. 12,674,121
and 12,674,126 are supposed to be C.P.R. Walthams but are not, as
can be seen. In fact one does not even have the 24-hour dial~ Both
are model 1883, and were made in 1904.
Two Waltham model 1892 watches made for service on Canadian Railways.
Top is No. 20,000,132 produced in 1914 for the C.P.R. while bottom we
see No. 19,086,086 mqde for Canadian Railway Time Service in 1913.
Note the C.P.R. beaver and shield on the top one, while the bottom
one shows the C.R.T.S. inscription quite clearly.
(Collection of L.O. Leach).
CANADIAN 246 R A I L
For the earlier English-made watches the story is somewhat different.
Here there are few date tables existing due to the lack of records on the
ma~y sm~ll manufacturers. However, the cases here are usually original,
belng fltted when the watch was made and stamped with the same number as
the movement. Since most cases were sterling silver, they were stamped
with the official government hallmark, and, since this mark was changed
every year, it is possible to date the case, and thus the watch to
within one year. . . ,
AUT H 0 R I S NOT E
The author would like to thank all who helped in supplying infor­
mation for this article. Special thanks go to those who allowed me to
photograph watches in their possession, thus providing illustrations
without which the story would have been much less interesting.
The author would much appreciate hearing of any C.P.R. or C.R.T.S.
watches with serial numbers not reported above, as well as watches in
the reported ranges which are not C.P.R. or C.R.T.S. This would help to
clear up the rather complicated numbering systems used, and help towards
the compiling of a more complete roster. The information required is
the name and serial number stamped on the back plate of the movement
(note that this is not the number on the case), the name on the dial,
The major watch companies started manufacturing a smaller size watch
(known as 16-size) for railroad service as early as 1899. However
no distinctly Canadian 16-size watches appeared until 1911 when
Waltham began to make both C.P.R. and C.R.T.S. watches of their
model 1908, which was very similar to their model 1899. No. 22,294,005
is a model 1908 C.P.R. Waltham produced in 1918, only two years before
C.P.R.-marked watches were discontinued. No watches smaller than
16-size were made for railroad service during the pocket-watch era,
but this size is now the only pocket watch size presently approved fa:
railroad service.
CANADIAN
247
R A I L
whether the watch is lever-set or pendant-set, and, if possible, the
model of the watch. The latter can be found by comparing to the photos
in this article. The type of case would also be useful to know although
the case number is not related to the movement number. At present, the
only C.P.R. or C.R.T.S. watches known are made by Waltham and are of
models 1883, 1892, and 1908. Any further information would be very
welcome as there are bound to be more surprises in the complex story of
Canadian railroad watches.
NOTE ON MATFRIAL USED FOR WATCHES
Expressions such asGo1d Watch tend to be misleading, as this refers
only to the case and not to the movement. The usual material used
for watch movements until the 1880s was gilt brass. After about
1888 most railroad-grade watches were made of nickel or nickel-alloy,
although some lower grades continued to use gilt brass until about
1920. All post 1888 watches illustrated here have nickel movements.
A more recent railroad watch design, Elgin No. 30,366,448 was made
in 1927, but is still capable of passing railroad inspection. Note
that the grade name B.W. Raymond, introduced in 1867 and shown on No.
2042, is still used. The numerals 13 to 24 are on the inside of
the watch crystal to adapt it for Canadian service. (C. De Jean).
The final development of the railroad pocket watch in Canada is
exemplified by swiss-made Zenith No. 4,732,118, made about 1960.
Watches of this type are still regularly in service, but most new
railroad watches are now the wrist type. (C. De Jean).
The acquisition
of Saint .John
street cars
by JimSulis
Following the end of the Second World War, it became evident
that the street railway systems of North America were considered
to be inefficient in view of the popularity and apparant ease of
becoming the owner of an automobile. In preparation for the obvious
increase of motor vehicles, serious consideration was given to
discontinuing street railway service. Such was the case in Saint
John N.B. and in 1947 a local company, which had been operating
the inter-city bus routes in New Brunswick, decided to enlarge
their system by applying for the franchise of bus transportation
in the port city. It was an odd, but common, sight to see former
street car motormen taking bus-driving training in the city while
a few of the street cars still operated.
Time was when the little 130-class cars were new, and that was the
time when the photographer took this photo of No. 144, fresh out
of the shop, in 1929. (N.B. Hydroelectric Power Commission).
A car of the 130-class on Saint Johns famed King Street hill
on June 28 1947. The old Royal Hotel and M.R.A. s department
store, seen in the background, fell victim to the wreckers
in 1973. (Photo by A. Clegg).
CANADIAN
250
R A I L
Eventually the old New Brunswick Power Company lost the
franchise, and on Saturday, August 7 1948 the last run of a street
car in New Brunswick took place. The last run was made by car 142,
and when it completed this run it was the end of street car service
which had begun in Saint John in 1869.
After the demise of the street railway, the disposition of the
cars was in order. When all salvageable valuables had been removed
the bodies were put up for sale. Their final destination was varied.
Two (car 80 and a 106-class car) were used as change houses at
Gondola Point, outside Saint John. Two others (of the 106-class)
were joined side-by-side to provide housing for a family at Prince
Of Wales. One (122) is visible as an integral part of a canteen in
the western outskirts of the city. One (106-class) was used by an
elderly man to house his tools etc. Car 130 was burned, while 140 was
abandoned at a place called Five Fathom Hole; even a snow plow
served a relatively poor family in the area of the airport.
Nine of the cars, however, were obtained by Dexter Construction
Cpmpany and placed side-by-side to provide storage space for tools
and the like. Of these nine, eight (132,134,136,138,142,144,
146, 148) were of the 130-class built locally between 1925 and 1929,
while one (No. 116) was built by the Tillsonburg Electric Car Co.
in Tillsonburg Ontario in 1914.
When, early in 1980, interest was shown by a small group in an
effort to obtain the cars, an association was formed which became a
part of the national body of the Canadian Railroad Historical Assn.
Some of the members were interested in the steam era, and others
in rehabilitating a street car for exhibition.
When Dexters ceased operation in Saint John, their Halifax
office was contacted by Jim Sulis to see if they would consider
donating one or all of the cars to the street railway division. The
foreman, Lou Adshade, gave Jim permission to remove all the light
fixtures to prevent their loss to possible vandals. Unfortunately,
before negotiations could be finalized, cars 136 and 142 (the latter
having been the last car to operate) were destroyed by bulldozers
grading the area. Abel Bastarache just happened to look in on the
Car 80 and an unidentified 106-class car are shown here in
1948 doing duty as changing rooms at Gondola Point beach.
These cars were burned about 1951. (Photo by Fred Angus).
Two 106-class cars, built originally by Tillsonburg in 1914, are
seen here converted into a house at Prince Of Wales N.B.
(Collection of R.D. Thomas).
The nine cars at Dexters as they appeared soon after they
were placed there in 1948. The two cars nearest the camera
are Nos. 142 and 136 which were destroyed last winter.
The scene at Dexters at 6:45 A.M. on Saturday June 7 1980
just before the big move got under way. The car nearest the
camera is No. 144, the others being 146,116,134,148,
132,138. (Photo by R.D. Thomas).
CANADIAN
252
R A I L
cars and stopped the operators from damaging the rest. On March 20
1980, Dexter Construction confirmed that they were donating the
remaining bodies to the Street Railway Division on condition that
they be removed from the property as soon as possible.
In mid-J une, the Street Railway Division became part of the
New Brunswick Division (#16) of the Canadian Railroad Historical
Association.
While we were trying to locate alternative accomodations,
Jim Brown, Abel Bastarache, Gordon Sulis, and Jim Sulis removed
all the loose glass windows and miscellaneous fixtures to prevent
damage during transit. Finally, after being offered two sites by
the city and their cancelling the same before we could accept, and
refusals from two private concerns, we were, through John Pollards
intercession, given the use of a part of Mackay Forest Products
Limited lumber yard. With the assistance of Ken Harrington, J.D.
Irving Equipment Division were persuaded to donate the use of a
25-ton mobile crane,with tractor and float, for the move.
On Saturday, June 7 1980, a crew comprising: Dyson Thomas
(our division photographer), Jim Brown, Gordon Sulis, Abel Bastarache
K~n Harrington, and Jim Sulis were on hand prior to the cranes
arrival at 8:00 A.M. to assist the operators in moving. Charles
Brown, Ron Farquharson, Mitty Robson, and Byron Thomas arrived
shortly thereafter.
The interior of one of the 130-class cars just before being
moved. The interior framing is visible and appears to be in
good condition. (Photo by R.D. Thomas).
CANADIAN
253
R A I L
No. 134 is carefully lifted. Note the rub-rail at the
bottom of the side to protect the car when in traffic.
This car is in the best condition, and restoration will
start with it. (Photo by R.D. Thomas).
A lunch break sees (left to right) Abel Bastarache,
Gordon Sulis, M.L. Robson. (Photo by R.D. Thomas).
Tillsonburg-built No. 116, the oldest car in the lot (1914)
is placed on the flat-bed. (Photo by R.D. Thomas).
Car 144 is safely loaded
first move in 32 years.
on the float and tied down for its
(Photo by R.D. Thomas).
-•
,
Cor 144 was transported to the new site first, then cars 134, 146,
116, 148, 132. Jill! Brown and Jim Sulis left with the fint load
to assist the two drivers of the fork-lifts, offered by Halcolm
Hackay, in unloading and placing the cars on blocking. The move was
completed by 3:20 P.M. Car 138 hod to be left behind due to its
location under power wires and general poor condition, the dozers
having sheared off the end of it. It was stripped of usoble parts.
Presently we are stripping car 146 for usable wood, and os on
educotion in the cors original construction, since the floor hallie
a,sembl~ was not fit for renovation. The other cars are being secured
by C10S19 in doors ond windows. The concenlus is thot cor No. 134
is in the belt condition for restoring as our first undertoking.
THE MOVE C BACK COVER
Bock in 1939, operator Joseph Needham stood proudly in front of
Saint John street cor No. 106 which carried decorations for the
visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to Canada. This month
Elizabeth, now the Queen Mother, celebrates her 80th birthday.
JOleph Needham drove the lost car to run in Saint John in 1948,
and car 106 is long gone. However lister car, No. 116, has just
been saved by the New Brunswick Diviaian of the C.R.H.A.
(Photo fro~ the collection of R.D. Tho~os).

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