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Bishop, J. Leander (John Leander), 1820-1868 / A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 : exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution : and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census
Volume 3 (1868)

Manufactures of Boston,   pp. 276-312 ff.

Page 294

in making tools to supplant those which are slightly worn, as well as
new tools, which are required in a constantly increasing business.
One distinguishing feature of American made Watches is the simplicity
of their construction. The fusee and chain, which are found in all English
Watches, are dispensed with, the motive power being applied direct,
and not dissipated amid a useless complication of machinery. In
some foreign Watches there are as many as six hundred different parts,
rendering them a perfect labyrinth of cogs and wheels, and this com-
plexity of construction necessarily increases their liability to derange-
ment, which, in the American Watch, is lessened two thirds, and the
friction at least one half. Another distinguishing feature which is a
necessary result of the mode of manufacture, and which was adopted
at the beginning, is the perfect uniformity of parts, by which every
Watch of the same class is a duplicate of every other. The European
practice of Watchmaking is, to give a few wheels to one workman, a
few pinions to another, who fashion them without any uniform guide
except experience and manual dexterity, hence, the parts are very
rarely interchangeable. In the American manufactories, on the con-
trary, a large number, say five thousand of the different parts, are
wrought by machines in separate departments, and finished in detail, and
the pieces are then taken indiscriminately from the several apartments
to what in a Locomotive building would be called the " Erecting
Shop," where they are put together and adjusted, and being made by an
unvarying rule, they cannot fail, unless the machines are imperfect, to
fit correctly and accurately. Hence, one result of this perfect cor-
respondence of parts is, that if any one be lost or broken by accident, a
duplicate can be obtained from the factory at slight cost, by letter, and
any watchmaker can adjust it in its place; thus the great difficulty and
expense which attend the repairing of other Watches are avoided.
But, besides these advantages which the Howard Watches have, in
common with other American Watches, they have some peculiar to
themselves, and secured by patent. One is an arrangement by which
the manufacturer is enabled to use a longer and wider main spring than
can be employed in the usual way, apply a series of finer toothed
wheels and pinions producing an easy and uniform action, and at the
same time they are protected from damage by the violent recoil caused
by the very common accident of the breakage of the main spring. A
main spring may break in these Watches, but the other parts cannot be
injured thereby. The Stop works, too, are secured on the bridge or
plate of the Watch, on which the force in winding is exerted, and thus
the train is relieved from all extra strain, while in Watches where the
Stop works are placed on the barrel, the force of winding is applied on

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