Hamilton Watch Company Records, 1867-1961, and undated
Hamilton Watch Company
Bowman Technical School Lancaster, Pa
Swatch Group, Inc
Burlington Watch Co
Dudley Watch Co
Elgin National Watch Co
6.5 cu. ft. : 9 boxes
1867-1961, and undated
Lancaster, Pennsylvania watch company, founded in 1892. Its first series of pocket watches, "The Broadway Limited," was especially popular among railroad workers because of the watches' precision and reliability. The company introduced its first wristwatch in 1917. During World War II, the company retooled for war work, producing wristwatches and chronometers for the armed forces. Over the years, the company acquired smaller firms and entered into joint partnerships with others. In 1969 it closed down its Lancaster plant and shifted its operations to a factory in Buren, Switzerland. Currently the Hamilton brand name is owned by Swatch Group, Inc.
Over 700 photographs depicting the company's manufacturing facilities during 1932-1954, drawn from Hamilton's official photographic files. Almost all of the prints are captioned. The photographs are arranged according to section of the plant. Many depict manufacturing and assembly activities, while others depict the company's research and development departments. While most of the company's war work involved the production of watches for the armed forces, one set of prints documents the company's activity in fuse assembly for bombs.
2009 addendum: Approximately 1/2 cubic foot of archival materials relating to the Hamilton Watch Company, including annual reports; wholesale and retail price lists; jobbers' and wholesale distributor lists; export lists; accounting records; employee information; brochures for gifts, holidays, Christmas, birthdays, sports, etc.; sales promotions for pocket and wrist watches; blueprints; and dealer books.
2010 addendum: Approximately two cubic feet of diverse archival materials, relating to the Hamilton Watch Company as well as Burlington Watch Company, Elgin Watch Company and to clocks and watches in general. Included are: Advertising materials including catalogs and print advertising; business records such as correspondence, annual reports and an appraisal of the Dudley Watch Company factory; two scrapbooks of articles and clippings on horological subjects; design notebooks; postcards, mostly depicting watch and clock factories, especially Hamilton and Elgin; lantern slides; and publications such as newsletters, exhibition catalogs, a self-published encyclopedia on horological subjects; and an 1828 issue of the Franklin Journal, containing an article about clocks and watches.
2014 addendum: business correspondence to the Hamilton Watch Co., 1867-1869; advertising ephemera on Hamilton and a small amount for other watch companies; catalogs, price lists and trade literature for Hamilton and other watch companies; three volumes of company newsletters, 1945-1950; internal company publications such as employee handbooks; a catalog of "War Timepieces" and chronometers printed during World War II.
2015 addendum contains catalogs of watches and parts from Hamilton and other watchmakers, 1909-1961; booklets, flyers and manuals relating to watches; company business papers, 1910s-1920s; and three notebooks from the Bowman Watch School, n.d..
Hamilton Watch Company Records, 1867-1961, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Clocks and watches
World War, 1939-1945--Industries
2008.3003 (NMAH Acc.)
2009.3100 (NMAH Acc.)
2010.3101 (NMAH Acc.)
2014.3122 (NMAH Acc.)
2016.3007 (NMAH Acc.)
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves