Silver Pocket Watch Cases and their Development

Next to the country’s founding papers, the American Railroad was the most influential contributor towards the advancement of the country. The linking of the industrialized East with the West took place because of the railroad.

With the railroad in place, keeping time was crucial during this period. It was extremely important that the travel times of heavy loaded and also fast moving trains were monitored and kept track of at all times. Waltham, an American pocket watch and the working of the telegraph both together introduced the standard of time. This development helped keep the railroads safe and dependable, making rail transport more popular.

American watch factories, once they perfected their processes of manufacturing and marketing, these beautiful, mechanical wonders were available for purchase to everyone; be it a man working on the railroad or even a commoner. Pocket watches needed cases to protect them.

Beautiful, decorative gold cases were first produced, which could be likened to works of art. However, gold while being prohibitively expensive, was also soft and thus, not durable. Another raw material used to produce pocket watch cases was coin silver – which was also quite beautiful, but still not hardy enough to withstand the ruggedness of its users and their working environment. Therefore, to improve on durability and affordability, an alloy was developed to meet the rugged needs of the users of American pocket watches. The alloy consisted of a fusion of nickel (45%), copper (54%) and manganese (1%). This combination was referred to as silver ore, silveroid, silverine or silverode. While being easy to polish, it was quite hardy and looked similar to coin silver.