Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Watchworks and Clockworks

Collection ID:
Warshaw, Isadore, 1900-1969
Physical Description:
2.98 Cubic feet
consisting of 3.5 boxes, 1 folder, 5 oversize folders, 2 map case folders, 3 flat boxes (partial).
A New York bookseller, Warshaw assembled this collection over nearly fifty years. The Warshaw Collection of Business Americana: Watchworks and Clockworks forms part of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Subseries 1.1: Subject Categories. The Subject Categories subseries is divided into 470 subject categories based on those created by Mr. Warshaw. These subject categories include topical subjects, types or forms of material, people, organizations, historical events, and other categories. An overview to the entire Warshaw collection is available here: Warshaw Collection of Business Americana

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This material consists primarily of printed advertisements, illustrated catalogues, scattered correspondence on letterhead stationery, bills/receipts, order forms, premiums, price lists, calendars, almanacs, patents and trademarks, from manufacturers, importers and dealers of instruments for measuring time. Most of the devices are watches and clocks but it also includes chronometers, regulators, and analemmas. There are a number of items from the 1893 Columbia World's Fair. The bulk of the material is late nineteenth century.
The different types of clocks includes banjo, grandfather, grandmother, electric regulator, alarm, hall, traveling, tower, window, mantel, swinging and cuckoo clocks. Unusual clocks were the Strasburgh and Engle clock. The clocks are made of various materials including brass, wood, nickel, polished veneer, ebonized cased, bronze and copper. The earliest manufactured clock included in this material is a clock-lamp made by J, Walker in 1731. This clock was said to display the hours of the night making it useful as a clock and a candle. The clocks were manufactured to be used in railroad stations, banks, schools, factories, ships, dwellings, churches, offices, the home and stores.
There is some material from companies that cleaned and repaired timing devices. A number of companies just sold materials for manufacturing watches including faces, bells, bobscrews, dials, hands, keyes, rods, springs, tablets, verges, washers, sashes, and Other companies sold tools for watch manufacturers including lathes, benches for lathes, chucks, Accessories were also sold including chains, fobs and cases.
The companies tended to sell other products such as diamonds, cameos, jewelry, music boxes, Japan ware, cutlery, Silverware, spectacles, eye and opera glasses, pencil cases
Catalogues often included historical information on watch makers particularly pioneers in the field, factories, how clocks are manufacture red and marketing strategies.
Publications on topics such as "Timetaking and timekeeping an illustrated booklet published in the interest of correcting the erroneous ideas prevalent in regard to the correct maintenance of standard time.
Materials are organized alphabetically by name of company. There are some folders of material arranged by type including general images, timetables, patents, journals, pamphlets, books and articles.

Vanessa Broussard-Simmons and Nicole Blechynden
Funding for partial processing of the collection was supported by a grant from the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund (CCPF).
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
Watchworks and Clockworks is a portion of the Business Ephemera Series of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Accession AC0060 purchased from Isadore Warshaw in 1967. Warshaw continued to accumulate similar material until his death, which was donated in 1971 by his widow, Augusta. For a period after acquisition, related materials from other sources (of mixed provenance) were added to the collection so there may be content produced or published after Warshaw's death in 1969. This practice has since ceased.
Processing Information
In 2016, with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund, the Archives Center at the National Museum of American History implemented the use of minimal level processing standards to increase information about and facilitate access to more of our collections.
A large portion of stored material from the original acquisition received minimal level processing, which resulted in additions to this Subject category. This effort included basic arrangement and replacement of non-archival housing for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed. Revisions to the encoded finding aid were made to reflect the added content in context to the previously processed material.
Minimal level processing and enhancement of the machine-readable finding aid completed by Nicole Blechynden, September 2017.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access note
Collection is open for research. Some items may be restricted due to fragile condition.
Preferred Citation note
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Watchworks and Clockworks, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Use note
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Materials in the Archives Center
Materials in the Archives Center
Archives Center Collection of Business Americana (AC0404)

Forms Part Of

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Business ephemera Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ephemera Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012