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However, the former Illinois Watch by then was an incubator of other firms. Lanphier, and Ludwig Gutmann incorporated the Sangamo Electric Company as a subsidiary of Illinois Watch Co. Although designated as a separate company, Sangamo Electric at first used watch company facilities, equipment and personnel, and for the first three years was referred to as the watch company’s “meter department.” Fred Coats, who apprenticed at the Illinois Watch Co., went on to found his own watch-making equipment firms and later made automobile parts and accessories; the Coats firm became part of the John W. The observatory equipment was sold, with one of the telescopes going to Bradley University in Peoria.

That telescope was eventually acquired by a local astronomical society, which restored it, and it is still in regular use in an observatory in a park there.

Lincoln, were guaranteed to be accurate within 30 seconds a week whether they were lying on their backs or their faces, standing upright or upside down and at temperatures from nearly freezing to almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit — one reason polar explorer Roald Amundsen carried an Illinois watch on one of his expeditions to the Arctic.

In about 1914, the company stopped producing anything but high-quality watches, watches with a minimum of 17 jeweled bearings.

Raymond, purchased an abandoned farm 30 miles north of Chicago and built a watch factory there.

After a year of designing and building the lathes and machines to achieve seemingly impossible levels of precision, a team of watchmakers and mechanical engineers produced their first pocket watch movement, named for mayor “B. Raymond.” The watch was exquisite: Elgin National Watch Company was born.

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The Springfield plant was closed, having made nearly six million watches in its 61 years of existence. bought the factory site and razed the old watch company buildings.

For a half-century, Springfield’s Illinois Watch Company was a nationally respected maker of timepieces.



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