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Silver Pocket Watch Cases and Their Development
Silveroid, American ingenuity, resourcefulness and beauty.

- from an article by Terry Nelson, Antique Watch Repair Service




Waltham Santa Fe Route 18
17 Jewel Silver Pocket Watch

This great watch was manufactured by Waltham for the Santa Fe Route rail road. This watch is rather rare for several reasons. Very few of these were actually produced, and this one was made in 1896, two years after the Santa Fe Route discontinued using their famous Soap Bar Herald that was used from 1888 to 1894.

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The American Railroad was the second most influential contribution to the advancement of our early nation. Our county's founding papers were first. The Railroad linked the industrialized east with the growing west. The keeping of time went hand and glove with the railroad. For safety reasons it was vital to know when a heavy loaded and fast moving train was to be on a certain stretch of track. The American Waltham pocket watch and the telegraph working together brought the standard of time, that made rail transportation safer and dependable. Soon as American watch factories perfected their manufacturing and marketing process, these prized mechanical wonders were attainable to the commoner and railroad man alike. While their protective gold cases were beautiful works of art, gold was soft and expensive. Coin silver though beautiful and more affordable than gold, was also sometimes too soft for the rugged demands placed on a pocket watch case. An alloy was developed specifically to meet the needs of the American pocket watch case that answer the question of durably and affordability. This combination of 45% nickel, 54% copper and 1% manganese was called silveroid, silverore, silverode or silverine. It was easy to polish, very hard and looked just like coin silver.

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The early American pocket watch is prized for it's beauty and function. These watches bring very high prices today, and an American pocket watch in great condition with a coin silver case is considered rare and collectable. During lean economic times, silver was substituted for the very affordable silveroid, yet rightfully, the remaining silver cased American pocket watches will always hold their collectability and high value.

- from an article by T. Nelson, Antique Watch Repair Service

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