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W. D. Heath Pocket Watch Story "Click" to Login or Register 
posted
While shopping at a Salt Lake City, Ut. pawn shop, I purchased a private label pocket watch.
The checkerboard damaskeening really caught my eye, so I ignored the dial chip at the seconds chapter.
It is an 18 size-17 jewel-ILLINOIS-Private Label W.D. Heath marked on the dial and movement
-Chalmers Patented Regulator-S/N 1192739-
ca 1893.
Case is not original to the movement.

Now, here is where this story really starts!

On October 22, 2003 13:40 I posted two pictures of this watch to the
IHC 185 "TIMEKEEPERS PHOTO GALLERY". using the following title.

18S ILLINOIS PRIVATE LABEL (Check this one out!!)

Phil Dellinger
IHC Member 140
posted October 22, 2003 13:40
18 Size - 17 Jewel - ILLINOIS - Private Label - W. D. Heath Lakeport N.H. - Chalmers Patented Regulator
- S/N 1192739 -
ca 1893. Case is not original to this movement.

Question: Can this dial be repaired? (Note: Picture will be seen later to save space)

Phil Dellinger
NAWCC# 157070
IHC Life Member (L12)

------------------------------------------------

David Johnson
IHC Member 169
posted October 22, 2003 14:44
INTERESTING!!!!!

Phil,

Compare your watch with one I am currently running on eBay:

(Note: eBay link removed because it is no longer a valid auction) Dave's auction was for an 18 size ILLINOIS
pocket watch with exactly the SAME PRIVATE LABEL!!

When I first listed this watch, I suspected it may have been a Railroad inspectors watch as they tended to have
nicer dials and movements in them. I am not so sure this is the case now. Do you have any info on who this was?

David Johnson aka "Doc"
NAWCC Member #155016
IHC Member #169
HisLove1Me! (just ask!)
Posts: 380 | From: Dade City, Florida USA | Registered: December 12, 2002
------------------------------------------------
Phil Dellinger
IHC Member 140
posted October 22, 2003 15:09
Doc,

How unusual that we have watches so close together with the same private label. Serial numbers are only
5 away from each other!!
Yours: 1192744 Mine: 1192739


The reference that I am using shows that the serial numbers are in the run of 1192701-1192800 for
the year of 1893.

I bought my watch at a local pawn shop in SLC a few years ago because I was facinated with the beautiful
checkerboard movement.
Sorry, I don't have any further information on the watch.

Phil Dellinger
NAWCC# 157070
IHC Life Member (L12)
------------------------------------------------
Ed Ueberall
RR Watch Expert
posted October 22, 2003 17:11
According to the database that Kent Singer and I keep, some years ago there was a listing for a Hamilton
Grade 926, S/N 40943, with "W.D. Heath Lakeport, N.H." on the movement and
"W.D. Heath Special for Railway Service" on the dial.
This might butress Doc's theory that Heath was a railroad inspector.

Ed Ueberall
NAWCC 49688
IHC Member 34
The Escapement
Posts: 288 | From: Pooler, Georgia USA | Registered: November 23, 2002

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, needless to say, I used the "Buy It Now" feature for Dave Johnson's eBay auction,
and bought my second W. D. Heath Illinois pocketwatch!


As noted earlier, the s/n for the SLC watch is 1192739, and the one that I purchased from Dave,
is 1192744 (only 5 numbers separate these watches, how cool is that?)
 
Posts: 994 | Registered: November 22, 2002
posted
By now my curiousity had the best of me and I just had to find out more about this W. D. Heath fellow! After many hours of internet searching, and a few telephone calls later, I was finally in contact with a Mr. Warren D. Huse of the Laconian Historical Society and Museum please notice that this gentleman has exactly the same initials in his name as W. D. Heath!! Coincidence? I hardly think so! (Lakeport NH is one of three principal neighborhoods within the city of Laconia.) Mr. Huse was most helpful and suggested that I might want to purchase a book called "The Illustrated Laconian", which tells about the local neighborhoods of Laconia, of which Lakeport is a part.
Here is the letter that I received from Mr. Warren Huse.

 
Posts: 994 | Registered: November 22, 2002
posted
I did order the book as suggested, and here is the text from THE ILLUSTRATED LACONIAN about W. D. Heath. I typed it here exactly as it appears in the book to save file size on the picture, and make it much easier for reading.

W. D. Heath's Jewelry Store

The jewelry store of W.D. Heath at Lakeport was established in 1890, at that time occupying one side of the clothing store of Waldo H. Jones, in the Osgood block on Union Avenue, then Main Street. The jewelry store was at first something in the nature of an experiment, but finding that a successful business could be carried on in this place, Mr. Heath added musical instruments to his stock, and then put in a line of bicycles. He finally found his space in the store too small for his increasing trade and larger stock, and to remedy this lack of room he purchased the clothing stock of Mr. Jones and remodeled the entire premises.
Mr. Heath now occupies the entire store, which is twenty by fifty-five feet, and equipped with fine modern fixtures. He carries a large stock of watches, diamonds, clocks, silverware, jewelery, musical goods, bicycles, etc. The Heath jewelry store has won a reputation for reliable goods and square dealing, and secured constantly-increasing patronage.
Mr. W. D. Heath was born in Groton, VT., and learned the jewelry and watch business with A. J. Stone of Montpelier, VT., after which he worked as a journeyman in Waltham, Mass., with an English watchmaker, and there attended the Waltham Horological School.
After attending this school, he secured a position as watchmaker with J. R. Murdock of Woodstock Vt., where he was employed four years, then he was with E. E. Cheney at Nashua, N.H., until he came to this city and engaged in business for himself.
Mr. Heath is a member of Chocorua Lodge, No. 51, I. O. O. F., of Endicott Rock Lodge, Knights of Pythias, and Hannah Frances Lodge, Degree of Rebekah.
He married Maud Fuller, daughter of A. E. Fuller of Woodstock, VT., in 1888. They have one son, Lewis Heath.

 
Posts: 994 | Registered: November 22, 2002
posted
Map of Laconia and Lakeport N.H.

 
Posts: 994 | Registered: November 22, 2002
posted
Postcard of Lakeport RR Depot. (building no longer exists)

 
Posts: 994 | Registered: November 22, 2002
posted
SLC Pawn Shop Discovery

 
Posts: 994 | Registered: November 22, 2002
posted
eBay watch from Dave Johnson

 
Posts: 994 | Registered: November 22, 2002
posted
What fun it has been putting this collection together!

To think that these watches could possibly be somewhere in the store picture. They are now safely together in this display box along with "The Illustrated Laconian" book , which tells a little about W. D. Heath and his jewelry store.

As Paul Harvey says, " And, now we know the rest of the story!! "

 
Posts: 994 | Registered: November 22, 2002
IHC Member 107
Picture of Brian C.
posted
Great story and display Phil. I really enjoyed it.
Brian C.
 
Posts: 1848 | Location: Epsom, New Hampshire USA | Registered: December 14, 2002
IHC Member 234
Picture of Jim Cope
posted
...a fascinating tale Phil...really enjoyed following the 'unravelling'...knowing the 'provenance' of these timepieces brings a dimension to their history which, in my view, is so very important and adds so much to their intrinsic value...thanks for your efforts!...


Jim
IHC#234
 
Posts: 873 | Location: Kingsville, Ontario, Canada | Registered: April 16, 2003
Picture of David Johnson
posted
Great work Phil! I have been anxiously waiting to see the completed project. It has to be very rewarding to see the benefit of your research and efforts come to fruition.

I am still amazed out how the odds were beat in bringing these two watches together. Think about it..............These watches were sold nearly a century ago and went their seperate ways into no telling how many different hands. After all these years, you wind up with one and I the other. I list mine on eBay totally unknown to you. You bring up yours for discussion on this site. We both being memebers of chapter 185 completes the link and finally wham, the connection is made. It's like reuniting to long lost brothers. Too cool!

I'm happy for you my friend and thrilled that you were able to acquire this piece.
 
Posts: 606 | Location: Dade City, Florida USA | Registered: December 12, 2002
posted
Good looking watches and great story! Smile

I have seen the Heath name on PL Illinois in the 1.2 and 1.3 million serial range as well, also on grade 65's. Looks like he was very happy with and liked this particular Illinois grade.

Fred
 
Posts: 2020 | Registered: December 31, 2002
Picture of Carlos Flores
posted
Phil,
I too enjoyed very much the story both on the watches, watchmaker and your investigative report Roll Eyes bravo for the hard work!
 
Posts: 326 | Location: Near Mexico City, Mexico | Registered: July 05, 2003
Picture of Ted Steuernagel
posted
Phil, What a great story the history is great, If we work hard enough we can make these watches talk to us.
 
Posts: 335 | Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A. | Registered: November 23, 2002
Picture of Tom Seymour
posted
Great work Phil!! A very interesting story.


Tom
 
Posts: 2537 | Location: Mount Angel, Oregon in the U.S.A. | Registered: November 19, 2002
posted
Great story and great watches Phil, very interesting the watches getting separated and now 2 people who know each other have the watches now.
 
Posts: 2133 | Registered: June 01, 2003
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