The company bought an old sawmill on the corner of Bridge and Marine Streets in Plymouth Hollow in 1865, raising the roof and adding a giant clock tower over the stairwell. It was here that Seth Thomas Sons & Co was incorporated, and it was here that the huge addition for the new watch factory would be built 20 years later.
The building was used for clock-making after World War I, and was demolished around 1935.
The Models 6 and 7 - the Eagle Series - are marketed as lower-cost versions of the Models 2 and 3.
Higginbotham leaves for the Illinois Watch Co post, and the final runs of the Model 2 are produced.
Higginbotham is awarded a patent for a new stem-setting mechanism, leading to the Model 5 as the company's first full-plate open-face watch.
The Model 5 is launched as Seth Thomas's flagship railroad pocket watch.
The two-tone M5 Maiden Lane arrives as Seth Thomas's highest grade, named after the firm's New York office. A 17-jewel variant costs $25.00.
Research Your Watch
Learn more about your Seth Thomas pocket watch, including grade assignment, run totals, production dates, jewel counts, which catalogs they appeared in, the patents that covered them, and who was running the factory at the time.
SETH THOMAS RESEARCH
The Centennial Series is announced to commemorate Seth Thomas's 100th anniversary in a last effort to revive their fading watch industry.
Welcome to the Seth Thomas Research website, which was created to help collectors learn about their pocket watches in all of the 24 known models.
The goal of the Research site is to essentially reconstruct the factory's entire output for the 30 years that pocket watches were in production, since very little is known about that aspect of the company.
This website is maintained by American Timekeeper, specializing in heirloom pocket watch restoration.
The key-wound Model 4 and the Old Eagle Series are both discontinued.
The Model 8 and 9 New Eagle Series is launched at a price of $3.00 each as the company's response to mass-produced low-cost "dollar" watches.
The 0-size Model 20 is introduced as the company's first wristwatch, complete with a factory strap.
The Watch Factory
Seth E Thomas
1785 - 1859
Seth Edward Thomas was born just after the Revolutionary War, in 1785, in Wolcott, Connecticut. He apprenticed under Eli Terry as a clock-maker at the age of 22, eventually buying his employer out and moving a few miles away to Plymouth Hollow. There he set up his own clock business in 1813, making both tall clocks and mantle clocks with brass movements until his death in 1859.
It was his son Aaron that took over the business, and it was his grandson, Seth E. Thomas Jr, who would push the company to start making pocket watches a quarter of a century later, in 1883.
Charles T Higginbotham, master watchmaker at the Hampden Watch Co, succeeds Reinecke and the factory designs several new 18-size watches to replace the Model 1. Higginbotham, born in Ireland in 1840 and a Civil War veteran, would eventually become superintendent of the Illinois Watch Co.
The Model 2 goes into production, Seth Thomas's first hunting movement. Higginbotham receives a patent for his improved mainspring T-end brace.
Herman Reinecke is hired away from local rival Waterbury Watch Co to design the gilt Model 1, Seth Thomas's debut 18-size open-face watch, and is awarded two patents the following year.
The stem-wound 11-jewel Model 1 is marketed to the public for the first time at a price of $10.00.
The Company Timeline
The Model 3 succeeds the Model 1 as the factory's 18-size open-face watch, starting at SN 10901.
The male-stemmed hunting-configured 6-size Model 14 is released as the firm's first ladies' watch.
The Total Production
Despite period advertising at the time, the total factory output in all sizes and models appears to be a little under two million in all models and sizes. Large gaps are appearing in the known serial number ranges of reported examples. Click here for the Master Serial Number Chart for all the known run blocks in numerical order.