As the story goes, this watch was donated in 1969 when it fell off its chain into the bison exhibit here in the museum. Apparently, the watch wanted to join the bison as a part of the exhibit! Fortunately for the watch, the curator at the time, Donald Duncan, suggested it be donated after its fall. The watch, owned by Chester Rasek, fell while he was painting the walls in the Amick gallery. Rasek was an employee of the city for over 21 years and now has a small part of his history here in the museum.
The watch was made by the E. Ingraham Company, likely sometime in the 1960s. This watch is what is known as a “dollar watch”. It was a low-cost watch that could be sold in high volume. They were usually simple in design with little to no decorations such as jewels. It would often be more expensive to repair the watch than to simply buy a new one when it no longer worked.
The E. Ingraham Company was a family-owned manufacturer of clocks and watches from its founding in 1831 until it was sold to the McGraw Edison Company in 1967. The headquarters and plants were located in Bristol, Connecticut. The company was begun in 1831 when Elias Ingraham opened a shop in Bristol as a cabinet and clock case maker. The company went through a few different names but from 1884 to 1958 it was known as the E. Ingraham Company. During WWII, as with most companies, they were ordered by the War Production Board to cease making watches and clocks. They instead produced war use items. Full production of clocks and watches was resumed in 1946.
While we may not know when or where Chester Rasek purchased this watch, it still has a nice story attached to it that we can now share with you!
Happy National Watch Day!