Ball watches have a fascinating history intertwined with the American railroad. In the late 1800s, train accidents were an all too common occurrence due to inconsistent timekeeping across different railroads. This led to Webb C. Ball, a Cleveland jeweler and watchmaker, being appointed as the Chief Time Inspector for the railroad industry.
Ball was tasked with establishing strict timekeeping standards across all railroads to ensure the safety of passengers and employees. He introduced a set of guidelines known as “The Ball Standard” which included the use of highly accurate and reliable watches. The Ball Standard required watches to be accurate to within 30 seconds per week and have a second hand, a requirement that was not common at the time.
Ball collaborated with various watch companies to produce timepieces that met his standards, including Hamilton Watch Company and Waltham Watch Company. These watches became known as “Ball Watches” and were highly sought after by railroad personnel and collectors alike. The watches were also used by other industries that required precise timekeeping, such as aviation and military.
Today, Ball Watch Company continues to produce high-quality timepieces that pay homage to their rich history with the American railroad. The company’s watches are still known for their accuracy and reliability, making them a popular choice for those who require precise timekeeping in their professions or hobbies.
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