Prior to his work as master model maker at the Elgin National Watch Company, Charles P. Corliss began learning his trade at a small jewelry store in his hometown in Bradford, Vermont. In 1861, the ambitious 20-year-old took a job at the American Watch Company in Waltham, Massachusetts, where he further refined his watchmaking skills. In 1877, after a short time in Memphis, Tennessee, Corliss accepted a position as model maker at the watch factory in Elgin, Illinois. It was in Elgin that Mr. Corliss found a permanent home, even remaining in an advisory role after retiring from the factory.
The watch featured in today’s post represents a work of Charles P. Corliss, likely while he was working at the Waltham factory during the early 1860s – possibly his personal watch. The watch is an early stem-wind conversion, presumably custom-made by Corliss. Unfortunately, no images of the winding mechanism were included when this watch was auctioned by Heritage Auctions in February 2019. It would be interesting to see what this brilliant mind created in the early years of his career.