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List of Failed American Dial Manufacturing Businesses from Swiss Import Market

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“Western Special” Swiss Import Dial in the O’Hara Style, c.1900
Pictured: “Western Special” Swiss Import Dial in the O’Hara Style, c.1900

By 1909, the O’Hara Waltham Dial Company was the last remaining independent dial manufacturing operation in America. Techniques developed by Daniel O’Hara and his company had been “borrowed” by Swiss dial makers, and inexpensive fancy dials began flooding the American import market.

During an initiative to set new tariff rates, the O’Hara Waltham Dial Company provided an affidavit to Congress that identified the American dial manufacturing companies that had failed under the stress of the inexpensive imported products:

  • Schmalz & Firmach, New York
  • Gold & Co., New York
  • Pilgrim Dial Company, New York
  • Caeser Brothers, New York and Long Island
  • Eaton Dial Company, Sag Harbor, New York
  • Haffen & Winchel, Brooklyn, New York
  • Moser Brothers, Chicago, Illinois
  • Chicago Dial and Enamel Company, Chicago, Illinois
  • Hines & Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Duff & Solace, Torrington, Connecticut
  • Christ Wassmer, Waterbury, Connecticut
  • Roesger & O’Hara, Waltham, Massachusetts
  • E.D. Wetherbee, Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Williams & Wetherbee, Waltham, Massachusetts
  • Elgin Dial Company, Elgin, Illinois
  • Joseph Solace, Hartford, Connecticut
  • Joseph Kiel, Providence, Rhode Island

It should be noted that most of the companies listed were small operations that failed or closed for other reasons, not as a direct result of imported products. Nevertheless, the O’Hara Waltham Dial Company correctly identified the threat of inexpensive imports and fervently lobbied for increased tariffs and regulations on imported dials.

Fortunately, the O’Hara company had diversified its product offerings and was able to support the failing dial business longer than any of the companies listed.

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