Home / Dials / The Springfield Enameling Company: The Odd Illinois Watch Company Experiment

The Springfield Enameling Company: The Odd Illinois Watch Company Experiment

Illinois Watch Company Factory with Dial Department Highlighted, c.1880.
Pictured: Illinois Watch Company Factory with Dial Department Highlighted, c.1880.

In January 1892, the Springfield Enameling Company began operations out of the existing dial department at the Illinois Watch Company factory. The new company, managed by George Mayer, was offered the opportunity to use the factory buildings and machinery to manufacture enamel watch dials. While the rationale behind this move is not quite clear, it provided a viable way to produce and sell dials to other companies without being directly associated with the Illinois Watch Company name.

Mayer ambitiously visited the large watch companies across the country to form partnerships for dial supply and distribution. At the time, fancy dials were becoming very popular, and the Springfield Enabling Company desired to capitalize on the trend.

Daily Illinois State Journal
Monday, Jan 18, 1892
Springfield, IL
Page:5

Shortly after production commenced, the group discovered that sewer gas in the building was tarnishing the copper on the dials, causing the solder to lose effectiveness. As a result, the dial operation was moved to a part of the factory that once served as the finishing room. 

Daily Illinois State Journal
Thursday, Dec 01, 1892
Springfield, IL
Page:5

The Springfield Enameling Company was a brief blip in the watch manufacturing story. In 1893, George Mayer was lured away to head the newly-reorganized Suffolk Dial & Enameling Company in Sag Harbor, New York. At that time, the Illinois Watch Company integrated the segmented dial department back into the organization.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This div height required for enabling the sticky sidebar