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The Process of Manufacturing Metal Watch Dials: Part 2

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Elgin National Watch Company Metal Dial, c.1925
Pictured: Elgin National Watch Company Metal Dial, c.1925

In the February 1926 issue of The Watch Word, the Elgin National Watch Company described the process used at the factory to manufacture metal dials. 

[Continued from the previous post]

“There are two general kinds of finish for the metal dial – the straight-line and the mat finish. In the case of the straight-line, the dial is placed face down on top of a revolving carborundum belt, which puts on the straight line effect. The dial is then sent through a plating bat of either silver or gilt. This plating process is the same as described in the Gilding department article in the September number of the magazine. Then the dials are sent to the printing machines, where the figures are put on with the same process used in the enamel dial except that the dial and bit are printed at the same time. Next the numerals are baked on the dial in an electric oven at 450 degrees of heat. This is also the “black firing” process used in the case of enamel dials. The dials, having been somewhat discolored from the baking, are returned to the plating job, where they are given a light dip of cyanide solution to remove this discoloration. Next they are brushed with a cream of tartar solution to further cleanse and whiten the dial. After they have been run through alcohol and dried in sawdust, they are covered with transparent lacquer, a film to protect the finish, which is sprayed on. Then they are gauged for height and shape to fit on the pillar plates and blocked to bring center and fourth hole in position, in relation to the dial feet. Then they are wrapped, boxed, labeled and sent to the material department.”February 1926 issue of The Watch Word

[To Be Continued.]

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