Home / Ephemera / c.1880 Lancaster Watch Company “Grim Reaper” Trade Card

c.1880 Lancaster Watch Company “Grim Reaper” Trade Card

This c.1880 Lancaster Watch Co. trade card was graciously digitized by an anonymous member of our community.

The illustration depicts the grim reaper mounted on top of an early Lancaster watch movement. The text reads: “Buy the Lancaster – The Best Value Watch In The World – For The Money.”

Due to the striking theme exhibited on this promotional trade card, it represents one of the most iconic and collectible ephemera items from the Lancaster Watch Company.


  1. Wow…never have seen any watch advertising quit like that! Thanks to the member for the scan and you for posting it!

  2. Eye-catching for sure, but I’m less certain about the reactional impact of connecting the Reaper to their watch. Maybe folks back then thought differently, but I know that life insurance companies would never use such a theme nowadays. [They don’t even mention the word Death, switching it instead to the less macabre Life; the proper term should be Death Benefits rather than Life Insurance]. I guess Lancaster is bringing in the penny farthing huge-front-wheel bicycle, too [note the cranks the skeleton is pedalling], but I fail to see the connection, other than a circle. The connection is indelible, but I’m unconvinced it was ever a good one to use to promote sales.

    • The connection to me is death is always on time and when time runs out he’ll be there I guess I could go on and on about other connections but it’s how you look at things and maybe others won’t make the connection I find it spot on as advertising logo but maybe I have a macabre sense of humour. All the best and time is on our side. Lol

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