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Movements Offered by Seth Thomas in the 1890 Lapp & Flershem Illustrated Catalog (Busiest House in America)

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Seth Thomas Movements Offered in the 1890 Lapp & Flershem Illustrated Catalog
Seth Thomas Movements Offered in the 1890 Lapp & Flershem Illustrated Catalog

Original catalogs remain an excellent primary source for movement descriptions. Studying these resources can provide valuable insight into production trends, traits of specific grades offered, and pricing patterns.

These catalogs often become the basis for information accepted by modern collectors when company documentation is limited or absent.

The 1890 edition of “The Busiest House in America” catalog, published by Lapp & Flershem, showcases the primary movements offered by Seth Thomas at the time.

All movements fall under the subheading description, “Quick Train, 18 Size, 3/4 Plate, Safety Pinion, Expansion Balance, Stem Winding and Lever Setting, Sunk (Cut) Seconds Dial. Fit all Styles of Standard 18 Size Cases.”

The grades are then listed, with several illustrated at the sides of the page:

18 Size Hunting, Lever Set

  • No. 202. Nickel, Full Jeweled, Micrometer Regulator, Adjusted, $24.00 [Movement Cut Illustrated]
  • No. 102. Gilt, same as No. 202, $22.00
  • No. 171. Nickel, Full Jeweled, Micrometer Regulator, $18.00 [Movement Cut Illustrated]
  • No. 71. Gilt, same as No. 171, $16.00
  • No. 56. 11 Jewels, Micrometric Regulator, $13.00 [Movement Cut Illustrated]
  • No. 34. 7 Jewels, Plain Regulator, $10.00 [Movement Cut Illustrated]

18 Size Open Face, Lever Set

  • No. 201. Nickel, Full Jeweled, Micrometer Regulator, Adjusted, $24.00 [Movement Cut Illustrated]
  • No. 101. Gilt, same as No. 201, $22.00
  • No. 170. Nickel, Full Jeweled, Micrometer Regulator, Adjusted, $18.00 [Movement Cut Illustrated]
  • No. 70. Gilt, same as No. 170. $16.00
  • No. 55. 11 Jewels, Micrometer Regulator, $13.00 [Movement Cut Illustrated]
  • No. 33. 7 Jewels, Plain Regulator, $10.00 [Movement Cut Illustrated]

18 Size, Key Wind

  • No. 11. 7 Jewels, same as No. 33, $7.00

A brief analysis of the grade descriptions reveals the features that Seth Thomas used at the time to segment movement classes: finish, jeweling, micrometric regulator, and adjustment.

Finish

Finish was offered in nickel or gilt, with the nickel movements demanding a $2.00 premium over the gilt movements of the same quality.

Jeweling

Jeweling was offered in three options: “Fully Jeweled,” 11 Jewels, and 7 Jewels. During this era, “Fully Jeweled” indicated a movement jeweled in pairs to the 3rd wheel, representing a 15-Jewel movement. 

The price list in the 1890 catalog suggests a $3.00 premium for the 15-Jewel movement over the 11-Jewel movement, exhibited in the price differential between the No. 56 ($13.00) and the No. 71 ($16.00) movement. The 11-Jewel option was only available with a gilded finish.

The 11-Jewel movement was priced $3.00 more than the 7-Jewel movement. However, since the 11-Jewel movements were also fitted with a micrometric regulator, this price increase accounts for the extra feature as well. 

Micrometric Regulator

At the time, Seth Thomas supplied every movement offered in the Lapp & Flershem catalog with a micrometric regulator except the low-end 7-Jewel offerings. The price differential between the 11-Jewel movement with a micrometric regulator and the 7-Jewel movement with a plain regulator was $3.00.

Adjustment

Only the fully jeweled nickel movements were offered with the option of being adjusted – likely representing an adjustment to temperature.

Based on the price differential between the No. 171 ($18.00) and the No. 202 ($24.00), this adjustment carried a premium of $6.00.


Seth Thomas also offered several other movements at the time that were not included in the Lapp & Flershem catalog. It is important to note that period catalogs often contain a selection of grades, likely what the wholesaler expected to sell reasonably, rather than depicting the comprehensive product line.

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