Elgin National Watch Company Factory Bell

Elgin National Watch Company Factory Bell (HM173R)

Location: Elgin, IL 60120 Kane County
Buy Illinois State flags at Flagstore.com!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at Flagstore.com!

N 42° 2.462', W 88° 16.652'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites
The Factory - 1867
Pocket watch production began in 1867. The factory, located on National Street at the south end of Grove Avenue, grew in stages until by 1920 it was the largest watchmaking complex in the world, ultimately producing more than 54 million timepieces. For almost 100 years, Elgin Watch was Elgin's biggest industry with 4,000 workers at its peak in the 1920s. This bell was part of the 1905 reconstruction and was paired with a four-sided Seth Thomas clock in the 144-foot tower at the factory entrance.

The Bell - 1905
Weighing over a ton, the bell was cast by the McShane Bell Foundry of Baltimore in 1887. The bell marked daily time periods for the factory workers and the Elgin community. At 6:00 a.m. in the morning the bell peeled 78 strokes to awaken the workers. At 6:30 a.m., a 37-stroke reminder was sounded.

The work day started at 7:00 a.m. with a single stroke. The bell rang to announce the noon break and the return to work for the afternoon. Traditionally, three strokes tolled at the end of the work day.

By the late 1920s, the factory's steam whistle replaced the bell. Regular use of the bell ceased in 1931.

Watch Factory Closes - 1966
As a sentimental gesture the bell was rung during the company's 75th anniversary celebration in 1939.

Run for the last time on August 23, 1965, three strokes were sounded - the traditional end-of-work, but this time for the entire Elgin National Watch Company factory.

The clock tower was dynamited on Sunday morning, October 2, 1966. The bell was recovered from the ruins.
HM NumberHM173R
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at 8:29am PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 394264 N 4655121
Decimal Degrees42.04103333, -88.27753333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 2.462', W 88° 16.652'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 2' 27.72" N, 88° 16' 39.12" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)847, 224
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 352-370 Park St, Elgin IL 60120, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. What year was the marker erected?
  9. Who or what organization placed the marker?
  10. This marker needs at least one picture.
  11. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  12. Is the marker in the median?