Bulova shares info and historic articles

bobbee's picture

 

This find below has recently come to light. On it, I have found some interesting facts that clear up some previously held misconceptions.

I will try to quote the exact wording so as to make it clearer for anyone interested. (not forcing anyone to read it!)

 

"Bulova Watch Company Inc, together with it's subsidiaries, all wholly owned, is one of the World's largest manufacturers of strap and wrist watches with jewelled movements.

Bulova pocket watches, which have been recently introduced, and the newly designed line of desk and boudoir clocks, have met with favourable reception in the trade."

 

This tells us that at this time they indeed owned all previously suspected parts of their empire, such as Westfield, American Standard WCC.

It also shows that Bulova made wrist and strap watches before it ever made pocket watches!

It also mentions total of workers in production, how Bulova only sells through jewelers, (more than 5,000 in US and Canada.) How sales have steadily increased since 1916 ( this looks like the genuine inception date of Bulova watches), and that to date (February 1929) sales are over 30% larger than for the same period in 1926.

 

This little shares sales letter has added some info for us, and I will be looking for more, possibly from 1928 or 1927 even.

 

Negative.

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted June 20, 2014 - 10:32am

I think I'll add any little snippets of interesting "Bulova History" information here too.

 

This from the Suffolk County News, September 3rd, 1937.

Now we know exactly when Bulova moved into Fahys old factory.

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted June 20, 2014 - 11:31am

January 1942 Bulova business announcement.

Mentions that "more emphasis to be placed on mat services to jewelers."

 

 

1931, June 6 Net profits. After taxes and shares payouts!

 

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted June 21, 2014 - 5:13pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Wow....Great stuff!!  I wish we could find the content from the Bulova 1942 Convention mentioned above.  Transcirpts of Keynote speech by Ballard, Epsteins sales meeting transcripts. ....and the "additional talk and discussions on advertising, merchandising and promotional plans for the coming year..."
Good searching Bobbee

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted June 20, 2014 - 1:21pm

New York Sun, March 17th. 1930.

Actual date of opening of the Bulova Observatory.

 

 

 

April 12, 1926 Schenectady Gazette.

World's smallest watch.

 

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted June 21, 2014 - 5:17pm

Club 5000Panel Member

...and now I'm searching for anything "Sol Fisher" Don't know if Mr Fisher was with Bulova or not? I'm guessing he was.

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted July 15, 2014 - 4:12am

 

  More on the above "smallest watch in the world".

The first one was actually made in 1922, and is mentioned in that years October issue of the Jeweler's Circular, along with the original watercolour painting of "TIME" by Coles Phillips. Pics and article below.

 

 

 

The first made watch was actually gifted to Queen Marie of Romania, and another given as a prize to the 1926 winner of the Miss America competition.

 

 

 

Here is another 1926 article with the Film Star Irene Bordoni wearing the actual watch, advertised as significantly smaller than a US Dime coin (17.91mm.), an amazing feat in 1922 and again in 1926.

 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted July 15, 2014 - 4:35am

 

  Closer to the present day, and the 1979 "Thinnest Watch in The World", the Bulova Phantom, at least until Seiko beat it a couple of months later, and then again in mid 1980 by the Concord Delerium 4 at less than 1mm. thick! Unfortunately the Seiko was an ugly watch, and the Delerium 4 movement always broke as soon as it was put on the wrist, so the Bulova was and still is the thinnest "wearable" watch in the world!  :-)

 

 

 

 

The original advert.

 

Bulova Phantom Advertisement

 

 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted August 18, 2014 - 12:39pm

Interesting info in this 1965 article. Only a year out :-)

 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted November 28, 2014 - 4:58pm

More company finds.

Did you know that Bulova had another subsidiary, called the American Standard Watch Company? Well, a good friend of mine recently bought a Westfield with a movement of that name, so we went a-hunting.

What we found is both surprising and amazing, I hope you will agree.

This from 1906.

 

http://mb.nawcc.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=242016&d=1417207369

 

This from 1923, relevant part marked in red.

1152 x 864 (@100%)" width="1152" />

 

This from 1940 is the best bit, proving not only the above was part of Bulova, but an interesting article about the company and the management too.

 

 

 

 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 11, 2015 - 7:17am

This photo dates to 1877, and is of the J. Bulova Company workforce.

Ringed is a 26 year old Joseph Bulova, just two years after the start of the company.

 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 19, 2015 - 6:35am

An oil painting done in the late 1920's/early 1930's.

 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 19, 2015 - 6:32am

This extremely engrossing article in the January 1943 edition of Popular Science magazine shows how Bulova pioneered the manufacture of jewels used in watches, bomb timers and industrial and domestic machinery. Until this time, all jewels were imported from Europe, but the war hampered imports so "needs must", as they say.

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=cycDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA89&dq=bulova+jewel+manufacture&hl=en&sa=X&ei=bQdbVdu2KYec7gb0lIAQ&ved=0CFEQ6AEwCTgK

Bulova also at the request of the US government set up a factory called the Turtle Mountain Ordnance Plant, making jewels solely for the Defence. Much can be found on google regarding this, mostly in Senate hearings!

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted May 19, 2015 - 10:43am

Panel Member
 

Interesting stuff, however, the Verneuil Blowpipe method of artificial jewel making was well known and established in Europe, and Bulova seems to have followed the procedure pretty closely. 

Prior to the perfection of this process, jewel makers in England would apprentice with long hours at the lathe, shaping natural rubies by hand, with shards of diamond and other materials. The turn of the 20th century saw this old practice disappear entirely. 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 23, 2015 - 5:11am

Meant to say that Bulova were the first US company to make watch jewels.

Bulova did not actually make the jewels themselves, as can be read in the article above, but did the shaping.

I bet it was really hard work using diamond to form rubies/sapphires for watch use. I have read that rubies and sapphires are actually quite brittle, so working them must have resulted in many breakages when learning the trade, and the occasional "clip round the ear" for the unfortunate apprentice!

Reverend Rob's picture
Reverend Rob
Posted May 23, 2015 - 9:23am

Panel Member

I'm probably going to get into trouble for this, but watch and clockmaking was mastered by the English and their domain for many years, and the Swiss then took it and ran, excelling with technical design and establishing larger production and supply systems. This was followed by the Americans applying mass production techniques and the development of their own high quality, high standard watches, most famous for their use in the Railway system.

When you look at natural rubies that have been shaped by hand, it is really amazing the amount of care and time that has gone into each one, and many diamond shards were used and broken in this feat. The field of watchmaking is known as the 'Chicken Little' trade, because we freak out whenever anything threatens to change. Artificial jewels were initially mocked as a 'fad' and 'substandard', Artificial oils were likewise sneered at as opposed to whale oil,  and many economic crises in the 19th and 20th centuries equally caused the panic that was so typified in the quartz crisis in the 70's..

The fact that Bulova was willing to take this on is impressive. Many things the company did are impressive, like training and employing vets from WW II, and the vision to keep innovating. 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 23, 2015 - 5:47pm

No trouble, you know you are exactly bang on Rob.

I've read many articles from the 18th and 19th centuries regarding watchmaking, sometimes having to copy and paste swathes of info onto Google Translate for German and French documents. You would love it Rob!

I'm currently researching really early Bulova stuff, and have found some interesting things. Will post soon.

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 24, 2015 - 2:31pm

This 1917  article gives several bits of information, read the part between the yellow markers.

1-Bulova had yet another company.

2-The address of this company-Westfield Street, shows how the name for this brand came about.

3-The company had quite a large workforce, forty people.

4- Could this be the real reason Adolph Bulova took up the nickname Ardè, because he was a draft-dodger and "conscientious objector", and wanted to avoid public humiliation?

Whatever, this is a new part of Bulova history uncovered.

And there is more to come.

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 24, 2015 - 2:51pm

Club 5000Panel Member

Great stuff.  Keep it coming.   So in later years, Bulova's company was influential in supplying stuff to the war efforts.... I wonder if he was denied the exemption, but never actually selected for the draft, so he didn't have to be an actual "dodger"?    Or maybe his company started making something the military efforts could use, like a mans military style strap watch or some product which made Joseph more valuble to the war efforts at home running the company vs being one of the boots on the ground overseas.

 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 27, 2015 - 4:33am

Will, it appears that a couple of months earlier Arde had been granted an exemption by the local board of appeal, but then the President turned it down.

Wonder what happened in the end?

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 27, 2015 - 4:57am

 

  Whilst researching the other day, I came across this little teaser.

  Bulova-Henschel? Maker of pearls???

 

 

 

 So, I looked further and found these patents from 1920, and then adverts from 1921.

It appears that Bulova went into business with Henshel, and worked from the same address. I'm sure that Henschel married into the family, and will look into it further.

Harry B. Henschel was the Bulova chairman in 1996, as can be seen on this shares certificate below.

 

 

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 27, 2015 - 1:00pm

Club 5000Panel Member

In a late 1919 Jewelers Circular, I think there's a picture of a display at a convention showing pearls and maybe watches- I don't remember about the watches- w/ Henschel standing besides or in the background of photo.  Wondering if the Harry B. Henschel signature on stock w/ 1996 day was "Jr"?  Maybe son/grandson or some close relative of the Henchel of 1919?  By 1996, the first Henschel would have been really old...

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 27, 2015 - 4:25pm

Ten minutes looking on search engines, I've got Harry B Henshel as the VP in 1955, President in 1960's until 1976 when he retired. Possible for him to be the original, but possibly junior.

Why his name is on a 1990's stock is anyones guess...

...and no luck with a Bulova/Henshel wedding yet...

William Smith's picture
William Smith
Posted May 27, 2015 - 4:59pm

Club 5000Panel Member

They probably had a rubber stamp of his signature, and it looked good on the stock certificates....but the US senate and congress have had 90 something year old senators and congressmen who were still working, albeit often falling asleep during session, and even forgetting where their office is located, but that's a government job...I doubt the private sector would put up with the shenanigans allowed by those who run the country.  

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 27, 2015 - 6:28pm

Ooooh, satire! :-)

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 27, 2015 - 5:11am

Here are the Bluebird Pearls adverts, and the stock certificate.

The second advert shows the company moved from Broadway to Fifth Avenue, giving us the date this event occurred.

 

bobbee's picture
bobbee
Posted May 27, 2015 - 5:37am

Here is another snippet that shows Bulova was employing watchmakers at least from 1916.

 

These earliest Bulova patents date between 1884 and 1899, the last being for a bicycle pedal with toe-clips!