Greater Industries of America

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The watch-word of Commerce, Made by Ten Million Ingersoll Watches Author Herbert Churchill

by: Sherman, Robert; on: November 3rd, 2008

It was not a very long time ago that anything in our work-a-day-life was considered to prosaic to be written about in the clever magazines. The lesser feats of invention, the problems of the shop, the efforts of toilers to master mechanical difficulties and to give the world new things of utility and value were thought fitting features for treatment in journals of the trades, but not in the magazines. Many a good story was turned down because it was just shop talk. But a skillful magazine man saw possibilities in stories of industry; in narratives of pure human interest evolved about the struggles and attainments of the plain worker. He believed every man and woman had a curious interest in those who do things worthwhile, who produce something of usefulness, who carve success out of hard and hostile elements.

He exploited the idea and was surprised to find that his readers, old and young, took immediate and keen interest in everything pertaining to the employments of the people. The little stories of industry were strangely popular. Now, all the magazines are glad to print narrations of achievement in any kind of work, even at the risk of giving free advertising, and the most popular monthlies are those that feature, in stories about little and big industries, the facts and fear of factory and shop.

What could be more inspiring to the man or boy with a purpose than the story about Robert H. Ingersoll buying that odd old-fashioned timepiece, a cross between a clock and a watch, from the shop of a clock dealer near the building in Fulton street, in which twenty- seven years ago in a dingy little room, he made rubber stamps and stencils for a living; how he took the curious device to pieces and worked and fashioned days and nights into months and years to contrive a practical pocket time-piece of moderate size at low cost; and how he finally succeeded after many discouragements in producing the Ingersoll Dollar watch. There is something thrilling in the thought of the plodding, determined youth toiling over the rusty works of the old clock to make it possible for every boy and man in his country, and later in the world, to carry a reliable time-piece; to make watches so cheap that instead of being a jewel ornament for the rich they became such a utility for the poor that bells and clocks in church steeples were no longer necessary to tell the time.

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