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When did the Arabic numerals appear on clock faces?

When did the Arabic numerals appear on clock faces?



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Were the Arabic numerals used in pre-modern times on mechanical clock faces?

Is there a specific point in time when they started to replace Roman numerals?

Edit:

Wikipedia article for Clock face claims "Clocks using only Arabic numerals first began to appear in the mid-18th century" with remark: citation needed.

Wikipedia article for Arabic numerals contains an image of a Woodcut showing the 16th century astronomical clock of Uppsala Cathedral, with two clockfaces, one with Arabic and one with Roman numerals. Not disproving the statement above as it contained "only"-clause. The clock in Uppsala also was not a time clock.


Leonardo Fibonacci is credited with introducing the Arabic numbers (0123456789) into European use with his book, "Liber Abaci," in 1202. However, clock-face numbers remained Roman Numerals well into the 15th Century, when Arabic numbers began to appear on clocks in Britain.

As to the first use of Western Arabic numbers on a clock face. I have found no exact reference. However, I did come across another referencing the Lund Astronomical Clock, built in 1422, in Sweden (http://www.academia.edu/12745170/The_Evidence_for_Islamic_Scientific_Works_in_Medieval_Iceland).


When did the Arabic numerals appear on clock faces? - History

The use of Roman numerals has been mathematically obsolete for more than 1100 years. Nonetheless, the Roman symbols for numbers continue to be used in a variety of ways, most of them rather stereotyped: to mark the hours on clock faces, to number pages in the prefaces of books, to express copyright dates, and to count items in a series (such as the Super Bowls of U.S. professional football).

Roman Numeration
The form of Roman numeration used today was established during the Middle Ages in Western Europe. It is derived from the systems actually used in Roman times, but with certain improvements. The basic Roman numerals as used today are:

I = 1 V = 5 X = 10 L = 50 C = 100 D = 500 M = 1000

The symbols are repeated to form larger numbers, and when different symbols are combined, the larger unit precedes the smaller. Thus VIII represents 8, CLXXX is 180, and MMDCCXXV is 2725.

The Romans usually wrote IIII for 4 and XXXX for 40. The number 949 was DCCCCXXXXVIIII. To shorten the length of such numbers a "subtraction rule" was sometimes used in Roman times and was commonly used in medieval times. The "subtraction rule" allows the use of six compound symbols in which a smaller unit precedes the larger:

IV = 4 IX = 9 XL = 40 XC = 90 CD = 400 CM = 900

Using these symbols, 949 is written more compactly as CMXLIX. (Other "subtracted" symbols are not allowed. Thus 99 must be written XCIX, not IC.) The use of subtracted symbols was never mandatory, so IIII and IV can be used interchangeably for 4.

Actually, the symbols D (500) and M (1000) were originally written using a vertical stroke with surrounding arcs these arcs can only be approximated on this page by using parentheses. D appeared as I ) and M as ( I ) . This system allowed powers of ten larger than 1000 to be written by increasing the number of arcs: 10 000 was written (( I )) and 100 000 was written ((( I ))) . The Romans had no word for 1 000 000 and rarely considered numbers of that size or larger. In late Roman and medieval times, after D and M were adopted as the symbols for 500 and 1000, a custom arose of writing a bar over a number to multiply that number by 1000. Thus 10 000 became X with a bar over it and 100 000 became C with a bar over it. These "overbarred" symbols are almost never seen today.

In Roman times, only the capital letters were used for number symbols. Later, after lower case letters came into use, Roman numbers were often written in lower case. Thus "vi" means 6 and "cxxii" means 122. Sometimes cases were even mixed, as in "Mcxl" for 1140. Furthermore, the lower case letter "j" was sometimes used in place of "i". A common custom was to write "j" for the last in a series of one's, as in "xiij" for 13.

Roman numerals continued in use in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire, and they remained in general use for centuries after our modern number system became available. As we see, their use in certain applications continues even today.

Hindu-Arabic Numeration
The modern system of numeration is based on place value, with the same symbol, such as 4, taking on different meaning (4, 40, 400, etc.) depending on its location within the representation of the number. Place value notation was used long ago in Babylonian cuneiform numerals, but our modern decimal place value system was invented by Hindu mathematicians in India, probably by the sixth century and perhaps even earlier. The modern numerals 1, 2, 3, . are sometimes called "Arabic" numerals in the West because they were introduced to Europeans by Arab merchants. The key figure was the great Persian mathematician Muhammed ibn-Musa al-Khwarizmi, who taught at Baghdad sometime between 800 and 850. He wrote a book on the Hindu number system known today only in a later Latin translation as De numero indorum , "On the Hindu numbers." Subsequently he wrote a longer and very influential work, Al-jabr w'al muqabalah , known in Europe as Algebra , which included all the techniques of arithmetic still taught in schools today. The author's name, Latinized as "Algorismus," is the root of the English word "algorithm".

The Hindu-Arabic numeration system was known in Europe by 1000, but at first it didn't make much of a dent in the use of Roman numerals. During the 1100's the "Arabic" numerals were a topic of great interest among European scholars, and several translations of the Algebra appeared. In 1202, Leonardo of Pisa (ca. 1180-1250) published a famous book Liber abaci explaining and popularizing the Hindu-Arabic system, the use of the zero, the horizontal fraction bar, and the various algorithms of the Algebra . (Leonardo is better known today as Fibonacci, "son of the Bonacci," a nickname not applied to him until the 19th century). Thereafter modern numerals and the standard operations of arithmetic were commonly used by scholars, but Roman numerals continued to be used for many purposes, including finance and bookkeeping, for many centuries to come.

Incidentally, the numerals 0123456789 are more properly known as European digits. The numerals actually used in Arabic script, the true Arabic numerals, are of different forms see Islamicity.org for a more complete discussion.

  • Roman Numerals, Roman Numeration System, by Gérard P. Michon, has an advanced discussion of how large numbers were represented in the Roman system.

You are welcome to email the author (rowlett at email.unc.edu) with comments and suggestions.

All material in this folder is copyright 2018 by Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Permission is granted for personal use and for use by individual teachers in conducting their own classes. All other rights reserved. You are welcome to make links to this page, but please do not copy the contents of any page in this folder to another site. The material at this site will be updated from time to time.


The History of Roman Numerals

The history of Roman numerals began back in the 8th to 9th century BC, approximately the same time as the founding of ancient Rome around Palantine Hill. The number system prevailed longer than the empire itself, remaining in common use until the 14th century when they were superseded by the Arabic system, which was introduced to Europe in the 11th century .

The Roman numeral system was descended from ancient Etruscan numerals, itself adapted from the Greek Attic symbols.

The system was somewhat flawed in that there was no symbol for zero (0) and no real method for counting above several thousand other than adding lines around numerals to indicate multiples.

Notwithstanding, it did not prevent ancient Rome’s intellectuals and architects from building a great empire. Considerable mathematical skills were required to run a complex society and economy, and also to build vast monuments like the Colosseum and Constantine’s Arch.

How did Roman Numerals Take their Form?
There are several theories as to how the ancient Etruscan and Roman numerals were designed the way they were. One leading theory was that they derived from the tally sticks used by shepherds to count their cattle. The shepherds used to cut notches in their sticks, thus I became a single unit, every fifth (Λ or V) was a double-cut, and every tenth (X) a cross-cut.

The other main theory was that they were references to hand signals, with I, II, III, IIII corresponding to single fingers V was demonstrated with the thumb out and fingers together. The numbers 6 to 9 were represented by using a V with one hand and I, II, III or IIII with the other hand, while 10 (X) was represented by crossing the thumbs.

Legacy of Roman Numerals
Not yet confined to sundials, roman numerals are still commonplace on watch and clock faces, book chapter headings, numbered points in print and on digital word-processing applications, film titles and many other places where a sense of classicism or style is required. Roman numeric characters are also used in many specialist subjects including pharmaceuticals, music theory, seismology, theology and photography.


Why Do Some Clocks Use Roman Numeral IIII?

Why do some analog clocks with Roman numerals have '4' as 'IV,' while others have 'IIII'? This is one of those questions where no one seems to have a definitive answer, and probably no one ever will. What we do have is a handful of competing theories, some with plenty of holes and others that might just be true. You'll have to pick the one that sounds best to you and roll with it.

Once upon a time, when Roman numerals were used by the actual Roman Empire, the name of the Romans' supreme deity, Jupiter, was spelled as IVPPITER in Latin. Hesitant to put part of the god's name on a sundial or in accounting books, IIII became the preferred representation of four. Of course, IVPPITER wasn't being worshipped much by the time clocks and watches replaced sundials, but clockmakers may have stuck with IIII just for the sake of tradition.

In another blow to the Jupiter theory, subtractive notation—where IV, instead of IIII, represents four—didn't become the standard until well after the fall of the Western Roman Empire (and the numerals we use now are an even more modern set). It's likely, then, that IIII was used on sundials (and everywhere else) simply because that was the proper numeral to use at the time, and not for fear of divine retribution.

Once subtractive notation came onto the scene and a choice was available, to V or not to V became a question every clockmaker had to answer for themselves. Some adopted the newfangled IV because it was the new standard, but others hung on to the traditional IIII.

IIII might have stuck around because it's easily recognizable as four. IV involves a little math. Yes, it's just one simple subtraction operation, but keep in mind that when subtractive notation really caught on in the Middle Ages, the majority of people weren't literate or numerate. Subtraction was a lot to wrap the head around. On top of that, IV and VI might have been easily confused by the uneducated (likewise with IX and XI, which is why nine was sometimes represented by VIIII).

Using IIII may have also made work a little easier for certain clock makers. If you're making a clock where the numerals are cut from metal and affixed to the face, using IIII means you'll need twenty I's, four V's, and four X's. That's one mold with a V, five I's, and an X cast four times. With an IV, you'd need seventeen I's, five V's, and four X's, requiring several molds in different configurations.

King Louis XIV of France supposedly preferred IIII over IV, perhaps for the same vain reasons Jupiter wouldn't want two letters from his name on a sundial, and so ordered his clockmakers to use the former. Some later clockmakers followed the tradition, and others didn't. The problems here are that this story is told in connection with many other monarchs, and IIII was used also in areas where there was no king with an IV in his title to object to the subtractive notation.

One more reason to use IIII is that it creates more visual symmetry with the VIII opposite it on the clock face than IV does. Using IIII also means that only I is seen the first four hour markings on the, V is only seen in the next four markings, and X is seen only in the last four markings, creating radial symmetry. As we learned last year when pondering why display clocks are often set to 10:10, symmetry goes a long way in the clock world.


Roman Numerals

The numeric system represented by Roman numerals originated in ancient Rome (753 BC–476 AD) and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe well into the Late Middle Ages (generally comprising the 14th and 15th centuries (c. 1301–1500)). Numbers in this system are represented by combinations of letters from the Latin alphabet. Roman numerals, as used today, are based on seven symbols:

Symbol I V X L C D M
Value 1 5 10 50 100 500 1,000

The use of Roman numerals continued long after the decline of the Roman Empire. From the 14th century on, Roman numerals began to be replaced in most contexts by the more convenient Hindu-Arabic numerals however, this process was gradual, and the use of Roman numerals persists in some minor applications to this day.

The numbers 1 to 10 are usually expressed in Roman numerals as follows:

I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X .

Numbers are formed by combining symbols and adding the values, so II is two (two ones) and XIII is thirteen (a ten and three ones). Because each numeral has a fixed value rather than representing multiples of ten, one hundred and so on, according to position, there is no need for “place keeping” zeros, as in numbers like 207 or 1066 those numbers are written as CCVII (two hundreds, a five and two ones) and MLXVI (a thousand, a fifty, a ten, a five and a one).

Symbols are placed from left to right in order of value, starting with the largest. However, in a few specific cases, to avoid four characters being repeated in succession (such as IIII or XXXX ), subtractive notation is used: as in this table:


How to read Roman numerals

Numbers are formed by combining various letters and finding the sum of those values. The numerals are placed from left to right, and the order of the numerals determines whether you add or subtract the values. If one or more letters are placed after a letter of greater value, you add. If a letter is placed before a letter of greater value, you subtract. For example, VI = 6 because V is higher than I. But IV = 4 because I is lower than V.

There are a number of other rules related to Roman numerals. For example, do not use the same symbol more than three times in a row. When it comes to subtracting amounts, only powers of 10 are subtracted, like I, X, or C, but not V or L. For example, 95 is not VC. 95 is XCV. XC equals 100 minus 10, or 90, so XC plus V, or 90 plus 5, equals 95.

Also, only one number can be subtracted from another. For example, 13 is not IIXV. It's easy to see how the reasoning would be: 15 minus 1 minus 1. But following the rule, it instead is XIII, or 10 plus 3.

You also cannot subtract a number from one that is more than 10 times greater. You can subtract 1 from 10 (IX) but you cannot subtract 1 from 100 there is no such number as IC. You would instead write XCIX (XC + IX, or 90+9). For larger numbers in the thousands, a bar placed on top of the letter or string of letters multiplies the numeral's value by 1,000: .


WATCH DEBATE. Dial Up! Numbers v. Roman Numerals.

Lucien Piccard Men’s Alpha Collection.

Today, with the vast selection of watch styles, women’s- and men’s- watch fans have a choice in everything: style, movement type, color… Even the band is something you can work to your preference. Also included in this selection of choices is preference for numeric or non-numeric watch dials. Both numbers and non-numeric signifiers, such as Roman numerals, can be found on watch dials, which—for many—is just another choice they have to make when selecting a watch.

Roman Numerals: Roman numerals have been used in watchmaking since the emergence of pocket watches for men in the 16 the century. Adapted from the Egyptian time-telling method, the sundial, Roman numerals were adopted by watchmakers during World War I, as they are easier to register at one glance—a much-needed feature for men in combat. Once wristwatches became a main-staple of everyday dressing, society watchmakers once again began incorporating Roman numerals into the dial as a decorative touch, making the pieces appear more distinguished and sophisticated. One question frequently asked about Roman numerals on watches is why many watchmakers prefer to signify the number four by IIII, rather than the “correct” IV. Many speculations have been made but it has been deemed that this choice comes strictly down to aesthetics. The four-character form “IIII” creates a visual symmetry with the “VIII” on the other side, which the two-character IV would not. Popular collections sporting the prestigious Roman Numeral-styled numbering include Lucien Piccard’s Men’s Alpha collection, as well as the Beienne Collection from Jacques Lemans watches for men.

Lucien Piccard Women’s Celano Automatic

Numbers: Numbers are a somewhat obvious tradition for watches. All watches for men and women, dating back to the first pocket watches, have traditionally used numbers to make it easier to tell which hour the hand is pointing to on the dial. For this reason, numbers on a women’s or men’s watch face have remained a popular choice for those who are not quite used to the relatively small dial of a watch, as apposed to the bold face of a wall clock. With wristwatches being representative of personal style there are now many different ways in which numbers are represented on the dial, from gold embellished to featured numbers, such as the three, six, nine, 12, for artistic effect. Some watches have even adopted a no-number or numeric signifier aesthetic, such as the sleek Celano from Lucien Piccard. Many consumers believe the absence of numeric signifiers on a watch face lends a luxuriously styled watch a classier, cleaner look.

Invicta Men’s SubAqua Noma III

Here at World of Watches, attention to detail is our thing, and we hold an extensive collection of watches for men and women that contain all the possible watch features you could wish for. Whatever your preference or personal style, we are sure to have what you you want for your next brand name watch purchase. With a selection of over 20 major name brands to choose from, we guarantee you 100% satisfaction. Log on now and browse through popular names like Invicta, Swiss Legend, Armani and so many more brand name watches, which we have reduced by up to 95% off the recommended retail price. Shop now for the best deals on summer trends.


History of the Roman Numerals

The Roman numerals are symbols from the ancient Roman Empire that were commonly used to represent small numbers. The system could also incorporate larger numbers. And for centuries, they were the typical way of writing numbers in the empire. This numerical system was also widespread across Europe up until the Middle Ages. The question on most historians’ minds about this topic is that how far did the Roman numeral system go? Detailed answer will be provided to the above question as well as the modern usage of the Roman numerals.

Brief Overview of the System

Broadly speaking, the Roman numeral uses 7 main letters of the Latin alphabet to represent numbers. The symbols are as follows:

Roman numeral symbols along with their corresponding values

To form numbers with the Roman numerals, the subtractive or additive notation is deployed. Whenever a symbol is placed after another symbol, the resultant value is the sum of the two symbols.

For example, II means I+I (1+1) = II (2). Similarly, MM= M+M=1,000+1000=2,000. And VIII= V+I+I+I= 8

However, if the symbol comes before another symbol of greater value, the result is obtained by subtracting the two values. IV means V-I= 4. Similarly, XL= L-X= 40, and XC= C-X= 90.

Original Forms of the Roman Numerals

As mentioned above, the Roman numeral is a form of numeric system that owes it origins to ancient Rome. Unlike its current form of 7 symbols, only three symbols were used: I, V, and X (1, 5, and 10 respectively) in the original forms. What the ancient Romans then did was to add 1(I) as the number progressed. So for example the integer 4 will be represented as IIII. Then 7 will have VII. 9 will be VIIII. These three symbols (I, V, and X) were like tally marks. Therefore, numbers 1 to 10 was:

I, II, III, IIII, V, VI, VII, VIII, VIIII, and X

Evolved Version of the Roman Numerals

The above Roman numerals (without the notation or additive principle) can get a bit confusing to eyes. For example IIII could easily be mistaken for III at a quick glance. Therefore, and over the centuries, the Roman numeral system witnessed slight changes. The revised version employed what is called the subtractive and additive notation. So instead of having IIII, 4 will now be IV. And the “I” before a V means one less than V (5). And instead of having VIIII for 9, the subtractive notation means that 9 will be IX. So the first 10 integers under the subtractive and additive notation will go like this:

I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X

For numbers above 10, X, L and C are used very much. In this regard, the subtractive and additive notations are applied here as well. That is, when a symbol appears to the left of another symbol, it means they should be deducted. Conversely, when the symbol appears to the right of the symbol, it means they should be added (the additive notation). Numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, and 100 will be written as follows in roman numerals:

X, XX, XXX, XL, L, LX, LXX, LXXX, XC, C

In a similar fashion as the above, the numbers hundred to one thousand (100 to 1000) will be as follows:

C, CC, CCC, CD, D, DC, DCC, DCCC, CM, M

D and M, as stated above, represent 500 and 1000 respectively. Symbols CD (400) and CM (900) use the same subtractive and additive notation made mention above.

How are Large Numbers Represented in Roman Numerals?

You must have been wondering by now that after 3,999, the Roman numbering system will become a bit unpleasantly long. Yes, you are right! The problem of excessive repetition comes to fore when dealing with larger numbers in their thousands. In the ancient Roman Empire, this problem was taken care of using several ways. They had special numbers for such cases. The mirrored C (Ↄ) was the commonest symbol for large numbers back then.

As the empire progressed, an altered version of the 3 symbols (I, V and X) started gaining popular usage for numbers in the thousands. The Romans placed a line above the symbols. Also, Roman numerals in the hundreds of thousands had additional lines on their sides.

Roman numerals with larger numbers

In modern times, numbers greater than 3,999 are rarely represented by Roman numerals. And considering the century that we are in, it will take a very long time before we started struggling with representing the years in roman numerals. For now, a typical 21 st century year can be represented very cleanly using the Roman numeral system. For example, the year 2018 can be written as MMXIII. The year 2299 can have a rather longer numeral: MMCCXCIX. But years or numbers of those sorts are still very much manageable as compared to numbers greater than 3999.

Let’s look at how the Roman numerals will look like with the following famous landmark years of our modern era:

  • For example, the date of the Declaration of Independence can be neatly written as: IV, July, MDCCLXXVI
  • Another interesting date that comes out perfectly nice using the Roman numeral is the coronation date of Queen Elizabeth II (6 February, 1952): VI February, MCMLII (The very day Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne).
  • The Rio Olympics of 2016 will be written as MMXI
  • The Beatles first album titled “My Bonnie/The Saints” was released in MCMLXII (1962)
  • For a much sadder date, say the World Trade Center Twin attacks occurred in MMI (2001)
  • NASA’s interplanetary space probe, New Horizons, made a close-up flyby of Pluto in MMXV (2015).

Classical Usage and Modern Variations

The Roman numerals feature extensively on the faces of clocks and watches these days. The Westminster Palace has a huge clock (Big Ben) with the Roman numeral system. And it sticks to the subtractive or additive notation rule.

Westminster Palace’s huge clock (Big Ben) with the Roman numeral system.

Roman numerals featuring prominently on the Wells Cathedral Clock

What is most interesting is that some post-Roman Empire structures hardly followed the subtractive notation rule. The Admiralty Arch in London is dated as MDCCCX instead of MCMX. The Latin inscription atop reads:

ANNO: DECIMO: EDWARDI: SEPTIMI: REGIS: VITORIӔ: REGINӔ: CIVES: GRATISSIMI: MDCCCCX

The Admiralty Arch in London with its Roman numerals and Latin inscription that reads in English as: “In the tenth year of King Edward VII, to Queen Victoria, from most grateful citizens, 1910”

The clock at Grand Central uses IIII, instead of IV. This is pretty much common on dials and faces of clocks, pocket watches and wristwatches.

Clock at Grand Central, New York, with IIII representing 4

The Colosseum’s gates had several cases of where the subtractive notation was not applied. Instead of IV, IIII was the much preferred option. In retrospect, the ancient Romans did not stick to this rule much often. Historians attribute this to a number of reasons. Firstly, it was because of the IV symbol resembling the Roman’s supreme deity’s name, Jupiter. In Latin, Jupiter is spelt as IVPPITER. The Romans did not want to commit heresy by putting a symbol that was similar to their god of the sky and king of the gods, Jupiter.

The second reason has to do with the slight mathematical calculation that comes with “IV”. With IIII not obeying the subtractive notation, the common folks and less educated Romans could easily have read it. An even in the Middle ages, the clocks that were mounted atop churches or in town centers would have factored in the average non-educated folk. Therefore, IIII was a much easier option to read or even write than IV.

A typical modern day clock that uses the Roman numerals

Today, majority of the watch manufacturers prefer using IIII (instead of IV) as a matter of maintaining tradition rather than for reasons above.

How did the Romans come up with this system?

The answer is simple. Tallying! As the Romans counted, every 5 th count was struck with special symbol. And every tenth count was struck with another special symbol. Those special symbols vary sharply from place to place. What is interesting however is that for numbers 1 to 4, sticks or stick-like shapes were used. Numbers 1 to 10 back then may have looked like this:

Roman numerals without the substractive notation

Note how these symbols, ʌ and x, appear like the modern versions of V and X. Back then, many Romans used an inverted V in place of 5. Other symbols such as ⃝ and ↑ were very much common back then.

Before the Romans, what numeral system was used for numbering?

Prior to the Romans, a similar system during the Etruscan Civilization was used. The Etruscan were a very vibrant 8th to 3rd century BCE culture prior to the Romans conquering them. Historians believe that the Roman numeral system as well as a host of other Etruscan cultural and historical artifacts and belief systems were assimilated into the burgeoning Roman Empire. With regards to the origins of those Etruscan counting and numbering system, we can safely assume that they must have come from a simple act such as tallying.

Alternatively, some historians hold the view that the Roman numeral system is the product of hand gestures. Numbers 1 to 4 correspond to the four fingers. The thumb that is shaped like a V represents 5.

For numbers 6 to 10, the two hands were used. When the counting got to 10, the two thumbs were crossed to make an X sign.

Usage in the Modern Era

Historical documents show that the Roman numerals were gradually replaced by the Arabic numerals (that is 1,2,3,…) which were more convenient. The Arabic numerals were first introduced into Europe around about the 11 th century. It was popular among Arabic merchants and traders. As time went on, their numerals gained wide spread in all of Europe. Regardless of this, the Roman numeral system is still commonly preferred dealing with the following (till date):

Regnal numbers of monarchs, rulers and Popes to this date still deploy the Roman numerals. The tradition first began in the Middle Ages. During the reign of Henry VIII (pronounced as Henry the eight), the usage started picking up momentum. Prior to this, the monarchs used epithet to distinguish one from another. An example of such epithet will be: Edward the Confessor, Charles the Simple of France, and Joan the mad of Spain. With the help of Roman numerals, epithets were not so necessary in their titles. This is evident in the titles of some European monarchs and popes. Examples of such titles with Roman numerals are Louis XIV (Louis the fourteenth), King George II, Charles IV of Spain, King Edward VII,

Louis XIV of France preferred using his regnal number on his coinage.

In modern times, we can make mention of these titles Pope John Paul II (Pope John Paul the second), Queen Elizabeth II, Pope Benedict XVI and Felipe VI.

Post the French Revolution, the French resorted to using the Roman numerals to write down the years. For example Napoleon conquest of Egypt that took place in the years 1798 and 1799 can be written as MDCCXCVIII and MDCCXCIX

In the U.S., the Roman numeral system started being deployed to distinguish two people in a family who shared the same names across generations. Example can be John Doe III (that is the third John Doe in the family tree).

In our modern era, it is not uncommon to see shows, films, and art works dated using the Roman numerals. The release year of the Shawshank Redemption movie can be written as MCMXCIV.

Some people believe that artist and production companies employ its usage as subterfuge. It is to mask or hide the date of the production. The jury is still out on that one for sure.

Buildings and cornerstones till this day still prefer using the Roman numerals.

It is not uncommon to find page numbering of prefaces and book introductions as well as appendices and annexes using Roman numerals. Book volumes and chapters are also not exempt from using this numeral.

Examples include: Final Fantasy XV (game), Adobe Reader XI (pdf reader), and Age of Empire III (game)

Scientists often name natural satellites and moons of planets using roman numerals. Notable examples are Saturn VI (Titan), Jupiter II (Europa), Uranus I (Ariel), Neptune XIV (Hippocamp) and Pluto I (Charon).

Notable examples can be found in the titles of advanced mathematics such as trigonometry, statistics and calculus.

How famous is the Roman numerals in today’s Greece?

Prior to the Romans conquest and movement into ancient Greece, the Greeks themselves had their own number system. Therefore, it is fair to say that in Greece today the Greek numerals are used in the places and situations where Roman numerals are used in other parts of the world.


Pocket Watch Dials

Watch dials were made in an infinite variety of styles, designs and materials. The article below tries to explain the terms and describe the dials to which they apply.

Dial Manufacture

Levels

Flat

Single-Pressed

Single-Sunk

Double-Pressed

Pressed-Center

Ground Center

Double-Sunk

Triple-Sunk

Inner Circle

Material

Enamel

Metal

Silver-Finished Dials

Silver-finished dials were promoted for railroad use starting around 1909 for Elgin and 1910 for Waltham. They may well have been accepted for such use in the teens and twenties, although time service documents that mention silvered dials one way or another have yet to be brought to light. There seem to be enough surviving examples that appear to be original to a watch to support this thinking. However, judging from the lack of very large quantities being found that seem to be original to standard watches, although they're not uncommon, silver-finished dials may not have been very popular, or may have been actively discouraged for railroad use, if not actually prohibited.

Although it is not supported by any documentation available to date - its believed by some that many of the silver-finished dials now on railroad standard watches are the ones that were left over in stock after all of the enamel Arabic dials got used as replacements over the last sixty years. In 1935, silver-finished dials appeared in a Hamilton Material Catalog 18-size No. 529 and 16-size No. 502M (top and second row right, respectively). It not clear how late these dials were available, but they were still being listed in a 1947 Hamilton Material Catalog. The line of thinking (which may be incorrect) is that the better it looks, the less likely it is to have been original to the movement, or the more likely that it has been refinished. Nevertheless, one should keep in mind that some percentage of silver-finished dials are original to the watches, are in original top condition and that some were undoubtedly used in railroad time service.

Radium Dials

Radium dials have an outstanding feature - they glow in the dark without having to have been previously exposed to a light source. These dials started being made in the 'teens. The dials themselves weren't radium, but the hour figures, hour marks (and perhaps all of the minute marks), along with the hands, were painted with a compound containing radium. The advantages are immediately obvious and were heavily promoted, not only by the watch companies, but by at least one supplier, the Radium Dial Co. Versions of the material were even sold (to the trade) for aftermarket use, and there was also a service to which a watch could be sent out for dial/hand conversion (you've got to love their trade mark). The feature of luminous dials and hands was valued by the military and had wide appeal for civilian use.

Although occasionally promoted for Railroad Time Service, radium dials were not accepted (for example - see 1946 Union Pacific rules, section 41) due to the possibility (one might say likelihood) of the paint flaking off and getting into the movement. In judging the benefit of more easily reading the time against the need for a standard watch to be as reliable as possible, reliability was deemed to be more important.

The hazards of using radium weren't recognized at the time and health issues took a decade or more to be understood. Collectors should use care in opening watches having radium dials. For more information, see: Radium Dials by Roger Russell and The Radium Girls by Kate Moore (see References).

Mounting

Dial Feet

Snap-On

Styles

Arabic

Roman Dials

Roman dials, as the name suggests, use Roman numerals for the hour figures. Frequently, the figure '6' is obliterated by the seconds bit. Nearly all Roman pocket watch dials (and clock dials as well) use 'IIII' rather than 'IV' for the 4th hour figure. The reason for doing so is lost in antiquity, but possible reasons are talked about in the online discussion Roman IIII vs. IV on Clock Dials. Since watches started out as small clocks, whatever reasons for using 'IIII' on clock dials applied to watch dials as well.

Contrary to popular belief, Roman dials were accepted for railroad time service on some roads at least as late as 1906. The following clearly indicates that Roman dials were accepted on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (AT&SF) at that time.

Rule 4 - “Fancy” dials or those other than regular factory product, vis.: plain Arabic or Roman figures or the Company's standard dial are prohibited.

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, 1906 rules

Five Minute Track

Railroad Dials

Marginal Minute Dials

Marginal minute dials are those dials having each minute numbered in a ring of minute figures next to the marks delineating the minutes. These dials have those minute numbers out in the dial's margin, hence the term, marginal minute dials. There are many different designs of marginal minute dials, the most popular being the Montgomery Dial, also known as the Montgomery Safety Numerical Dial. Watch companies developed their own, sometimes distinctive, designs of marginal minute dials, such as the one used and promoted by the E. Howard Watch Co.

Robert Sweet and, later, Jeff Hess uncovered a patent awarded to H.S. Montgomery in 1920 for a "Safety First" marginal minute dial. It's not known if this was actually intended to be used (certainly not of a watch in railroad time service), or if it was just a promotional item. To date, no examples of this dial have appeared. "Safety First" was a major theme of railroad safety programs, initiated on the C&NW in 1910 and emulated elsewhere, such as an Erie Railroad program and the description of a New York Central program. The theme was also used by Webb C. Ball in promoting a series of meetings with various railroads' inspectors, held during the 'teens.

Montgomery Dials

Henry S. Montgomery was the General Watch and Clock Inspector of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (AT&SF) from 1896 to 1923. During the first decade of the twentieth century he patented a marginal minute dial that had three distinctive features. The patent has been lost, but the features of a true Montgomery Dial are known from Montgomery’s writings. First, the marginal minute numbers were all upright, as opposed to radial numbers which were used on other dial designs. Second, the five minute numbers were slightly larger than the other minute numbers. Frequently, the five minute numbers are red, whereas the remainder are black. However, its not known if the five minute numbers being red was a patented feature. Finally, the sixth hour figure is included, contained within the seconds bit. The sixth hour figure is generally unusual amongst pocket watch dials.

It is known that Montgomery's marginal minute dial appeared on Santa Fe Railway Clocks in 1900 and was subsequently applied to a variety of clocks. A notice in the Jewelers' Circular, posted by Robert Sweet, shows that Montgomery's dial was in use on watches accepted for railroad time service on the Santa Fe in late 1899. By 1906, it was being referred to as the AT&SF's standard dial, as evidenced by this extract:

Rule 4 - “Fancy” dials or those other than regular factory product, vis.: plain Arabic or Roman figures or the Company's standard dial are prohibited.
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, 1906 rules

Note: The "Company's standard dial" that the rule referred to was Montgomery's marginal minute dial.

Nevertheless, it didn't seem to be promoted for use on the railroad watch until 1909-1910 (based on ads by the major watch companies advertising their availability around that time). A 1910 Elgin ad proclaimed the availability of This New Minute Numerical Dial (Montgomery Patent), while a 1910 Hamilton Watch Co. ad stated that, "Hamilton Watches furnished with Montgomery Safety Numerical Dial when desired."

Also, it was in 1910 that Ball launched his campaign against the Montgomery dial (and Ferguson and other dials), but this is another story (see below). By 1911, Illinois was offering Montgomery's dial. The dial was also advertised by the Montgomery Safety Dial Co. (whose ad was discovered and first posted by Robert Sweet). In 1912, Hamilton was furnishing the Montgomery Numerical Dial, "without extra charge," on any one of their railroad standard watches. Hamilton continued using the Montgomery Safety Dial Co.'s advertising slogan (in an ad discovered and first posted by Robert Sweet), "It almost speaks the time." for at least another eight years, as shown by a June 1919 ad. The South Bend Watch Co. also offered a Montgomery dial as dial No. 314 on page 46 of a 1914 South Bend catalog.

Some watch companies also offered Montgomery dials on their 12-size watches, such as seen in this 1912 Hamilton ad, posted by Robert Sweet.

Probably all other watch companies offered some form of marginal minute dials, but a number of them changed one aspect or another from Montgomery's patented design, perhaps as some have said, to avoid paying royalties. Even companies which had previously supplied correct Montgomery dials switched to an altered, non-Montgomery, marginal minute dial. One example is Elgin, whose "Minute Numeral Dial" appears to have been retrofitted onto a grade No. 349 movement dating to about 1909. South Bend had an example shown as dial No. 514 (erroneously identified as a Montgomery dial) on page 28 of a 1917 South Bend catalog containing a 1920 price list. Both of these dials lack the hour figure 6, a key Montgomery feature.

The following is quoted from 'Webb C. Ball vs. Henry S. Montgomery ". a species of delirium",' Larry Treiman, NAWCC Bulletin No. 180, February 1976, pp. 47-55 (available online only to NAWCC members).

Mr. Treiman discussed being in contact with Miss Ethel L. May, who had worked for H.S. Montgomery at the Santa Fe Railway Time Service Department, starting in late 1917 or early 1918. She also handled some of the duties of the Montgomery Dial Company, which had existed at that time.

" . the Montgomery Numerical Dial (with upright minute figures numbered from 1 to 60) had been designed primarily by Henry S. Montgomery in the early 1900's and as nearly as could be determined, a patent had been issued to him, possibly sometime in 1907 or 1908."

" A true Montgomery dial must have a 6 figure, which is usually somewhat smaller than the figures for hours 1 to 5 and 7 to 12."

" . the various watch manufacturers paid royalties to the dial company for the dials used on their products, and that from those royalties quarterly dividend checks were issued to the stockholders of the Montgomery Dial Company."

A Montgomery Dial, A Marginal Minute Dial - Or Just A Mistake?

For many decades, the presence of the sixth hour figure in the seconds bit has been considered a requirement for a dial to be considered to be a Montgomery dial. However, in early July 2009, Jeff Hess has called attention to an 18-size dial (mounted on a Hamilton grade No. 940 - serial number 596882) that is marked "Montgomery's Standard Numerical Dial - The Hamilton" and which lacks the sixth hour figure in the seconds bit. Examining the back of the dial, it can be seen to be of three-part construction and it appears to be unaltered.

Just because the dial proclaims itself to be a Montgomery dial, that doesn't make it one. There is no indication who actually produced the dial. Since it is not marked "Montgomery Safety Dial Co.," there's no reason to believe they made it. Use of the name "The Hamilton" suggests it is a dial for a private label watch insofar as Hamilton factory grades bear dials signed either Hamilton, or Hamilton Watch Co.. If Hamilton had produced the dial, one hopes that they would have had the integrity to have made it properly (and pay the royalty to Montgomery).

One possibility originally considered was that it was a factory mistake and that the wrong seconds bit was soldered into the dial 100 years ago. However, the likelihood of this sharply decreased when Jeff Hess reported a second, seemingly identical dial which was mounted on Hamilton grade No. 940 - serial number 1444274. That this dial is in better condition than the one linked to above shows that it is not the same dial that had been switched to a different movement.

Type II Montgomery Dials

Ferguson Dials

The Ferguson patented dial is one of the most well-known of the after-market, or third-party, dials. Its "look," emphasizing the minutes over the hours, was patented in 1908 by L. B. Ferguson of Monroe, LA. With its large black five-minute numbers and much smaller red hour numbers, there is no mistaking its appearance. Ferguson didn't just sell dials. Using today's terms, he marketed a time display system. With the dials, he also supplied hands color matched to the minute and hour numbers, that is, a black minute hand and a red hour hand. A 1910 Ferguson ad ambiguously refers to the hand colors while a 1913 distributor's ad is very specific about them. In addition to the standard Ferguson dial, a marginal minute version of the dial was also available (as noted in the 1910 ad). Since the standard Ferguson dial looks crowded to begin with, the marginal minute version really has its numbers squeezed.

Ferguson dials were made under contract. It appears that the early dials were made domestically while the later original dials (as opposed to reproduction dials) were Swiss-made. They were made in both single and double-sunk versions. It seems that single and double-pressed dials were made as well. A pressed dial is a dial whose different levels are created on a single disk of copper that has been formed in a press and then enameled, rather than by being assembled from individual flat pieces of enameled copper, soldered together. Pressed dials, or ground center dials, were also used by some American manufacturers as a lower priced alternative to double-sunk dials.

There is no question that the Ferguson dial accomplished its goal-calling attention to the minute, not the hour. However, it was characterized as a "freak dial" by Ball at the same time he derided the marginal minute dial (see below). Regarding this dial, some agree with Ball. It is akin to today's speed-typing (as opposed to "qwerty") keyboards. Although one can get used to it and achieve superior results - recognizing the minutes faster - it flies in the face of convention. And, although every comprehensive collection of railroad watches ought to contain at least one example of a Ferguson dial, some collectors think that they sure are ugly.

Ball's Aversion to Montgomery and Ferguson Dials

Webb C. Ball, the founder of the Ball Watch Company did not like the Montgomery dial nor other dials, particularly the Ferguson dial, that did not have just plain black numbers on a white background. Ball's aversion to Montgomery and Ferguson dials can be traced back to at least February 15, 1910. That is the date of a Ball Railroad Time Service circular to the "Local Watch Inspectors" of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway (the Rock Island Line). In that document Ball stated:

Watches having dials with confusing figures spread all over them and around the edge are impractical for Railroad Service, and this will be your authority to rule out any "New Standard Watch" with such dial, when presented for inspection, after this date.

The attached sheet for your guidance illustrates some of the dials above referred to.
Note: The attached sheet had pictures of three dials - a Montgomery dial, a radial marginal minute dial (such as used on Keystone-Howard watches) and a Ferguson marginal minute dial

The complete document ( courtesy Bob Schroeder ) can also be seen on pages 780-781 of the December 2002 issue of the NAWCC Bulletin.

Another very important factor of safety is the dial, that part of the watch which quickly and surely reveals the correct time to the engineer, the conductor and other trainmen. As this information is often required at night when lights are dim and obscure, it is needless to emphasize the importance of dials that give the hour and minute without any confusion of fantastic figures or freakish designs.

Writing to the editors of Railway Age, following the report of Ball's presentation in that publication, Montgomery pointed out that the management of the Rock Island Line made Ball retract the above mentioned circular and to allow Montgomery dials.
("The Montgomery Safety Watch-Dial," Railway Age, November 5, 1920, page 784).

For more on this, see: 'Webb C. Ball vs. Henry S. Montgomery ". a species of delirium",' Larry Treiman, NAWCC Bulletin No. 180, February 1976, pp. 47-55 (available online only to NAWCC members).

The disagreement came to an end after Webb C. Ball's passing, on March 8, 1922. Three years later, Ball Railroad Time Service Circular #177 was issued, formally stating that " . we take occasion to advise that no objection has been made to the Montgomery dial for some years." The circular was signed by Webb C. Ball's son (who had taken over the running of the Ball businesses long before Webb C. Ball's demise), Sidney Y. Ball, General Time Inspector. Nevertheless, it seemed to be some years before Ball Official RR Standard watches appeared with Montgomery dials.

The watch companies tried to avoid the controversy. On the one hand, the Ball companies held the contracts for railroad time service inspection on about half of the railroads in the country (so Ball claimed) and had a large sales and distribution network for the marketing of railroad standard watches. One the other hand, the Montgomery dial (patented and promoted by the Henry S. Montgomery, General Watch and Clock Inspector of one of the largest railroads in the country, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway - the AT&SF) was popular on railroads in the southwest and. perhaps to a lesser extent, elsewhere. The solution was to tailor their advertising and promotion to suit their customers.

Elgin ran ads in the nationally distributed brotherhood journals promoting their No. 49 dial (available in both an enamel or silver finish) that was just as Ball described. But similar (almost identical) ads in localized railroad employe magazines of those roads upon which the Montgomery dial was widely accepted, especially that of the AT&SF, promoted the (Montgomery Patent) Minute Numerical Dial. Hamilton did the same thing, promoting a double-sunk, Arabic numeral dial in the Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen's Magazine while simultaneously running nearly identical ads showing the Montgomery dial in the Santa Fe Employes' Magazine.

Box Car Dials

Canadian Dials

Dials containing an inner ring of 13-24 Hour Figures were (and still are) referred to as "Canadian Dials" due to Canadian railways going to a “twenty-four hour system” as noted in a CPR June 10, 1886 circular (thanks to Nick23, we can see his Waltham model 1874, serial number 1994499, bearing the described sticker, or one similar to it). Such dials were widely used in Canada, as exemplified by this excerpt from a 1914 D.E. Black catalog page and this from a 1953 Eaton catalog.

One interesting version of the Canadian dial has 1-60 marginal minute numbers as shown on the Longines standard watches illustrated in the upper right-hand corner of the 1914 D.E. Black catalog page linked to above. Other examples are this, mounted on Waltham Grade No. 845, serial number 18,106,736 ( courtesy of Antarctic Jamie ) and the dial on 23-Jewel Waltham Vanguard, serial number 16,187,957 ( courtesy of StanJS ). Since Montgomery's dial patent is lost and since there is no documentation showing that Montgomery actually described a dial having its minutes numbered and having an inner ring of 13-24 hour figures, it is not quite correct to refer to these dials as Montgomery dials. Their proper description would be Canadian marginal minute dials.

In later days, we have this report on Canadian practice:

Later still, we have this quote from C.P. Rail rules:

C.P. Rail
Calgary, Alberta
December 9, 1982

Railway Grade Watches
1.7 Watch movements and cases used in service must be of the approved standard in effect at date of entry. All watches entering service must be of the antimagnetic type, fitted with 24 hour dial, waterproof, shockproof with stainless steel screw-back case and equipped with tension ring crystal. Cases with gold plating on stainless steel and stainless steel with gold top are permissible.

Employees operating in two time zones must have their railway grade watches equipped with double hour hands, one red and one black to reflect both time zones.
Courtesy Larry Buchan

By the end of the pocket watch era, after wrist watches were accepted into railway time service, the Canadian National Railway devised a dial that, properly, put a 0 In Place of the 12 and the 12 where the 24 was located. A pocket watch version of this dial has yet to come to light.

Despite being referred to as a Canadian dial, this style of dial was also used in Mexico, as shown in a 1973 Calendar print ( courtesy Larry Treiman ), and on some U.S. railroads as well. One such example is the Union Pacific Railway which switched to 24-hour schedules in the late 1880s (although this didn't seem to stay in effect for very long).

Also, single-sunk dials bearing an inner ring of 13-24 hour figures were furnished on 992Bs supplied to the military for use by U.S. Army railway battalions in Europe during WWII. These movements were marked "U.S. Govt" and were fit into chrome-plated, base metal, Keystone Watch Case Co., screw-back-and-bezel cases bearing military and government contract markings on the back.

Moorhouse Dials

Fancy Dials

Dial Images: Photo and Hand-Painted

Runic Dials

Private Label Dials

Conversion Dials

With rare exceptions, stem-wind watches were made with their stems at the 12 o'clock position to fit in open-face cases and at 3 o'clock for use in hunting-cases. When a watch is not cased as intended, the resulting orientation of the stem to the numbers and/or the seconds bit is awkward. A "conversion dial" is used in order to place a hunting-case movement in an open-face case and have the winding stem at the hour figure '12.' The configuration places the seconds bit at the 3 o'clock position and works to smooth over the stem-hour figure position mismatch. This 16-Size example was made by the Hampden Watch Co. for its model 2, grade No. 107 movement. Another example is an E. Howard & Co. conversion dial (posted by Clint Geller). Conversion dials were available from both the watch companies and from third party suppliers. Even the modest Waltham 0-size, 7-jewel, Seaside hunting movement could be fitted with a factory conversion dial (posted by orlimarko). Such dials were occasionally used in railroad time service to allow otherwise suitable hunting-case movements to be placed in open-face cases and meet the typical requirement " All watches put up in open-face cases must wind at figure 12, except such open-face watches as have heretofore passed inspection." The dial on this Waltham 18-size, model 92, Crescent St. hunting movement serves as an example of a hunting movement in an open-face case, bearing a conversion dial to comply with the rule. The rule quoted above is from Webb C. Ball's 1906 rules for a division of the Pennsylvania Rail Road, at the bottom of Section 3. Similar wording can be found in rules from across the country and over the years. A later example appears at the bottom of Section 4 of the USRA-NYC Instructions to Local Watch Inspectors, April 1, 1919.

Very occasionally, a different version of a "conversion dial" is used to place an open-face movement in a hunting case and have the stem located at the hour figure 3 that is convenient for movements in such a case. On these dials, the seconds bit ends up at the 9 o'clock position, as seen by the Elgin example in this Message Board thread posted by PhilDev, or the Waltham example posted by mikeh.

Replacement and Reproduction Dials

As the supply of original factory pocket watch dials became exhausted, a large number of third party dials were marketed to meet the demand for dials to either modernize the watches or to replace badly damaged dials. As a general rule, these were inexpensive and, since they don't really look very much like original dials, they are easily recognizable. Quite a few show up on watches and New-Old-Stock supplies were widely available in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and may still be around today. Their appearance is exemplified by this conversion dial ( posted by BCMontana ), and an Illinois conversion dial ( posted by Stephen Chen ). Collectors tend not to like these dials and their desire to "restore" their watches to "original condition" adds to the demand for remaining original dials and high quality reproduction dials.

Over the years, a large number of reproduction dials have been made. One example of an Illinois replacement dial exhibits a clear red flag to experienced collectors in addition to the overall strange appearance, Illinois didn't hyphenate the grade name Bunn-Special. For the most part, the quality of these reproduction/replacement dials was considerably below that of the original dials, and they are fairly easy to spot. A number of these were made in Switzerland and marketed by Manny Trauring in the 1980s. Pictures of what may be an example of one of these dials were posted by Dave Coatsworth, although he states that he believes it was brought in by S. LaRose. He may very well be correct, but if so, S. LaRose was selling a much better, double-pressed dial in the late 1980s or early 1990s (see below).

In very recent years, low quality reproductions of fancy dials have been emerging. Their poor appearance really stand out when compared to an original dial posted by Greg Frauenhoff.

A variation of these mass produced reproduction dials are, made-to-order, individual "refinished" dials or "re-created" dials. These dials attempt to mimic the original dial on the movement, but those with a practiced eye can easily spot them.

There is a feeling amongst some collectors that all of the replacement or reproduction dials are "Fakes" and that they hurt the hobby. To some extent, this is true, especially since many can't easily be detected on watches when seen in lower quality pictures at internet sales sites and the seller doesn't mention it. However, they are as valid a replacement part as a mainspring, only that the value of a watch bearing a replacement dial is significantly less than one with a reasonable quality original dial.

High Quality Reproduction Dials

Starting in the late 1980s, and continuing into the early 1990s, a series of high quality (reproduction) dials were imported from Switzerland (and are so marked on their backs), commissioned by S. LaRose. The term "high quality reproduction dials" is used because these are a whole order of magnitude above the earlier, lesser quality reproduction dials that are only single-sunk (or even unsunk) and not as finely finished, so much so that they look crude by comparison. One of these new, higher quality dials is now being marketed by Otto Frei (Illinois, 16 size PWD-5, No.FB-11011). It seems to have been made of a single piece of metal, impressed with double-sunk "look" which is then finished with the base surface, printing and a top gloss layer (these can be referred to as double-pressed dials). The same page also shows an example of an earlier, unsunk Illinois "Bunn-Special" dial (Illinois Bunn-Special, 18 size, No. FB-11009).

On true, original, double-sunk dials, the edges, joints, where the parts (different levels) come together are sharp and well-defined. It can be readily seen that there are three different pieces. However, the edges of the high quality reproduction dials, where the levels come together, are somewhat rounded and less distinct. If you held a high quality reproduction dial side by side to an original double-sunk dial, you'd spot the difference (which is not as easy to see in pictures) in a moment. The only way to duplicate the appearance of the original dial would be to duplicate the process, which would most likely be prohibitively expensive.

However, it should be noted that some companies, Seth Thomas for one, Ferguson for another, used original double-pressed dials. Other companies, such as Waltham, used "ground center dials" on which the center of a single-sunk dial has been ground down to create an intermediate center level (the centers of these have a slight matte appearance). There are other variations created by the watch companies who were trying to make less-expensive, more durable dials (true double sunk dials are more fragile than single-sunk, or double-pressed dials).

References

Online - Message Board Threads

Other Fancy dials appear in thread entitled "O'Hara Dial on not?"

Other Dials threads are compiled in the "Past Pocket Watch threads" posting by Fred Hansen.

Greg Frauenhoff's October, 2020 thread entitled Dials in the 1880s and the transfer process discusses the development of dial lettering during that period.


Online - Articles
Back issues of the NAWCC / Watch & Clock Bulletin are available online to NAWCC members who are currently logged in. Back issues are also available to members on loan by mail from the NAWCC Lending Library, using the Lending Library Form.

"Dials: A Treatise On The Subject," Theo. R Schwaim, NAWCC Bulletin No. 276 (February, 1992), pp. 3-19.

"The O'Hara Story - Part 1: Watch Dials," Gerrit Nijssen, NAWCC Bulletin No. 367 (April, 2007), pp. 173-###.

"The O'Hara Story - Part 2: New Products," Gerrit Nijssen, NAWCC Bulletin No. 368 (June, 2007), pp. 265-272.

"E. Howard & Company Watch Dials," Clint B. Geller, NAWCC Bulletin No. 285, August 1993, pp. 387-419.

"Vox Temporis Letters to the Editor: More on Hampden Ball Dials," Clint B. Geller, Watch & Clock Bulletin No. 388, October 2010, pp. 597-598.

"Restoring Dials with Rub-On Decal Material," Jonathan Weber, NAWCC Bulletin No. 365 (December, 2006), pp. 667-670.

"Railroaders' Corner - Dials," Ed Ueberall and Kent Singer, NAWCC Bulletin No. 321, August 1999, pp. 492-503.

The Radium Girls, Kate Moore, Sourcebooks, Naperville, IL, 2016.


Watch the video: Arabic Language -Beginners and Intermediate Video 216- Telling Time 1 (September 2022).

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