Record Unit 9548, Waltham Clock Company, Waltham Clock Company Interviews, 1989
The Waltham Clock Company of Waltham, Massachusetts, the modern successor to the first American watch manufacturer, Waltham Watch Company, was founded in 1850. Waltham employees pioneered the machines and techniques necessary for the mass-production of pocket watches that made the company the dominant American watchmaking manufacturer in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The electronics revolution, beginning in the early 1970s, made mechanical watches and watchmakers nearly obsolete. At the time of the video recording, Waltham Clock was the last firm in the U.S. still producing mechanical watches. Employees made government-specified aircraft "clocks" (actually large eight-day mechanical watches), similar to ones originally designed during World War II, for installation in extremely high-technology cockpits. These mechanical timekeepers served as back-up in case of failure of the electronic timekeeping and navigation instruments in the cockpit.