1870 – 1876
The Cornell Watch Company was led by real-estate agent Paul Cornell after purchasing the Newark Watch Company. The company originated in Grand Crossings, Illinois but relocated to San Francisco in 1874. The only difference between the Chicago pocket watches versus the ones manufactured in San Francisco was the older models did not have a solid pillar plate. The Chicago made watches were also named while the San Francisco ones were not.
At the time of the move, the company took on the name the Cornell Watch Company of San Francisco. With the main purpose of the move being the cheap Chinese labor available in the San Francisco, Cornell only took 60 of his most skilled workers with him when he relocated the factory. Unhappy with Cornell’s decisions to utilize cheap Chinese labor, his skilled workers went on strike and he was forced to change his tactics.
The company did not have a long history in watch making as they were only producing 15 pocket watches a day, even with 100 employees. By the end of its six years, the company was so heavily in debt, they were forced to shut down and come back as the California Watch Company.
Images provided by: oldwatch.com