Sunday, September 2, 2012


Here is a mystery.  A pocket watch with the monogram "A H H" was lost at the Kansas State Fair in 1905 or thereabouts.  It must have fallen off of its chain because the crystal was smashed and the face of the watch took such a jar from the fall that the sub second hand was lost.  It left a nasty gouge in the enamel face of the watch.

A young couple at the fair found the watch.  As they could see, it was a pretty object, and one that must have held some meaning to the unknown "A H H" whose monogram it held.  Try as they might, they were unable to locate the owner.  At the end of the day, the broken watch went home with them.  And was placed in a drawer for safe keeping.  And remained there until the young wife became a mother and grandmother.  Eventually, she passed the watch along to her son.  Who is our "Papa"--and who showed me the watch for the first time, last evening at supper.

We looked at it under the magnifying glass to see if there was anything more to learn.  We learned that the back of the watch (which seems to be a screw-type back) was also jarred in the event that broke the crystal and damaged the face.  If you try to open it, as we tried, you will find it a chore.  The threads seem to be jammed too tight at one spot and spread out at another.  We never got the watch to open. 

The front of the watch also has some initials on it, which make up the logo of the watch.  "D. S. & C." is what it reads.  A somewhat exhaustive search on the Internet brought only one other watch forward with this same logo, a watch that was offered for sale on Ebay earlier this year, and the watch company was given as "D. S. & C. Watch Specialties Co."  No clue as to what the D or S stand for, where the watch company factory may have been, or the other kinds of things one would want to know.   (Update: the mark is actually from Dietrich Gruen and Sons, so the well-known Swiss watch maker. What looks like a C is really a G for Gruen.  Now that I know that, I can see the little tail on the G just as plain as day, can't you?).

As for this watch and whether it is repairable, well, it is hard to guess.  The watch that was listed on Ebay was in good working order and it sold for a very modest price, perhaps less by two or three times than it would cost to repair this one.

I like mysteries and to try to solve them, and when a mystery involved history, that is even better (I enjoy the show "History Detectives").  So I may do more research as time goes pun intended. 

In the meantime one wonders about "A H H" and that day at the Kansas State Fair.  It is sad that on a happy day, he lost something of real and of sentimental value.  I suppose that he had no idea that the watch had fallen from its chain, and that he was much too preoccupied having a grand time at the fair to notice.  He might have forgotten to wonder what time is was, as we all do when we are enjoying ourselves and the hours slip silently past.  Who knows how many hours later--perhaps when he was at last at home and about to retire for the night--when he went to put the watch in its customary place, or wind it for the next days--that he learned it was gone. 

I wonder how each of us deals with the passing of time?  So that we make the hours and minutes count, for good and for God?  I think of that good old hymn:

My heart is weak and poor
until it master find;
it has no spring of action sure,
it varies with the wind.
It cannot freely move
till thou hast wrought its chain;
enslave it with thy matchless love,
and deathless it shall reign.

What a wonderful hymn lyric that needs to be pronounced correctly for us to get it right:

"It varies with the wind."  Wind is to rhyme with find.  (So many people think it is the breeze kind of wind but it is not, it has to do with watches that are wound--wind!).  And then the image of "spring of action sure" and "thou has wrought its chain" make so much sense.  It is all about a watch! 

Very cool.

May you never fall far from God.  May you never know that jarring feeling of being lost and alone.  May you never lose your purpose in God's plan. 

May God "wrought" your chain, and keep you very close and very connected to Him, this day and always, so that you can be and do all God has planned for you.

P. S. To see a VERY COOL vintage post card of the crowd at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, in 1905, in which key figures in this watch story might be pictured, please visit the link below.  Who knows, maybe the carriage ran over the watch?


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