Brief History: Fredonia Watch Company
Fredonia, New York
1881 - 1885
The short-lived Fredonia Watch Company derived from the Independent Watch Company (1875 - 1881) and sold finished movements which had been acquired from the Independent Watch Company (a mail-order business operated by Edward, Clarence and Frank Howard, which sold watches produced by various other manufacturers).
Fredonia only produced about 20,000 watches before being sold to the Peoria Watch Company in 1885. All watches produced were 18-size, and ranged from 7 to 15 jewel.
Fredonia produced several innovative watches, including a line of 15-jewel "anti-magnetic" watches, and a unique straight-line escapement. They also offered a "reversible" watch in a case that could be converted from hunter-style to open face by rotating the movement within the case.
No history of the Fredonia Watch Company would be complete without mention of their most famous watch, the "Mark Twain," an 11-jewel key-wind model that was introduced to the world in 1882 with the following announcement:
"Born at 2 o'clock p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 1st , the "Mark Twain" gilt key-winding movement. The child is vigorous and healthy, and there seems to be a large and increasing number of him. His parents are proud of him, and he already promises to become as universal a favorite as his illustrious namesake."
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) was one of the investors in the Fredonia Watch Company, though not a particularly happy one. For more information on Clemens' role in the Fredonia Watch Company, and his general disdain for watches and "watch tinkers," please read here.