Watch Paper Inserts, 1700-1900s

22 Jun

I had never heard of these until now. Their use is best summed up by an article from 1948:
“Watchpapers were discs that were used by Georgian and Victorian watchmakers, they were used to prevent dust from entering through the keyhole and were put between the watch and the outer case.” Of course they slowly involved into a valuable ad space. Hop inside the post to read more about the history of these and how they were used. It’s actually pretty interesting.

More images and history inside the post!

I had never heard of these until now. Their use is best summed up by an article from 1948:
“Watchpapers were discs that were used by Georgian and Victorian watchmakers, they were used to prevent dust from entering through the keyhole and were put between the watch and the outer case.

At first they were made from linen, but eventually white paper, pink, green, or yellow paper became the standard. Later the watchpapers were engraved and decorated with a horological motto, or verse…Many of these watchpapers have the mottoes that a loved one would have engraved for special occasions.

The development of the watchpapers can be broken down into 4 stages, the first has announcements from the early 19th century. The second, is whimsical and sometimes religious pieces, like The Lord’s Prayer, which has been printed on embossed paper. The third is a lithographed example that still shows allegiance to Thorne’s fat face type from the late 19th century. And the final stage is a modern example, small and practical, without being too overly decorative, like in previous generations.”

Here is an example of a motto that would be used:
Behold, O Mortal Man
How Swift thy Moments fly,
Thy Life is but a span,
Prepare, Prepare to die.

These particular examples date back as far as the late 1700s. They’re so gorgeous I’d never want to throw mine away! It makes me wonder how people felt about them back in the day- were these beautiful prints just like junk mail to them? I also noticed that a few of these show the months of the year but only have a few seemingly random numbers and reference the sun being faster or slower..very curious.

Via Bibliodessey -he has some great resources and additional images on his site.

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