Friday, November 30, 2007

The First Elgin Watch

This is the first in a series of posts about pocket watches. There are three Elgins, an Ingersoll Reliance, and an Enicar. First, the cream of the crop, the Elgin that still runs.

Currently wrapped in paper towels and a Ziplock bag, this UFO is nestled in the bottom of a plastic food container. This shiny UFO has a plethora of things to tell besides the time. In years past, this likely resided in the vest pocket (or overall pocket) of a railroad employee by the name of Benjamin Richard.

Gold in color, this round watch shows signs of use and possibly abuse. The front glass/plastic cover is intact but needs cleaning. The hours are marked in clear, bold, black numbers with the minutes marked in red to the outside of the hours. The hour numbers all face in one direction (up-with the winder being the top) while the minutes are all facing the center of the watch face. Where hour number 6 should be is a second dial for seconds. These face the same direction as the hour numbers.

The hour and minute hands are black, shiny, and shaped like the spade in a deck of cards at the end. The hand for seconds is straight.

Both hour and second faces are white with black hashes for the seconds, minutes, and hours. Just above the number 7 hour, a small piece of the enamel has broken off. Near the 11 hour mark, there is a crack that splits to either side of the 56 minute mark. The face is double sunk, meaning the hour/minute dial is sunk and the second dial is sunk separately.

The front cover is removed by unscrewing it counter-clockwise. Under the cover is a single string of numbers, 9753341.

The rear of the watch has an undetermined pattern engraved on it. It appears to contain flowers and is geometric in nature.

The rear cover is removed by unscrewing it counter-clockwise as well. On the reverse of the cover are several markings and numbers. The inner workings also have several numbers and letters.

This watch does work but the UFO Team has been hesitant to wind it for any extended period of time. One minor twist did produce enough to prove it works.

Unique Marks:
Under the front cover, on the watch (but not the cover) - 9753341 - located between 5 and 6 hour marks.

Under the back cover, on the reverse of the cover (from top to bottom) - Keystone Watchcase, [a keystone symbol], [a scale symbol], J. Boss, 10K gold filled, 1644-J*, 9744616, 4883[reverse J]*, 12V3X423 [located to the right of center] - *Hand engraved numbers

Under the back cover, on the inner workings - B. W. Raymond, Elgin, Ill. U. S. A., 11628652, Safety Barrel, 19 Jewels, Adjusted

Benjamin Richard was an employee of the Union Pacific Railroad Company for many years. This particular watch was produced in 1904 and is considered a Grade 240. Grade 240 was also known as the Veritas BWR (for Benjamin Wright Raymond, the first president of the Elgin National Watch Company). Technical specifications are as follows (Those more technically inclined can view the same information here.):

- Model 8
- Class 91
- double sunk open face
- stem wound
- lever set
- Size 18
- 3/4 plate
- nickel finish with damaskeening
- 19 jewels
- adjusted to 5 positions
- 5 beats per second
- railroad grade

After Benjamin Richard, the next likely owner was his son, Claud. From there, the ownership becomes as muddled and hard to read as the dirt and grime from years of history coat the watch face with mystery and dull the hands of time.



- Copious amounts of information retrieved from

Special Thanks:
- Special thanks to Kurt R. A. Giambastiani. This private hobbyist and watch uber-enthusiast is also known for his popular Fallen Cloud saga books and for being an all-around great guy.

Jewelry Box

This UFO was last seen in the bottom of the sock drawer. Or the underwear drawer. Seeing as both potential locations bear a striking resemblance, the UFO Team was unable to determine exactly which location it came from. After countless hours of research, we have been able to discover the previous owner.

The item is square with a hinged lid. The exterior is covered in a polyester-like material that has a slight metallic shimmer to it. The exterior is also labeled with the previous owner's name on a standard label maker label. The interior has a silk-like fabric lining the top and a felt covered cardboard material in the bottom. Attached to the bottom are two pins.

The left pin is round with a base color of brass. The pin has a crescent shaped moon with two circles and two stars inside the moon. [Assuming the moon is at the bottom of the pin, the right most point of the moon is connected to a flower. At the top of the pin is a green, red, and blue design of unknown origin. The green area looks like a letter "T" that flares out at the bottom in both directions. There is a red circle on the left and a blue line in the middle. Between the green "T" and the moon is some sort of ribbon design.] After further research, it was discovered that this pin was a Rebekah lapel pin. The crescent moon is actually on the right side and the green "T" is actually a green "R."

The right pin is round and bears the words "PAST GRAND" in an arch across the top. At the bottom, between the "P" in PAST and the "D" in GRAND are three interlocking circles. From left to right, each circle is filled with a different color, red, white, and blue respectively. In the middle of the pin is a five pointed star filled with white.

Unique Marks:
The exterior of the box is labeled with the name "CLAUD RICHARD," the previous owner. Inside, the right pin is marked "PAST GRAND."

The right pin inside is labeled as "PAST GRAND" and bears one of the emblems of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF). You can gather some history about the Order from their website. You can also read the article below about the previous owner obtaining the rank of Noble Grand.


- International Order of Odd Fellows, Retrieved on November 29, 2007 from
- International Order of Odd Fellows, Retrieved on November 29, 2007 from
- Phoenix Masonry, Retrieved on November 29, 2007 from
- Dawson County Herald, Installation By Rebekahs And Odd Fellows, January 22, 1973, Page 6.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Knuckle Dusters

Likely last used by a farmer with an attitude in central Nebraska. Possibly on that stubborn mule that simply would not move fast enough. Discovered while rummaging through a dirty tote of family heirlooms. Currently resides in an undisclosed location until the legal staff at Unidentified Family Objects determines the legality of possessing this item.

Not brass. Not rusty enough to be cast iron. Likely steel or some hard-metal alloy.

Unique Marks:

Unknown. For more information about brass knuckles in general, check out a book like History of Knuckle Dusters by David Grant.


- Paladin Press, Retrieved November 27, 2007 from
-, Retrieved November 27, 2007 from

Monday, November 26, 2007

The First UFO

The First UFO was discovered in the bottom of a dusty and dirty tote. Well, the tote was clean, but everything inside was dirty enough to leave a thin coating of grime everywhere. It originated on a farm just south of Oconto, Nebraska, a small town in the center of the state.

The front is gold in color with a raised design on the front that has a red background. The design appears to be water fountain with flowers. The back has an engraving that says "DUSKA" and below it "Langlois, New York." The "DUSKA" appears to be in a different font. The cover is held by a clasp that opens easily. Inside is a hinged mirror-like flap. Both sides are reflective metal. The rear of the design is visible inside. There also appears to be a residue of some sort inside that is a powder of pinkish-white in color.

Unique Marks:
The front has a fountain with flowers. The rear has "DUSKA" engraved as well as "Langlois, New York."

Based on various web-sites, this was an Art Deco Compact. The following description is from

"This lovely gold and red enameled metal Langlois Duska Art Deco compact, from the early 1920's, still contains, on the inside, the original mirror. The front features a gold embossed fountain over a red enamel background - the back features, in gold, a honeycomb design and a small square medallion etched with - DUSKA - Langlois - New York. Measures about 2 1/4 inches in diameter x about 1/4 inch in height and although a little worn with age, is otherwise in excellent condition."


Reference:, Retrieved November 26, 2007 from,duska-langlois-art,1201102.html


Hello everyone!

I'd like to first thank you for stopping by my little corner of the universe.

My father and I recently went through some of the family heirlooms he acquired from a recent trip to the family farm. We knew what some of the items were, but didn't know much about them. Their history like where they came from; when the came from; who they came from. You get the idea. Thus, Unidentified Family Objects was born.

Seeing as I couldn't find anyone doing anything similar, you're stuck with me! You can help me identify my heirlooms and I'll help you identify yours.

So stay tuned for the first UFO!