|Famous for||The term ‘on the ball’ stems from the founder of the Ball Watch Company, Webster C Ball|
Ball Watch’s origins lie with the development of the American railway system. Before trains became mainstream transport for people and cargo, there was no real need for precise timekeeping. Communities kept their own time and there was no national, let alone international, standard.
But synched time is necessary to make the rails run on time and for railway safety, and by 1883 the US railway industry had agreed to split the nation into four time zones and adopt Standard Time.
Following this agreement, Webb C Ball, a jeweller based in Ohio, became the first jeweller to use the time signals, bringing accurate time to Cleveland. Following the Kipton Disaster of 1891, a railway tragedy which occurred because an engineer’s watch was inaccurate, Ball was appointed Chief Inspector for the lines, and took the decision to introduce regular watch checks and standardisation for all railroad workers – these checks insured that there was never more than 30 seconds’ difference among all workers’ watches. His jewellery business grew to become the Ball Watch Company – now one of the United States’ most established watch brands for men and women. The watch dial continues to follow Ball’s design guidelines for the railway watch and the company still carries the tagline: Since 1891, accuracy under adverse conditions.