West and Front
In 1864, The
National Watch Company would receive its first license. The idea of opening a watch factory in Elgin
was the idea of J. C. Adams. After visiting The Waltham Watch
Company (in Massachusetts) Adams realized that there was no city in the Midwest
that employed a similar trade. He approached ex-mayor Chicago Mayor Benjamin W. Raymond,
about investing start-up money. Through the help of Governor John P.
Altgeldt and the people of Elgin, plans were underway.
A location on the Dexter
farm south of the city at The Fox
River was selected as the site for the factory. Silvanus Wilcox, Walter L.
Pease, Henry Sherman and Benjamin Raymond (nicked-named "The Four
Immortals") would purchase the 171-acre site for $50 an acre. They convinced
7 experienced watchmakers from Waltham (nick-named "The Seven Stars") to oversee their new business venture.
They were promised a five-year contract at five thousand dollars a year, a five thousand
dollar bonus and an acre of land.