In an effort
to increase their skilled labor pool, The Elgin National Watch Factory
opened the Elgin Watchmakers College in 1920. The college was run as a
separate entity, but enjoyed all of the technical facilities of the
factory. During its 40 year history, the college would train more that
5,000 students. Before jewelers could practice their trade they were
required to pass The Horological Institute examinations. More of the Elgin
Watchmaker alumni passed the exam than did the graduates from any other school.
By the mid
1950's, the "throw away" watch became increasing popular. Due to
that and to other paradigm shifts, the school's enrollment waned. While
the school was set up to administer to 175 students at a time, enrollment had
dropped to under 50. The school closed their doors in 1960 and the
building was torn down in September of 1992.