Springfield, IL (6/27/2018) - You cannot drive around and look for it. There are no signs to follow. In fact, you may just end up finding it by accident, like we did! But if you enjoy history and want to see the largest, most complete collection of timepieces manufactured by the Illinois Watch Company, you will not want to miss it!
The Illinois Watch Company exhibit is the work of Farrell and Ann Gay, including all types of timepieces produced over the years until the company was purchased by Hamilton Watch Company of Lancaster, PA, in 1928.
The museum is located in the basement level of the Elijah Iles home in Springfield, Illinois. When you first descend into the exhibit, the pocket watch display is the first to greet you at the bottom of the stairs. The slideshow below includes views of the pocket watches included in this well-designed display:
Of course, one of the most diverse items, each reflecting the changes in times and fashion over the nearly half-century in which the company produced timepieces, was the vast collection of wristwatches. Rows of display cases, carefully organized by styles and eras, take up much of the open central area of the large basement level. From time-to-time, Farrell would do off-site exhibits of some of the collection, until a couple of the showcases were stolen when members helped him set up for a showing at a Springfield church years ago. The slideshow below has the display cases pictured:
Now, of course, watches were very convenient for those who were mobile--work, play, travel, and so forth--but Illinois Watch Company also designed and manufactured clocks for home and office! I was impressed with the expansive collection of clocks of all types held in the museum. From elegant, smaller, table pieces to large, hanging pieces, and everything in-between, this collection was magnificent. The slideshow below includes highlights of the clock collection:
The images presented here are a taste of the remarkable museum that Mr. & Mrs. Gay have assembled over the years and opened to the public for viewing. I would hope that visitors to Springfield, Illinois will take the time to spend an hour or two learning about the history of these time pieces from the expertise of Farrell Gay.
He is, as attested to by other experts in time pieces, THE expert on Illinois Watch Company time pieces!
Museum of Springfield History
Located at the Elijah Iles Home
628 S. 7th Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Hours of Operation
Closed Dec 16th thru March
Cost: Donations accepted