here's a little info on what i think the case might be
All cases marked "J. Boss" or "Jas. Boss" or having a balance (scale) as a trade mark (indicating that it is a J. Boss grade case) are gold-filled cases. The following chronology and information is from "History of the American Watch Case," Warren H. Niebling, Whitmore Publishing, Philadelphia, PA, 1971 (available on loan by mail to members from the NAWCC Lending Library
), with additional notes in blue based upon an article in an 1889 issue of The Keystone, posted by Greg Frauenhoff, 30-Apr-04
and quotes in brown, based upon the online article
"Decorative Aspects of American Horology
," by Philip Poniz, on The Antiquorum Magaizine Website
1853 - Randolf & Reese Peters were making cases in Philadelphia, employing James Boss.
1859 - J. Boss received a patent for "spinning up" cases made of "gold-filled" type material. That is, material made of a sheet of composition metal (usually brass) sandwiched between two thin sheets of gold. Boss formed cases by rolling sheet metal as opposed to the traditional method involving soldering and cutting. Rolling increased the molecule density of the metal. His patent, No. 23,820 of May 3, 1859, revolutionized the watch case industry by enabling the production of not only less expensive, but considerably stronger cases. ... Unlike gold washed cases, which were made using electroplating, cases produced by means of rolling had much harder gold surfaces and were thus less apt to wear.
1871 - J. Boss sold patent rights to John Stuckert of Philadelphia.
1875 - T.B. Hagstoz & Charles N. Thorpe formed Hagstoz & Thorpe, purchasing the manufacturing facilities (within which, 12 employees produced 6 cases per day at 618 Chesnut St.
) and "J. Boss" patent from the estate of John Stuckert. Hagstoz & Thorpe seems to have made only gold-filled cases using the J. Boss patented method.
1876+ - ... orders increased so rapidly that larger quarters became necessary immediately. The landlord of their first premises, 618 Chestnut Street, was George W. Childs, ... When Childs' learned of his tenants' need for more work space, he offered $100,000 and became a silent third partner. A new plant on Brown Street was erected ...
1877 - E. Tracy, a manufacturer of solid gold and silver watch cases, was acquired.
1880 - the company moved to a six story building on Nineteenth St., with an equal-size annex on Wylie St.
1883 - 1885 - T.B Hagstoz withdrew from the company which became C.N. Thorpe Co. and shortly thereafter it was reorganized as the Keystone Watch Case Co.
1887 - the Nineteenth St. building was almost doubled in size and a four story adjacent building was occupied by Keystone.
1889 - the firm was producing 1,500 cases per day.
Keystone then went on to absorb other case companies (and several watch companies). For example, Jerry Treiman reported in a message board thread (about a watch made by the U.S. Watch Co.) that "... the history provided in legal documents for the anti-trust case against Keystone ... states that all of the capital stock of a newly organized Philadelphia Watch Case Co. (August 1900) was owned by Keystone.
" Thus, Keystone become one of the largest case manufacturers in the country. The combined company built a large factory in Riverside, NJ
in 1907. Keystone stayed in business another 80+ years.
" or"Jas. Boss
" cases are gold-filled, guaranteed for 15 (maybe), 20 or 25 years. A 1907 Keystone Ad
shows their balance (scale) & crown trade mark used on their 25-year Jas. Boss (J. Boss) cases, and the plain balance trade mark identifying their 20-year J. Boss cases.