Here’s to… more research! I’ve relentlessly tried to learn more about that whimsical antique watch fob chain since I last wrote, and while learning a little bit about that style fob chain, I’ve learned little about this one in particular except that it is fob-ulous!
The little panels have pictures and little ditties on both sides so I’ll begin by describing those:
The first panel reads “here’s to our wives & sweethearts, may they never meet” and on the reverse is the American flag.
The second panel reads “here’s to love, the only fire against which there is no insurance” with a little winged person. On the reverse is “wine and women, mirth and laughter, sermons and soda the day after” with a well dressed gentleman lifting his glass to a well dressed curvy woman.
The third panel reads “the bubble winked at me and said, I’ll miss you brother when you are dead” with a gentleman, sitting in a chair, raising his glass in toast. On the reverse are the words “good form but not formality” surrounding a curvy woman.
The last panel depicts a beer stein, with a lid presumedly to keep insects out of the beer, and on the reverse it reads “the good die young, here’s to your ripe old age.”
I’ve found that it likely dates back to between 1890 and 1910, during the art nouveau period, this based on similar fob examples from that period. Interestingly, between 1905 – 1909 one could purchase a similar gentlemen’s fob, with an Egyptian hieroglyphic design, from the Sear’s Roebuck catalog for $0.10 each. Ahh! Inflation! I actually have this Egyptian design fob chain in my personal collection. Two, actually, though I’m not sure why.
Other examples were advertising fobs, with the 4 panels and the round medallion at the bottom:
~ for Majestic Stoves at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis,
~ another 1904 St. Loius World’s Fair panel fob advertising Cascade Gardens,
~ a 1905 panel fob for the Lewis and Clark Expo & Reinhard Brewery,
~ a 1906 panel fob for New Departure Bristol CT Model A Coaster Hub Brake Bicycle,
~ one advertising Teddy Roosevelt and the Panama Canal,
~ and, one for the Los Angeles Commandery No.9 Saratoga, 1907 with scenes of LA buildings, the beach and oranges. I have this one, too, though I’ll leave the research for another time.
Watch fob chains have been popular since the 16th century as a means to connect a pocket watch to a buttonhole or waistcoat so that the pocket watch could quickly be retrieved from the pocket. As time passed, the fobs and fob chains became more decorative, jewelry like and more of a fashion statement.
History made fun and wearable!
The toasts watch fob chain bracelets are listed in my etsy shop and right here on suegrayjewelry.com … just click on the photos to visit.