Webster Clay Ball (October 6, 1847 – 1922) was a jeweler and watchmaker born in Fredericktown, Ohio. After a two-year apprenticeship to a jeweler, Ball settled in Cleveland, Ohio to join a jewelry store. When Standard Time was adopted in 1883, he was the first jeweler to use time signals from the United States Naval Observatory, which brought accurate time to Cleveland.
In 1891 there was a collision between Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway trains at Kipton, Ohio, which occurred because an engineer’s watch had stopped. The railroad officials commissioned Webb C. Ball as their Chief Time Inspector, in order to establish precision standards and a reliable timepiece inspection system for railroad chronometers. Hence, the saying, “On the Ball.”
Webb Ball established strict guidelines for the manufacturing of sturdy and reliable precision timepieces. The watches features included resistance to magnetism, reliability of time keeping in 5 positions, isochronism, power reserve and specific dial arrangements. Ball Watch Co. also offered record keeping of the reliability of each watch on each regular inspection.
Ball Watch Co. continues the fine traditions of traditional reliability. Today Ball offers a huge range of diverse selections in a premier value range. A large variation of models and styles means that any collector is likely to find a watch that speaks to them. Ball Watch Co. continue to push the envelope. Webb Ball would be proud to see his name carried on with the zeal of his original intentions to innovate, while providing value and service. Which leaves me begging one question, are you “On the Ball?”