In 1882 brothers Robert Hawley and Charles Henry Ingersoll launched a mail order business based in New York City. Ten years later they began supplying watches and in 1896 they introduced the 'Yankee', priced at US$1. In 1904 Ingersoll opened a store in London and set up a subsidiary company. Originally parts were imported from the US and assembled here, but it was decided later to manufacture watches for the UK market entirely at the new factory, near Angel tube station. In the US Ingersoll collapsed during the recession that followed the First World War but in the UK the company managed to survive. It had its headquarters at the appropriately-named Ingersoll House at 7-9 Kingsway, and it is at the back of that particular building that the sign below can be seen.
After the Second World War Ingersoll joined forces with Smiths Industries Ltd and, temporarily, Vickers Armstrong to form the Anglo-Celtic Watch Company Ltd, which opened a brand new factory in Ystradgynlais near Swansea. In 1969 Ingersoll pulled out of the venture.
4 Kean Street
Even though I had walked along Kean Street on countless occasions before 2008, I had failed to notice this sign. Then one day I had a last look at the back of Crown House next door, which was about to be demolished, and spotted it.
Location: Kean Street / Picture taken on: 08/10/2008