Monday, February 9, 2009

WW1 Boy Scout Watch Fob Discovered!

Unadilla Scouter James Beers discovered an unique item while gardening behind his home on Watson Street, Unadilla, NY--a Boy Scout watch fob, the little "adornment or medallion" that hangs from a watch chain (or strap) and provides a ready tab to remove the watch from your watch pocket to check the time. The fob Jim discovered is similar in design to those illustrated in a 1918 Scouting catalog in our Unadilla Boy Scout Museum. It is amusing to speculate that this particular fob might have been lost by a Unadilla Scout while tilling his garden of vegetables during WW1 to heed the call, "Every Scout to Feed a Soldier".

Originally sold for $1-2 each, Boy Scout watch fobs are valued at upwards of $125 today. Wrist watches are the watch of today but this was not the case when Yale Lyon founded his Unadilla Troop 1 in 1910. The standard then was the pocket watch. It only seemed fitting that the new Boy Scouts of America help identify its members with distinctive watch fobs. The fob is a medallion that hangs from a leather strap to which your watch was attached. The fob could hang out of your pocket and make a 'statement' about the organization you belonged to while making it easier when the time came to reach for your watch!

All watch fobs that are Scout related are quite scarce. The ones made by the BSA were considered fine jewelry, typically gold filled or plated, of sterling silver or enameled. Although regularly listed in Scout equipment catalogs up to WW II, adding to their scarcity today, they were only sold to registered Scouts and Leaders; orders for them had to be properly signed.

Pictured is Jim's Boy Scout Watch Fob,with crossed flags, rifle and fire horn; c. 1910s. Neat!

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