VIEW-24718 | Display of watches for Desbarats Printing, 1929

Display of watches for Desbarats Printing, 1929
Wm. Notman & Son
1929, 20th century
Silver salts on film - Gelatin silver process
24 x 19 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Miscellaneous (671) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

At the end of the 19th century, Canadians are becoming more and more aware of the importance of planning their time.

In 1865 in France, Pierre Martin introduces a new method for producing fine steel like that used in the mechanisms of watches. Before then, considered luxury items, pocket watches, which are attached to a chain and tucked away in the pocket of a man's suit, become more and more commonplace and affordable.

Watches of all sizes soon appear. Some are even meant to be attached to a billfold, reminding the owner that "time is money".

It is not until 1904, however, that the Cartier studio in Paris invents the wristwatch.

Faced with shift work, increasing pressure to speed up production, the expansion of international trade, public transportation schedules, people are increasingly caught up in a whirlwind of activities requiring that they keep track of time. Fortunately, they now have access to watches to help them do exactly that.

Source : Brand New and Wonderful: The Rise of Technology [Web tour], by Jacques G. Ruelland, Université de Montréal (see Links)

  • What

    In the middle of the upper row in this display can be seen a Santos, the wristwatch designed by Louis Cartier in 1904 in Paris for the Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. It was the first wristwatch ever made.

  • Where

    In his print shop in Montreal, G.-É. Desbarats abandons himself to a private passion for clocks. He owns a magnificent collection of them. Although this window display dates from 1929, we know that Desbarats was displaying watches and clocks in his shop window in Montreal by 1880.

  • When

    The Daily Graphic, founded in New York in 1873 by Georges-Édouard Desbarats, is the first newspaper to publish photographs. Desbarats, who is keenly interested in everything to do with modern technological, also founds in Montreal the Canadian Illustrated News (1869), Canadian Patent Office Record (1873) as well as Mechanic's Magazine (1879) and Dominion Illustrated (1888).

  • Who

    Georges-Édouard Desbarats, a publisher and printer, and his engraver, William Leggo, invent halftone engraving in 1869.