[Ads-l] Fw: [C18-L] watch piece

Joel Berson berson at ATT.NET
Mon Aug 15 18:03:05 UTC 2016

What does "watch piece" in the quotation below mean?  It's apparently very uncommon before 1899 (Google Books), and one of only two Ghits is metaphorical ("a watch Piece of Sophiftry").

Not in the OED as a term or in a quotation?


----- Forwarded Message -----
 From: Scott Gordon <spg4 at LEHIGH.EDU>
 To: C18-L at LISTS.PSU.EDU 
 Sent: Monday, August 15, 2016 1:32 PM
 Subject: [C18-L] watch piece
Dear list members,

When somebody in the eighteenth century refers to a "watch piece"--as in "my hearty thanks for the Trouble you have taken with the Watch Piece and assure you I will not fail sending you in Return a Piece of my own Work"--to what exactly are they referring? Could it be a hand-made chain of some sort that would attach to the watch? Or a small hand-made item that would be saved inside the case of a watch? I am finding only that "watch piece" was used often to mean the watch itself, which is not what is meant in the quotation above. (That is, I don't think the letter writer received a watch.)

With thanks in advance for your help,


Scott Paul Gordon
Andrew W. Mellon Chair
Professor of English
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015
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