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

Peter Reitan pjreitan at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Aug 15 18:55:30 UTC 2016

It appears to be an artistic piece placed inside the watch.

"This watch was his father's.  Within the case was a watch-piece, embroidered by Arthur's mother before she was married.  On it were two cupids with purple robes, cuddling together within a wreath, waving a tiny evergreen."

Louisa Whitney, Goldie's Inheritance: A Story of the Siege of Atlanta, Burlington Vermont, Free Press Association, 1903, page 23. HathiTrust.

HathiTrust also has a few early 1800s poems written on the occasion of giving or receiving a "watch-piece."  The introduction of one of those poems seems to describe something similar:

To my young niece, MIss Serene F --- who sent me a watch-piece, on which was painted an elegant basket of fruit, bestrewed with beautiful flowers; around it were these lines: - "this basket I fill, and present it to you, For whom my affection is ardent and true."

The fruit which in your basket came,
Though artificial, dear;
In taste, in fragrance, and in name,
The sweetest of the year. . . . .

William Ray, Poems, on various subjects . . ., Auburn, NY, Doubleday, 1821.
William Ray served on the USS Philadelphia when it was taken by Barbary Pirates in 1803, and he was held prisoner in Tripoli for two years.

> Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2016 18:03:05 +0000
> From: berson at ATT.NET
> Subject: Fw: [C18-L] watch piece
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Joel Berson <berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Fw: [C18-L] watch piece
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> What does "watch piece" in the quotation below mean?=C2=A0 It's apparently =
> very uncommon before 1899 (Google Books), and one of only two Ghits is meta=
> phorical ("a watch Piece of Sophiftry").
> Not in the OED as a term or in a quotation?
> Joel
>     =20
> ----- Forwarded Message -----
>  From: Scott Gordon <spg4 at LEHIGH.EDU>
>  To: C18-L at LISTS.PSU.EDU=20
>  Sent: Monday, August 15, 2016 1:32 PM
>  Subject: [C18-L] watch piece
>   =20
> Dear list members,
> When somebody in the eighteenth century refers to a "watch piece"--as in "m=
> y hearty thanks for the Trouble you have taken with the Watch Piece and ass=
> ure you I will not fail sending you in Return a Piece of my own Work"--to w=
> hat 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 sav=
> ed inside the case of a watch? I am finding only that "watch piece" was use=
> d often to mean the watch itself, which is not what is meant in the quotati=
> on above. (That is, I don't think the letter writer received a watch.)
> With thanks in advance for your help,
> Scott
> -------
> Scott Paul Gordon
> Andrew W. Mellon Chair
> Professor of English
> Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 18015
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