In 1943 L.D. Stallcup was a Certified Master Horologist living in Nashville, Tennessee. He collected odd movements, and felt that watch collectors should get acquainted to exchange ideas and trade duplicates. Robert Franks was a Philadelphian, so hungry for horological news and association that he would travel to New York City to attend meetings of the Horological Society of New York. Henry B. Fried was in the group. Others also came - there was no other such place where kindred souls might meet - Jack Fuchs, Professor Willis Milham, Jean Roehnch, and Dr. Karl Vogel were regular members. Cultural and antiquarian horology was Robert Franks' chief concern. With L.D. Stallcup and another Tennessean, L.E. Coleman, they mailed one hundred copies of a Watch Collectors' Club prospectus. These five typed pages were later considered BULLETIN # 1. Forty-three persons responded and enrolled in this new organization. Requests to include clocks resulted in a name change. The National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors was used in BULLETIN # 2 dated November 8, 1943. National officers were elected. The Philadelphia Watchmakers' Guild became Chapter # 1, as it had been founded prior to NAWCC. The first Annual Meeting (later to be called Convention) was held in Philadelphia on October 28, 1944. A draft of the Constitution and Bylaws was compiled.
The first NAWCC headquarters
Since 1943 this nonprofit organization has grown from 52 Charter Members to an international organization with over 16,000 members from 52 countries and 170 Chapters. NAWCC publishes two bimonthly periodicals, the WATCH & CLOCK BULLETIN and the MART & HIGHLIGHTS. "Why Columbia?" is the most often asked question about the location of the Association's National Headquarters. The connection started in 1952 when Earl T. Strickler of Columbia, Pennsylvania (located off Route 30 just 80 miles west of Philadelphia) was elected Secretary. He organized and was caretaker of all the Association records. In 1953 be was named BULLETIN Editor. He carried out all of these duties in the basement of his home. As NAWCC grew, he hired employees and rented office space. In 1971, with membership nearing 12,000, a separate building was purchased at 514 Poplar Street. It became the Headquarters office. Prior to 1971 Mr. Strickler maintained his own private museum in his residence. In 1971 NAWCC formed a Museum Acquisitions Committee to solicit donations. In 1977 doors opened to the public to an 8,000 square foot gallery. In 1985 a gallery addition doubled the existing exhibit and library space. In 1998 the Museum was again expanded. A large addition was added to the building with new office space for the staff, and the Museum was expanded to fill in the entire old building.