In 1882, Robert Hawley Ingersoll and his brother Charles Henry opened a mail order business (R H Ingersoll & Bros) in New York City selling value items such as rubber stamps and envelopes. From these humble beginnings came the Ingersoll Watch Company. The first watches were introduced into the Ingersoll catalogue in 1892, and initially supplied by the Waterbury Clock Company.

Robert Ingersoll’s vision was to provide a timepiece which everyone could afford. In 1892, in close co-operation with Henry Ford, the brothers succeeded in developing an automated production line, which achieved the goal of making watches available to the ‘everyday man’. This method was first applied to pocket watch production and later to wrist watches.