The Ingersoll -Waterbury
Clock Company History
To handle the many requests from various
businesses to put Mickey Mouse on Disney products, Herman "Kay" Kamen
was hired as full-time manager and promotional salesperson in 1932. Under Kamen's leadership, sales of Mickey Mouse merchandise skyrocketed to
several million dollars in just 4 years. The master salesman
single-handedly changed Disney merchandising.
The idea for a Mickey Mouse watch was
developed by Kamen, who sold the concept to the Ingersoll-Waterbury
Clock Company of Connecticut. The first Mickey Mouse wrist watch was
produced by the Ingersoll-Waterbury company in 1933. The dial read:
"Mickey Mouse Ingersoll". It originally sold for $3.75, then was reduced
to $2.75. The company later announced that Mickey
Mouse saved the company from sure bankruptcy.
On the first day of release, 11,000 sold at
Macy's New York department store. After eight weeks of production,
Ingersoll added 2,700 people to its 300-employee workforce.
At the Century of Progress Exposition in
Chicago in 1933, Ingersoll established a mini-factory where visitors to
the World's Fair could order a watch, see it created and receive it
right away. The Mickey Mouse watch became the thing to wear at the
World's Fair and all across the United States. By 1935 Ingersoll happily
paid Disney a quarter of a million dollars in licensing fees as some
2.5 million Mickey Mouse watches by then had been sold.
In 1949, the 5-millionth Mickey Mouse watch
was sold.......unfortunately the same year Kamen was killed in an
In 1957, at a special ceremony at
Disneyland, Walt Disney was presented with the 25th million Mickey Mouse