Federal Reserve Watch Clock, 1927

[Audio tour #404] In 1920, the New York Fed’s law enforcement unit was known as “The Protection Section” and was comprised of 106 men protecting the bank’s premises and business operations. In addition to their duties on post, the guards were also responsible for guarding the incoming and outgoing shipments of money and securities, and they often accompanied messengers around the city when collections were taken. The guards’ training was upgraded in 1920, with the help of an NYPD captain and a retired US Army drill sergeant. The military drills proved to be so successful that they were made a regular part of the department’s operations. The guards sometimes carried watch clocks, such as the 1927 Detex Newman example shown here, which is from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s Baltimore branch. Watch clocks such as this were reliable and portable and were commonly used by law enforcement individuals for logging checkpoints during their patrols.

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