"beyond Springfield & Moscow"
Alan F. Garratt
Following his dismissal Don Mozart moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he became the catalyst around which a new Mozart Watch Company would be formed. It's not clear if the Ann Arbor company used the name with or without the consent of the original Providence company (by now called the New York Watch Company). Whatever the case was, in business terms the Mozart name would have had little value, perhaps would even be seen as a liability - which indeed it turned out to be.
Don Mozart is now Superintendent of the Ann Arbor concern. The capital stock was two hundred thousand dollars and the incorporators who joined Mozart were local businessmen. W. A. Benedict, C. T. Wilmot, W. W. Wheedon, A. J. Southerland and Charles Tripp. A factory was rented and machinists hired to build the necessary machinery. The movement was the same "three-wheeled” one which he tried to have the Mozart Company, of Providence, introduce. Obstacles of various kinds began to present themselves and the progress of the work did not please the stockholders. Nearly three years had elapsed since the organisation of the company and again there was no fruits to show for the labour and money expended. Funds began to run short and in the winter of 1870 the stockholders decided to sell out if a buyer could be found. Some thirty odd movements were finished at this time, all of them given to stockholders and friends; none were placed on the market. Some of the watches made at Ann Arbor have survived, as per Jon Hanson's example pictured in the 'Origins' page.
At this time the “Rock Island Watch Company” was organised in Rock Island, Illinois and after an inspection of the Mozart Watch Co. machinery they decided to purchase it. The price paid for the plant was $40,000 plus $25,000 in stock of the new company and a note for the balance. No available site could be found for the factory at Rock Island and accordingly the town of Milan, some seven miles below the city, was selected as a fitting place for the factory. The watch movement chosen for the
How the Don Mozart story ends.
Company was somewhat like the Mozart movement. After the machinery was moved to Milan and placed on the floor of the new building, the stockholders came to the conclusion that it was not just what they wanted. Accordingly they refused to pay the notes for $15,000. The Mozart Company sent a representative to Milan to sort things out, which resulted in the return of the machinery to the Mozart Company and the payment of $5,000.
In 1874 the “Freeport Watch Company” was formed in Freeport, Illinois, with capital of $250,000 by some ‘businessmen’ (draw your own conclusions) from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Freeport, Illinois. Part of the old Mozart plant was purchased for $51,000; $1,000 cash and $50,000 in stock in the new company. A brick building was erected in Freeport, 40 x 100 feet and the machinery moved into it. This company never manufactured many movements as the factory was burned down on the night of October 21, 1875 and the building and contents were a total loss. The company were insured for $30,000.
Don Mozart was unemployed and had trouble managing his affairs and had ceased his connection to any watch making business. He had returned to the jewellry trade where he tinkered with a new watch design. This watch movement wound itself for a days operation by being opened and closed five times. But he was said to have lost his mind completely when he took the watch to pieces and later couldn't fit all the parts back together again. He was taken to Kalamazoo Hospital but despite treatment he was deemed incurable and was moved back to Ann Arbor. Prof. O. W. Stephenson, in his "History of Ann Arbor the First Hundred Years", wrote that Mozart died at the Washtenaw County Poorhouse and Insane Asylum, on Thursday March 15th 1877, of what was called at the time "congestion of the brain".
Don Mozart was buried with Masonic honor's after a service at the Episcopal Church.