Biography of Webb C. Ball
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

WEBB C. BALL was the originator of the system of railroad time inspection that has been of inestimable benefit in the saving of life and eliminating loss of property in connection with railroad operations in the United States and Canada, and he continued the executive head of his extensive railroad time-inspection service, with residence and headquarters in Cleveland, until his death; besides which he was the founder and president of the Webb C. Ball Company, controlling one of the largest enterprises in retail jewelry and watch business in Cleveland.

Mr. Ball was born on a farm in Knox County, Ohio, received the advantages of the public schools, and as a youth he served an apprenticeship to the trade of watchmaker and jeweler. He held from 1874 to 1879 the office of business manager with the Deuber Watch Manufacturing Company, and from March, 1879 until his death he was a resident of Cleveland. Here he initiated a modest enterprise in the retail jewelery trade, and eventually he built up an extensive and prosperous business, the amplification of which led to the organization and incorporation of the Webb C. Ball Company, a concern that is now the largest of its kind in this section of the country, and the business of which has been specially notable in the great scope of its service in the handling of the highest grade of standard railroad watches. Mr. Ball gained fame as the inventor of railroad watch movements and new appliances used in their construction, and he evolved the admirable system of regular inspection of railroad timepieces that came into use on virtually all important railroad lines in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In developing his great inspection system he maintained his headquarters in Cleveland, retained a large corps of local inspectors, traveling assistants, etc., with branches in Chicago and San Francisco. In building up this remarkable and effective inspection service for railroads Mr. Ball achieved a work that shall ever reflect honor and distinction LIpon his name.

Mr. Ball was one of the honored and representative business men of Cleveland at the time of his death, and his civic loyalty was of the highest type, he having been an independent republican in politics.

In 1879 Mr. Ball wedded Miss Florence I. Young, of Kenton, Ohio, and they became the parents of one son and three daughters.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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