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August 23: Bulova and the Veterans

August 23, 2013

bulova.watch_.schoolMayor Fiorello LaGuardia dedicated the cornerstone of the Bulova School of Watchmaking in Woodside, New York on this date in 1945. For more than half a century the school trained disabled veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam in horology (watchmaking), for many years tuition-free. The building was equipped with ramps, wide doorways, cork floors, and other accommodations for wheelchair-bound men and men on crutches. In its first year, the Bulova School garnered pledges of 1,400 jobs for its graduates (who numbered only twenty that year, most of them arriving straight from military hospitals). The Bulova company had been founded by Joseph Bulova in 1875; the school was the brainchild of his son, Arde Bulova, and shepherded into existence by Stanley Simon, the company’s public relations director. The company was also responsible for the first television advertisement in American history, a ten-second spot during the Dodgers-Phillies baseball game on July 1, 1941 for which the company paid $9. To see the ad, look below.

“To serve those who served us.” —Engraved on the cornerstone