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FTL Design
History of Technology

Electric Clocks

Featured on this site
    Engle Monumental Clock - not electric, but an amazing automaton clock
    International Business Machines/ITR Master Clock Engineering Memos - courtesy of Henry Weiland
    Jefferson Golden Hour Clock Owner's Manual - an original manual from the early 1950s
    Self Winding Clock Company Model F technical manual - courtesy of Henry Weiland
    Telechron Modernique
     
Links
  Do you have questions about electric clocks?
      Check out the free Message Board at the NAWCC website (the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors).  There's no charge to use the board, and you don't have to be a member of the Association.
  Association and Museums
   

British Horological Institute - the BHI hosts Mike Frost's Current Notes repair articles

The Museum of the Clockmakers' Company at the Guildhall in London, England, has some of the earliest electric clocks, including master and slave clocks by Alexander Bain

The Electrical Horology Group of the AHS- the British Antiquarian Horological Society's electrical chapter

The National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors (NAWCC) - has an extensive museum and lending library, and offers research services to members.  Here's the NAWCC Museum's Electric Clocks page

  Warren/Telechron
    Warren (Telechron) Master Clocks - featured on Mark Frank's clock site.
Type A Type C Type E

Henry Warren - The Warren Conference Center - the inventor of the modern electric clock.

Telechron History at clockhistory.com - also has excellent Westclox information.

TelechronTime - hundreds of pictures with ID. The site also hosts a Telechron/GE Forum.

Telechron Forums - a lively collector community

  Sites for Other Individual Manufacturers
   

Brillie Clocks - information on and parts for Brillie clocks.

Bulle Clock Dating - John Hubby's excellent notes link serial numbers to production dates.

Chrono-Art Polarized Light Clocks - some of the most interesting electric clocks currently available. The site also offers repair services for the Prisma and Aurora clocks from the 1970s, and for other similar clocks.

English Clock Systems Ltd - This site shows the results of research into the history of English Clock Systems Ltd, its predecessor Synchro Time Systems Ltd, and their products.

Gent's Pulsynetic Clocks - This site has history, pictures, and diagrams of many of the horological products (including the rare and complicated Observatory Controlled Transmitter) made by Gent's of Leicester.

Hammond Clocks - Allen Miller's site.

Haydon - Sessions Chronometric - an unusual battery clock for which more information is needed.

IBM & ITR Electric Clock Information - IBM's own archive site with history, serial numbers, data sheets.

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Timesavers: Jefferson Golden Hour repair information and parts - fix your Jefferson Golden Hour clock.

Pulsynetic - a page on parts and restoration for the Gents Pulsynetic and other electric clocks.

Synchronome Movement and Case Guide - detailed historical information on this important manufacturer of master clocks from Barrie Smith's Virtual Museum of Clocks.

Standard Electric Time Clocks - SETCLOCKS site.

Standard Electric Time Clocks - at ClockHistory.com, a comprehensive site.

The Horological Journal had an excellent article on the BBC's Synchronome Master Clock in its January 2002 issue.

Teelavox - unusual Danish battery-powered clocks.

Watchman's Clocks - Detex Corporation's collection of time recording equipment, including electrics, used by watchmen on their rounds.

  Other Electric Clock Sites and Reference Material
   

Barrie Smith's Virtual Museum of Clocks- detailed information on many electric and other clocks. As of August 2011 the site appears to be down, but an archived version may be viewed here.

Bell System Technical Article - the evolution of the quartz crystal clock.

ClockDoc - The Electric Clock Archive -an extensive illustrated archive of electric clocks from many makers. Ongoing.

ClockHistory.com - information on a number of manufacturers, including Westclox, Telechron, and Standard Electric Time

Martin Ridout's Electrical Horology Site - an excellent, comprehensive site with a well-illustrated overview of many different electric clock technologies.

Electrical Horology Systems - European article on master and slave clocks. Site is dead; link is to archive copy.

Early Electric Clocks - from the same site

Ted Bosschieter's History of the Evolution of Electric Clocks - the events leading up to the development of the Shortt free pendulum clock

Electric Masters - a very detailed site with information on setting up and maintaining Synchronome, Gents Pul-syn-etic, Gensign,Post Office 36, Carl Bohmeier, and other master clocks

Michel Viredaz’ tri-lingual (French/English/German) Electric Clocks site - includes detailed technical information on the main types of electric clock mechanisms, with photographs, diagrams, and descriptions

Hans Vrolijk's Electric Clocks site - excellent photos of many unusual electrics

ESP - Rod Elliot's site on various aspects of electric and electronic clocks

Bob Freshwater's GPO Clocks section is part of his site on British Post Office equipment

GPO Clock Systems Documentation - many original GPO documents, much more

Hamilton Electric Watches - René Rondeau's site on the first electric watch

Mark Headrick's Site - some interesting notes on electric clock motor repair

Horologix - Early battery clock parts and restoration

Mitch Janoff's Site - Master Clocks and Time Distribution

Reverse Time Page - Clocks and other interesting technological artifacts

Self Winding Clocks on the London Underground - photos on Flickr of many that are still in service

  Electric Clock Dealers and Parts Suppliers
   

The Electric Time Company - a current US supplier of custom-manufactured electric clocks.  The company grew out of Telechron, and became their tower and master clock division

The London Clock Centre - usually has a good selection of electrics for sale

Book Review
 

20th Century Modern Clocks, Mark V. Stein, Radiomania Books 2001.
Large format (8.5" x 11"), 256 pages, identification and value guide. $29.95.

This book by Mark Stein, author and publisher of the well-known Radiomania radio reference books, covers both mechanical and electric clocks from the Modern period of 20th century American industrial design, between the 1920s and the 1960s. This book, the first of two volumes, focuses on the smaller examples; desk, shelf, and decorative clocks. The projected second volume, on wall, mantel, and miscellaneous clocks of the same period, was never published.

The book includes over 1600 black and white photographs and illustrations, referencing 2500 clocks and related weather stations, switches, and timers, plus a short section on condition and other factors affecting value, as well as a list of manufacturers and a brief bibliography. It does not discuss design principles nor give a history of the Modern design movement; these general topics have been covered by other authors.

Each clock is given a unique "plate number" for reference purposes, and is illustrated with either a photograph or rendering, many from original manufacturers' literature. Information on each model includes the brand name, model year, model name, designer (if known), movement type, cabinet material, variations, and dimensions. The plate numbers link to the value guide in the back of the book, which repeats the key information for convenient reference, and assigns a baseline value, which assumes excellent cosmetic and working condition.

As the author states in his preface, information on the internal workings of the clocks has been left to the horological community. The value of this book as a reference lies in its picturing and identification of so many models, making it the most comprehensive work of its kind.

The book is available from amazon.com.

 

Contact Information

email me at:
billb@ftldesign.com

 

Copyright © 2011 FTL Design
Last revised: 28 March, 2014