Category Archives: Clocks

Clocking Out: Automotive Dealership Neon Clock, ca. 1940s

At Dorset Finds, we have one philosophy: The only thing better than an extra-large vintage clock is an extra-large vintage clock that lights up! (Come to think of it, we also subscribe to the philosophies that he who hesitates is lost, and there is never an occasion where three-quarter-length pants are appropriate.)

This timepiece, which dates from the late 1940s–early 1950s was likely manufactured by Neon Products, Inc. of Lima, Ohio.

In the 1930s, the Ohio-based advertising sign maker ArtKraft adopted a technique (innovated by the Claude Neon Company, in France) of bending colored tubes of glass and filling them with light. ArtKraft grew rapidly, and with increased demand, a couple of its tube-benders started their own operation, Neon Products, Inc. Neon Products went on to produce pieces for clients such as RCA, Dr. Pepper and Zenith. In addition to creating signs, the company also introduced lines of neon clocks.

This find, measuring 22 inches across, originally hung in John Howard’s Car Store in Somerset, Penn., and was given an update in 1980 when it received a hand-painted addition to the center of the clock face. Other than that, its features remain original and unadulterated. Best of all, the neon is unbroken and the clock keeps good time.

Special thanks to Jeff at Let There Be Neon in New York for his neon clock expertise.

Sleep the Clock Around: Western Union Clock, ca. 1920s

In 1855, the Western Union Telegraph Company was formed by two rival companies who understood that consolidation was their best means to move forward. Western Union, which became the dominant force in telegraph service, owned more than a million miles of telegraph lines by the turn of the 20th century. Though now a thing of the past, telegrams were the state-of-the-art, go-to communications method in an era when messages would arrive via an out-of-breath delivery boy on his bike.

This 14″ x 14″ clock originally hung in one of Western Union’s offices, and while it’s in great condition and keeps good time, its appeal is more than just aesthetic.

After removing the heavy-gauge steel plate from the back of the clock to inspect the mechanism, I noticed a note pinned to the inside of the wood casing. The writer, age 80, describes seeing this clock in his local branch back in the 1920s and he’s left both his and his wife’s names at the bottom. Remarkable, no?

Mama Said Clock You Out: Factory Punch Clock, ca. 1940s

Nobody likes to be made to feel like a number, especially in the workplace.

The Industrial Age ushered in a new era of mass produced items and consequently, shift workers arrived at factories all over the country in the hundreds, ready to learn a skill.

Simplex Time Recorder Co. of Gardner, MA. was founded in the late 19th Century and made it its mission to manufacture instruments that could accurately keep track of and calculate an employee’s work day.

This example, while showing some age, still keeps great time and clicks over in 2.5 minute increments. The clock face and outer casing show some light rust spots that helps give this piece some warmth. The stainless steel punch tab functions perfectly and will print the day and time on an ordinary piece of card when inserted into the slot.

A Stitch In Time: Telechron Shop Display, ca. 1950′s

Finding this Telechron clock display, “Gold Jerry!” was the first thing that came to mind.

You can see why. This display unit or “Time Table” really has everything you look for in a collectible.

Condition: So often you find something great but the side is bashed in or the advertising text has worn away or it’s just missing one of its components that make it what it is. This example is correct right down to the original donut-shaped glass shelf. Both the shelf and double-sided header sign rotate. It’s missing the additional wall clock holder but that doesn’t affect the overall appearance. The only thing better than finding something like this in mint condition is finding it with age appropriate wear. This one’s seen some battles and come out looking all the better for it. Sweet rust…

It’s a quality brand: Telechron sold millions of clocks by the middle of last century and produced too many iconic designs to go into here. They consistently defined their era’s design aesthetic.

It’s practical: Who’s got space for stuff that only looks pretty. This stand is 29″ x 21″ and very usable in a home, bar, store etc.