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?

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