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.
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?
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.