Westclox Electric Clock Motor History
List Of Westclox Electric
Clock Motor Types
||Self-starting motor made by Sangamo
Electric Co., Springfield, Illinois. Has 2 rotors on one shaft:
induction rotor provides starting and running torque, permanently
magnetized rotor maintains synchronism with the A/C and limits the
speed of the induction rotor. Patent #1,933,591. Used on Westclox
clocks 1931 - ca. 1940.
For more information about Sangamo, see
this web site.
||Manual-start motor designed and made
by Western Clock Co. Patent #2,046,130. Used from 1932 - 1942.
||Self-starting motor designed and
made by Western Clock Co. Large rotor contained between plates,
field coil located away from rotor to keep the bearings cool. Patent
#2,015,042. Used from 1938 until ca. 1940. Developed by Oscar Kamisky.
||Smaller version of M1. M2 and M3
are same basic motor, mounted differently. M2: movement plates far
apart with motor set in flush. M3: movement plates close together
with motor behind, a more compact arrangement. Patents 1,935,208;
1,977,184; 1,977,186; and 2,015,042. Used from 1940 until sometime
in the mid 1950's.
||Self-starting motor with exposed rotor.
Coil assembly is a cylindrical unit with the rotor pivoted on axis of
the assembly. Patents 2,537,093 and 2,704,432. Used from 1948 through
the early 1960's. Some have a cover over the rotor.
||Sealed rotor detachable from coil
assembly. Introduced in the late 1950's.
History of Westclox Synchronous
General Time Instruments Corporation (which had been formed in
1930 as a holding company for Western Clock Company and Seth Thomas)
purchases the Hamilton-Sangamo Corporation.
Quoting from "Illinois Horology" by Andrew Hayes Miller and Dalia
Maria Miller, p. 51, regarding the Sangamo Electric company:
"To meet the synchronous clock competition, they developed a
non self starting synchronous motor during the spring of 1930.
In August, a new line of clocks was ready for market. According
to Robert C. Lanphier in Forty Years of Sangamo:
""However, we soon realized that we needed a self-starting synchronous
clock, so later that year produced the first type "F" self-starting
motor. . .We were about to offer a line of self starting clocks.
. . . when, in December 1930, the General Time Instruments Corporation
. . . owning the Western Clock company ("Big Ben") and Seth Thomas
Clock Company expressed an interest in using the type "F" motor
in their electric clocks. As we could not sell motors to any other
concern than Hamilton-Sangamo, the upshot of the matter was that
Mr. Ralph Matthiessen, President of G.T.I. corporation, offered
to buy the Hamilton-Sangamo Corporation, and thus obtain the exclusive
rights to use all of our motors, A.C. and D.C., for clock purposes,
as well as the established business of the Hamilton-Sangamo Corporation.
The business was therefore sold to G.T.I. Corporation in April,
1931, and Hamilton and Sangamo retired from the clock business,
with considerable loss, but with much valuable experience.""
||First A/C powered clocks put on market. These
clocks used the S1 self-starting synchronous motor, purchased from
Sangamo. The first of these clocks were Big Ben models: Model 820,
black composition (Bakelite) case, $8.75, Model 830, same but with
luminous dial, $10.00, both made from 1931 - 1934; and model 840,
mahogany case, $12.50 retail (by 1935 the price had been reduced
to $5.95), made from 1931 - 1935. Other clocks which used the Sangamo
motor include Ben Franklin (1935 - 1939), Greenwich (1936 - 1939)
and Silent Knight (1936 - 1940).
||Westclox designed manual start synchronous motor,
S2, introduced. Entire movement except coil manufactured in the
LaSalle plant. This manual start motor was made for many years.
Production apparently ceased during World War II, and never resumed.
Clocks using this motor include Electric Wall Clock - rectangular
case with rounded corners (1932 - 1939), America Electric (1932
- 1936), Ben Bolt (1933 - 1939), Country Club (1935 - 1942), Electric
Wall Clock - round case (1936 - 1939), Andover (1938 - 1942), Orb
(1938 - 1940), and Belfast (1939 - 1942).
||Name "Western Clock Company" changed to "Westclox"
||Motor type M1 introduced - Westclox own design
of self-starting synchronous motor. Clocks using this motor included
Bachelor (1938 - 1947), Manor (1938 - 1947), Big Ben style 5 Chime
Alarm (1938 - 1941), Pittsfield (intro. 1939). Note: Bachelor, Manor,
and Pittsfield used type M2 motor starting ca. 1940.
||Smaller version of Westclox self-start synchronous
motor introduced - types M2 and M3. Some of the models which used
these motors are: Baby Ben Style 5 Electric (intro. 1940), Big Ben
Style 5 Electric (not Chime Alarm) (intro. 1941), Dunbar (1946 -
1952), Logan (intro. 1946), Big Ben electric in rectangular brown
Bakelite case (1947 - 1952), Oracle (intro. 1947), Moonbeam - flashing
light alarm clock (intro. 1949), and Switch Clock appliance timer
||Motor type M4 introduced. Used in Belfast (intro.
1948), Barry (intro. 1948), Bantam (intro. 1949), Greenwich (1950
- 1954), Melody (intro. 1950), Glo-Larm (intro. 1953), Ardmore,
Orb, Big Ben and Baby Ben Style 7 electric (intro. 1956), and many
||Motor with sealed rotor (detachable from field
coil) introduced (M5).
Misc. Electric Information
||Stromberg Electric Company purchased
|| Haydon Manufacturing Co. was purchased by General
Time prior to 1947 (don't know what year). Does this relate to their
use of Haydon electric motor patents?
Electrically Wound Clocks,
Auto Clocks and the Sterling Clock Company
Quote from September 13, 1927 monthly report from general manager
to board of directors: "Work on electric clocks has been progressing
and four applications for patents of Electric clocks have been
filed by our men."
Quote from February 19, 1929 annual report from the general manager
to the Board of directors: "In accordance with appropriation made
by the Board April 10, 1928, we acquired the patents and patent
applications owned by William H. Greenleaf for $50,000, and an
agreement was entered into whereby Mr. Greenleaf will be employed
by us for a period of five years at a salary of $10,000 per year,
during which time any patents he may produce will be assigned
Sterling Clock Co. (Meridan, CT) purchased by Western Clock Company
and moved to LaSalle. (They were a maker of electrically wound
Quote from Feb. 19, 1929 annual report from Western Clock Co.
General Manager to Board of Directors: "On May 21, 1928, we purchased
the outstanding Common and Preferred Stock of the Sterling Clock
Company, for the sum of $261587.65. The machinery, tools, etc.
have been moved here and installed in our factory, having been
purchased by this Company at the book value of $63099.38."
"Considerable progress has been made in the development of this
division and we are now producing the Sterling Electric Auto Clock,
using our own watch parts instead of the Waterbury watch parts
used formerly. These auto clocks are being sold to the Sterling
Clock Company under agreement we have with them."
"Our Experimental Department has developed a number of models
of electric clocks, with the idea of improving the electric clock
now being manufactured for the Sterling Clock Company. We are
also working on models of electric house clocks."
Quote from February 19, 1929 annual report of President to shareholders:
"Through these purchases your Company has acquired patents and
a going electric clock business with an established market of
approximately 30000 clocks per year. The Sterling Clock Company
was located in Meridan, Connecticut, but this factory was closed
shortly after our purchase and the entire machinery and tools
moved to La Salle. It is now installed in our factory here as
a special department."
"Due to defects in management and defects in the product itself,
the reputation of the Sterling Clock Company in the trade was
not all that we might have wished. We feel that these defects
in management have now been overcome and the mechanical defects
in the clock itself are slowly being bettered under our production
methods, so that it will not be long before we can consider this
electric clock as up to the standard of the rest of our products."
"Our experimental Department is continuing to develop new models
of electric clocks, with the idea that it may discover a better
clock than the one that we are producing. They are also working
on a model of an electric house clock to be run by a battery."
||First Sterling electric clocks sold that could
be fitted in any car. The dials are marked Sterling Electric. Before
this time most of the product was sold directly to auto manufacturers.
The October 20, 1928 Tick Talk quotes from
the October 6, 1928 Meridan Record: "The Sterling Clock Company, which
was purchased some time ago by the Western Clock Company of La Salle,
Illinois, is to close its local plant about the middle of this month,
and the entire equipment of the factory will be moved to La Salle, where
the main factory of the company is located. "The Sterling Clock company
is now employing about forty-five hands and all will be continued in
the employ of the company until the day of closing. The purchaser of
the business, the Western Clock Company, is one of the large clock makers
of the country - manufacturers of Big Ben and Baby Ben alarm clocks.
"The Sterling Clock Company came here in December, 1926 and took a three
year's lease on the old Parker factory on West Main Street, and purchased
the machinery in the factory. Shortly afterwards it moved its entire
business here from New York and engaged extensively in the manufacture
of electric automobile clocks."
Sources: company chronology compiled by Westclox,
Westclox price change list in the possession of Ellworth Danz, and the
company magazine Tick Talk unless otherwise stated.
Compiled by Richard Tjarks and Bill Stoddard.
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