Some collectors consider this clock not to be a "true" Baby Ben. We used to call it the "Baby Ben Predecessor", as the clock is complety different from Baby Bens style 1 and later. The movement is a Westclox "2 Inch" time-only movement with an alarm mechanism added on the back, forming a “two layer movement.” It was not a reliable clock, but was Western Clock Company's first small alarm clock. Patent dates Oct. 28, 1902; June 9, 1908; and Dec. 15, 1908 on the back.
Gaston LeRoy mentioned the possibility of a smaller version of the Big Ben in his March 1908 advertising report. This first, early version of the Baby Ben was made with a variation of the “2 Inch” movement that has an alarm mechanism added on to the rear, forming a “two layer movement.” We thus refer to this clock as the “Baby Ben Two Inch”, and examples dating from 10-18-10 to 5-15-12 are known to exist. This clock has no name on it, just the patent dates Oct. 28, 1902; June 9, 1908; and Dec. 15, 1908 on the back.
The following brief history is summarized from Westclox department reports of 1908 to 1912. Starting in the second quarter of 1909, case body drawing tools and some movement tooling was made for a clock referred to as the “Little B. B.” In the second quarter of 1910, tooling was being made for a clock referred to as “Little Ben” and Little B.B.” (in a few places it appears that the name Little Ben had been changed to Little B. B.) The second quarter 1910 (Mar. 28 – June 18) manufacturing report states “We have made about 200 Baby Ben movements so far and after vacation we intend to start assembling them regularly and slowly increase the quantity as we get the help broken in to work on them.” The 3Q 1910 Engineering Department report states “Work on the “Little Ben” drawings is going forward.”
The 4Q 1911 Manufacturing report (dated Jan. 12, 1912) states “The baby Ben clock at present is gotten out in connection with the two inch movement. The production of two inch is 300 [units per day] and the baby Ben 60. This occupies a floor space of 2048 square feet. To produce 1000 baby Ben will take a floor space of nearly 3000 square feet, which room will have to be provided.”
The baby Ben Two Inch is so much different from the main line of Baby Bens, that it is considered by many collectors to not be a “real” baby Ben at all. It certainly does not have a good movement design, and in fact a good movement for the Baby Ben was not produced until late 1914 or early 1915 (the “Type 2" movement as discussed in the style 1 Baby Ben section).
Documented dates of Baby Ben with 2 inch movement
Note: The "Baby Ben 2 Inch" clock is not the "Little Ben", we believe Little Ben refers to a pocket watch similar to Pocket Ben. Little Ben may have been the predecessor to Pocket Ben.