Greg Adams, Gary Biolchini and Bill Stoddard, with help from many others, are researching the history of Westclox and their clocks and watches. The purpose of this web site is to organize information and make it available to the public. We will add more as time permits. Jeffrey Wood and Richard Tjarks, both deceased, made major contributions.
We thank the following contributors of Westclox information:
The Regional History Center at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois. Their collection number 116 contains 31 boxes (21.5 linear feet) of Westclox, Inc. records donated by Mr. James Woolson, Vice President of General Time Corporation on November 3, 1980. We thank Joan M. Metzger, Assistant University Archivist and her very helpful staff for their assistance during our visits.
Individuals: Greg Adams, Brent Anderson, Vince Angell, Howard Banta, Steve Berger, Gary Biolchini, Dana Blackwell, Emmett Buchanan, John Darrow, Pat Dowd, Ian Dunn, Bernard Edwards, Tim Erb, Steve Fitzsimmons, Elmer Finken, Derrick Gable, Jim Galazka, Bryon Hallman, Phil Haltigan, Bill Hector, Leslie Hoin, Steven Horovitz, Frank Kearly Jr., Joe Kardonne, Jim Linz, Max Lismann, Gary Massey, Robert McNichol, Bob and Jane Moore, Dr. Ross Mullner, Frank Nyilas, Gary Peacock, Dennis Sagvold, Robert Schug, Dean Skinner, Kim St. Dennis, Jim Thompson, Lee Werling Jr., James Whitaker, Nelson Winslow, G. Lee Wilson.
Many thanks to Richard Weinssen, who very generously donated clocks (including an Ironclad in the box) and catalogs as well as helped financially. He has also helped by typing in the 1911 and 1912 Westclox advertising reports.
Thanks to AlarmClocksOnline for use of their alarm clock images.
Advertisements: Mary Siegfried.
Web site suggestions: Michael Helms and David Pickens.
Donations of Westclox clocks: Annabel Alderman, Susan M. Cook, John Dreyfuss, Ruth Holkeboer, Jay Kennan.
Thanks to Richard Heckle, who donated material his father Hugh Heckle received while working at Westclox. Hugh worked at Westclox in Athens, Georgia from 1953 to 1969, leaving as manager of manufacturing. He started at Telechron in Ashland Massachusetts in 1933. The material donated is: drawings and adjustment of the E-10 escapement; 82 page horology course taught at Westclox in the 1950's and 1960's; and "Horological Gearing"
Photos: Carl Berkland, John Jernigan, Patrick Godon, Peter Steward, J. T. Custom Auctions, Jim Gilbert, Jim Reed, Mark Hursch.
Many generous individuals and ebay sellers have kindly allowed me to use photos of their items in our database. I am very thankful to them. and most are acknowledged in the photos' captions.
I thank Allan Symons, Manager and Curator of The Canadian Clock Museum , for sending scans of Westclox catalogs and other material.
We offer special thanks to Ellworth Danz, Ed Cielasyzk and Max Schlenker, formerly of Westclox.
I am grateful to Ellworth Danz for donating 17 Westclox catalogs and some price lists. This will help greatly in identifying which years some of the clocks and watches were made.
Thanks to Anne Bowen, who donated the Westclox training manuals from her dad, James Morton. Anne provided this information about her father. "My dad, James Morton, worked as a draftsman for Westclox from 1954 or 1955 until 1960. I believe he worked in the fuse division. My dad went to night school classes Westclox offered, and I believe these manuals were the text books used in those classes. He worked for Westclox until 1960, when he took a job at Sunbeam Corp. in Chicago, in the Timing Division. He rose through the ranks, and in the mid 1980's was Vice President of the Timing Division. I'm not sure how familiar you are with Sunbeam clocks (they were all electric or battery operated, not key-wound). One of Sunbeam's products was a small plastic grandfather's style clock with a swinging pendulum. I believe he is listed as one of the inventors on the patent for the pendulum."
The manuals Anne donated are:
1) "Horological Gearing", Westclox Training School, Fourth Edition, 1955 (An original mimeographed copy and a photocopy).
2) "Magnetism and Electricity", dated 1/20/56.
3) Horological Mechanisms, Jewels, Springs and Lubrication", pages dated 1954 and 1955 (An original mimeographed copy and a photocopy).
I thank Gary Peacock, a former Westclox salesman, for donating seven catalogs and price lists from the 1990's. He also generously sent some watches and related items he had saved over the years.
Organizations: the American Clock and Watch Museum, the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors and the Northern Illinois Regional History Center (holder of the Westclox, Incorporated Records from the LaSalle-Peru factory).
Replies to Bill and Richard's requests for assistance and articles in the NAWCC Bulletin: William Diefenbach, Caspar Doerhoff, Les Hesketh, A. J. Kreshack, Michael Mazur, Stewart Thompson, O. H. Schwandermann, Earl Whitehouse, A. Joe Martino, Rene Desjardins, L. C. Wedding, Ray Bourne, William Flowers, Charles Badeau, Al Steinke, Frank Meevis, Bob Pomeroy, Paula Gammell, William Liscum.
We thank the following contributors for supplying Telechron information: Bruce Hannon (gave me the 1930 auxiliary movement), Jay Kennan (information about type F and H rotors) and Andy Niehaus (nameplate with two NP numbers).
Thanks to Ross Merante for letting me know on October 15, 2002 that Westclox were available online from Salton.
Thanks to the following individuals for donations of material:
Kyle Owen: unusual Westclox automobile clock dated 1936.
Chad Elmore: photocopy of the 1940 Westclox employee handbook.
Caroline Shaw: booklet "Your New Westclox Alarm" ca. 1917 - 1920.
Mark Sansone: Baby Ben style 6 and Moonbeam.
Ray Brown for data on model 503 Gothic Mantel Telechron clock and an early Seth Thomas 8 day spring driven clock.
Jean-Christian Petre for data on an early Seth Thomas 8 day weight clock
Robert Bailey reported a new Seth Thomas O.G. dial type on 11-23-06.
Financial contributions: Richard Weinssen, Herbert Buss, Maynard Dokken, Kevin Knauss, Leigh Harris, Ann Murray, Diane McElhaney, H. Harrison Grindle, David Dellinger, Joe Cerniglia, James Heffernan, Marvin Murray, Steve Fabes, Nathan Beveridge, Goschy Goods, Jill Craig, Linda Pringle, Edward Keeser, Howard Caroline, Harry Grindle.
Steven Lutz: information about early Big Bens in his collection.
Jean-Christian Petre for photos and information about an early Seth Thomas brass movement weight driven clock.
Automobile Clock Identification: Jack Watson.
Christopher Santos for information about the Westclox plant in Scotland.
Lorraine Ramos: donated Telechron timer.
Duane Eklof for information on the 1976 style 7 Baby Bens.
Frank Kearley: Baby Ben Waralarm and Tiny Tim.
Proofreading the ID Guide: Penny Marsh,
Loan of early 1950's Schatz color brouchure: Debbie Yockey.
Robert Smucker: Photo of factory ca. 1940 - 1950, 2 old Westclox ads, Westclox Training Manual, Ladies Home Journal ad, July 1918; small parts.
Big Ben Chime Alarm box: Janice Elaine Quandt. Jim Goode: Big Ben style 6 and style 7. Big Ben Loud Alarm box: Charlotte Anderson. Scan of dial Big-1-4lum: Don Krumm. Big Ben style 5 Loud Alarm: David Alme. Telechron 7H141: Sharon Sottile. Westclox "Pittsfield" S7-M Electric Clock, Blond: Jeff Hanson.
We are very thankful for all the help we have received, and want to acknowledge all contributors. If we have left anyone off,
In 1980 I had been out of college for a year, and my passion was collecting and studying Westclox Big Ben and Baby Ben alarm clocks. In May 1980 I attended the NAWCC Mid-America regional in Indianapolis, and saw that there was to be a program about Big Ben and Baby Ben Alarm Clocks. Of course I attended, and afterward met the speaker, Richard Tjarks. We began corresponding, and decided to join efforts in Westclox research. We found that we had a lot in common, and became best friends. We attended many NAWCC regional conventions together, continued our Westclox research, published an article in the NAWCC Bulletin in 1983, and coordinated a large Westclox exhibit at the NAWCC National convention in 1984.
Richard's interest in clocks and watches began with three alarm clocks given to him by his grandmother when he was 12 years old. He joined the NAWCC in 1969 (member # 18725) and became an active member of George E. Lee - Michiana Chapter 26 in 1971. Richard served the chapter as secretary, vice-president and president; as well as being contest chairman, program chairman, photographer and Bulletin reporter (among other duties he eagerly assumed). He was co-chairman of the Mid-America regional for two years and served in other capacities for many years. Richard was made an NAWCC Fellow in 1993.
Richard enjoyed collecting and researching antique American clocks and watches, and had a unique talent for clock case and dial restoration. He often won first place in the annual Chapter 26 restoration contest. Richard had a knack for making a restored clock look superb, but natural. it would look like a well preserved antique, and not an obvious restoration. Richard also enjoyed early battery clocks and Telechron clocks. Richard was co-owner of LaGrange Title Company in LaGrange, Indiana, was an active member of his church, the Kiwanis club, and LaGrange County Historical Society.
In 2000, Richard was diagnosed with a rare disease called Myeloid Fibrosis, in which the bone marrow does not make enough red blood cells. There is no cure, but periodic blood transfusions helped him maintain his strength. Through it all, Richard's faith and positive attitude enabled him to enjoy life almost until the end, and he passed away on February 28, 2005. I can't even begin to say how much I miss Richard, my best friend and mentor.