Master Clocks by The Standard Electric Time Company

Oak cased master clock
Circa 1926 master clock at the former Classical High School, Worcester, MA, featuring mercurial pendulum, 4 pilot clocks, milliammeter and 4-circuit, 12-hour program.
Mastr clock ca. 1926 wiht pilot dials
6-circuit master clock with pilot dials, circa 1926.
Circa 1928 72-beat master clock with
Circa 1928 72-beat master clock with 2-circuit, 12-hour program, in shorter case introduced about 1920.
80-beat master clock at the MacDuffie School, Springfield, Massachusetts
80-beat master clock at the MacDuffie School, Springfield, Massachusetts. Special order case by another manufacturer.
Motor-wound chain and weight driven master clock built in 1948
Motor-wound chain and weight driven master clock dated November 1948 and one of the first made to run an AR2 system. It is very unusual for any master clock built after the early 1930's to have pilot clocks. These pilots have no setting knobs, since the resetting weight takes up the space normally occupied by the setting gear.
1948 AR2 master clock at the home office of MassMutual Life Insurance Co
1948 AR2 master clock at the home office of MassMutual Life Insurance Co., in triple-width case and built to control 18 program circuits plus over 1,000 secondary clocks.
Dial of master clock made by Standard for the Simplex Time Recorder Co
Dial of master clock made by Standard for the Simplex Time Recorder Co. of Gardner, MA.
Banjo style master clock made in 1898
Banjo style master clock made in 1900 for the Providence, Rhode Island Public Library. Mercurial pendulum, original to this clock, made by the Seth Thomas Clock Co. and same as used in their #19 regulator. Only known example of a Standard Electric Time Co. banjo clock; now in a private collection.
Oak cased master clock from the old Banning
Master clock from the old Banning, California High School building. It's not always easy to find one of these clocks just as it was originally made. This example dates from around 1915, but it appears that the program movement and bell relays are of a later vintage. In other words, it was "upgraded", probably to automatic reset, during the 1930's or later.
Circa 1900 electrically wound regulator, mahogany
Circa 1900 electrically wound #20 regulator. Originally had synchronizing attachment with electromagnet beneath pendulum. Case is of genuine mahogany, unlike most of the later "mahogany finish" cases made of stained birch.
Massive courthouse master clock
Massive courthouse master clock, relegated to basement of building and then supplanted by small Simplex synchronous master to run courtroom secondaries of matching case style.
Detail of circa 1950 motor wound chain and weight driven master clock
Detail of circa 1950 motor wound chain and weight driven master clock with accumulator and 6-circuit program incorporating pilot dial.
Circa 1925 master clock with pilot clocks and battery gauge
Circa 1925 master clock with pilot clocks and battery gauge.
Details of a master clock
Detail of a master clock controlling 3 time circuits and 4 program circuits, as would typically be installed in a slightly larger-than-average school building during the early 1920's.
Example of a double-width master clock case produced in the 1930's for an AR3 system
Example of a double-width master clock case produced in the 1930's for an AR3 system. Having the program movement in a separate compartment prevented the pendulum from possibly being disturbed when changing a ribbon.

Early 1920's master clock by Pacific Electric Clock Co.

Early 1920's master clock by Pacific Electric Clock Co., San Francisco (later Berkeley), California. This company was acquired by Standard in 1923; note similarity of case designs. Features mercurial pendulum, 2 pilot clocks, milliammeter and single-ribbon 4-circuit program.

Master clock by Pacific Electric clock co.
Closeup of dial
Closeup of dial.
Pilot clock
Pilot clock.
Milliammeter
Milliammeter.
Details of Pacific master clock
Detail of a clock somewhat different from that pictured above. Pilot clock design lacks the usual protective glass. Program movement mechanically driven directly from master movement.

Knotty Pine Master Clock

Lumber for cases was carefully chosen, with routine rejection of pieces containing knots. But here is a significant exception: at least one customer ordered their clock in knotty pine! Note: decorative corbels were omitted from later cases; this one is perched on a separate shelf which we hope doesn't have to support the weight of the clock.

Master clock in knotty pine case
Installer's name plate attached to the back of an earlier master clock
Installer's name plate attached to the back of an earlier master clock. Made of cast brass or bronze in an unusually large size. Other installers generally used smaller etched brass plates (if any), which they attached to outside of clock case, usually near bottom

First Synchronous Model

The first synchronous model, introduced in 1932. Case designed to accommodate up to 6 program circuits; most including this example, had only 2.

First synchronous model master clock,introduced in 1932
Detail of first synchronous model
Detail of first synchronous model; switch at top was for turning on and off the motor, permitting the clock to be set precisely to the second.
12-hour motor-wound chain and weight driven flush mount birch cased AR2 master clock from the 1950s
12-hour motor-wound chain and weight driven flush mount birch cased AR2 master clock from the 1950's, with blond maple finish. Has a Holtzer-Cabot motor driving a “Standard”-built gearbox instead of the usual Bodine gearmotor.
Detail of circa 1920 special order master clock containing mercurial pendulum, 7 pilot clocks and battery gauge
Detail of circa 1920 special order master clock containing mercurial pendulum, 7 pilot clocks and battery gauge.
Special pediment-style master clock at Rockville (CT) Public Library
Special pediment-style master clock at Rockville (CT) Public Library, built in 1904 to control large marble dial and tower clock movement.
Mid-teens example of a later master clock
Mid-teens example of a later master clock in the once-popular style #20 case.
no-frills master clock of the 1920s
A typical, no-frills master clock of the 1920s, this one built to control 3 clock and 4 program circuits.
72-beat master clock
72-beat master clock in the taller case with space at top for dry cells. (As this model became popular for low-ceiling locations, and with the trend toward remotely located power sources, later cases are of a shorter, space-saving design.)
Early example of Warners Patent Electric Gauge
Early example of "Warner's Patent Electric Gauge" made for a master clock when the factory was located in New Haven, Connecticut.
gauge example with uncommon dial from Waterbury, Connecticut
Another early gauge example with uncommon dial from Waterbury, Connecticut. Later, the New Haven dial was revived with city name removed.
Pendulum synchronizer of master clock at Rockville Public Library
Pendulum synchronizer of master clock at Rockville Public Library. Presumably once connected to a more accurate (mercurial pendulum) and frequently checked clock at the store of John C. Whittlesey, Jeweler, 4 Park Place, Rockville, who in 1902 advertised an "Electric Time System". The electromagnet would normally receive a brief impulse every few seconds from the jeweler's regulator to maintain synchrony between both clocks. Tiny weights could be added to or removed from the pendulum of the governing clock without stopping it, gradually correcting the slightest deviation from observatory time as received by telegraph.
quarter sawn oak casetiger oak case
Comparison picture for wood identification: left, quarter sawn oak; right, tiger oak. Quarter sawn oak rare after 1920. Tiger and straight grain oak used in gradually decreasing amounts through the twenties, thirties and forties as birch, stained to resemble most other hardwoods or painted, gained popularity.
Special 3 compartment control cabinet, circa 1920
Special 3 compartment control cabinet, circa 1920. Production figure unknown. It is unlikely that any of these survive because of the large amount of wall space they occupy.
Post-WWII master clock 5 pilot clocks and milliammeter close up of pilot clock Inside bottom of clock showing controls
Post-WWII master clock featuring 5 pilot clocks, milliammeter, late Invar pendulum and 4-circuit 24-hour program.
Circa 1918 master clock with 5 pilot clocks
Circa 1918 master clock with 5 pilot clocks, Warner battery gauge and 3-tube mercurial pendulum, with 4-circuit, 12-hour program in separate, matching cabinet. 400-day clock on top of program cabinet is not part of this system! :)
Mid-to-late 1930s master clock
Mid-to-late 1930's motor-wound, cable-driven, 2-weight, 6-day reserve master clock with 2-tube mercurial pendulum. Movement and winch mounted on steel plate in extra-depth birch case.
World War II era Art Deco flush mount master clockMaster clock with door open
World War II era Art Deco flush mount master clock with 6-circuit, 24-hour program.
1950s master clock in double-width double-door case1950s master clock in double-width double-door case Pilot clocks and program
1950's master clock in double-width, double-door, cherry-stained birch case with 4 pilot clocks, late Invar pendulum and 12-circuit, 12-hour program. One of the very last pendulum-type master clocks ever made.
1950s AR2 master clock1950s AR2 master clock
1950's AR2 master clock with 4-circuit, 12-hour program and late Invar pendulum.
E. Howard #89 master clock case
E. Howard #89 master clock case with "Standard"
components replacing originals. Photographed at Colony
Mill Mall, Keene, New Hampshire.
Closeup of plaque beneath mall clock
Closeup of plaque beneath mall clock.

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To make this project a success, your help is needed. If you can provide a good picture of a special clock, it could well prove to be something that others would enjoy seeing here. Owners of clocks will receive credit unless they wish to remain anonymous. In return, or as a public service, we can provide in over 90% of cases, copies of original factory publications pertaining to a specific clock. These include master clock instructions, technical bulletins and wiring diagrams.

Inquiries concerning available materials may be E-mailed to

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