Master Clocks by The Standard Electric Time Company
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.
6-circuit master clock with pilot dials, circa 1926.
Circa 1928 72-beat master clock with 2-circuit, 12-hour program, in shorter case introduced
80-beat master clock at the MacDuffie School, Springfield, Massachusetts. Special order
case by another manufacturer.
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., 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. of Gardner, MA.
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.
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to find one of these clocks just as it was originally made.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 #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, 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 with accumulator
and 6-circuit program incorporating pilot dial.
Circa 1925 master clock with pilot clocks and battery gauge.
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. 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.
Closeup of dial.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 in the once-popular style #20 case.
A typical, no-frills master clock of the 1920s, this one built to control 3 clock and 4
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 "Warner's Patent Electric Gauge" made for a master clock when
the factory was located in New Haven, 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. 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
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. 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 featuring 5 pilot clocks, milliammeter, late Invar
pendulum and 4-circuit 24-hour program.
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 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 clock with 6-circuit, 24-hour 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
1950's AR2 master clock with 4-circuit, 12-hour program and late Invar pendulum.
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.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Jeffrey R. Wood, creator of the Standard Electric Time Co. (SETCO) pages of clockhistory.com, passed away in August of 2018. I will maintain the SETCO web pages in honor of Jeff, but will not be making any additions or changes, or answering any questions. It is hard to express how much I miss Jeff, his friendship, and his wonderful contributions to Standard Electric and Westclox research.
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