Secondary or Slave Clocks by The Standard Electric Time Company
This page is dedicated to the memory of William T. (Bill) Thrasher, who started
with Standard in 1923 and headed its secondary clock department for many years.
Bill Thrasher compares large and small clocks in
this circa 1930 factory photo. The large clock is a 36-inch marble dial
with raised bronze numerals; the small one is a copper-cased clock with
a dial measuring approximately 8 inches.
1904 brass-rimmed marble
dial clock at the Rockville Public Library, Rockville, CT. Powered by
a Standard Electric Time Co. #2 movement.
"Eyebrow" style secondary clock made
in October, 1916 for
Central Rural School , Chazy, NY. Standard Electric Time also made
a 120-beat clock, with or without hourly correction, in a slightly taller
and deeper case of this same style.
Former Federal Land Bank building in Springfield,
Massachusetts. Large slave dial above front entrance also shown in SETCo
Catalog #42 (1926). Not a true tower clock, this timepiece with glass-protected
dial and hands uses a #3 impulse-driven movement.
Marble dial clock at the City Library Rotunda,
Boiler room clock, circa 1920. Cast iron case
with screw-on nickel plated bronze bezel.
Marble dial bank clock photographed September,
2000 at the Brimfield (MA) flea markets. Dial may have been purchased
by Standard from ITR/IBM-- note the flat-topped figure 8, which has never
been observed on another "Standard" marble dial secondary clock.
120 beat secondary clock, circa 1925. Available
with or without hourly correction from a master clock. An earlier version
was made in an “eyebrow” style case similar to that of the
clock shown at top of this page, but somewhat taller and deeper to accommodate
its electrically-wound pendulum movement.
Circa 1890 mantel clock containing original movement
bearing May 24, 1887 patent date. Case, made of Belgian limestone with
marble inlay, most likely supplied by the New Haven Clock Company. Note
the absence of keyholes in porcelain dial, indicating this is not a windup
clock converted. “ELECTRIC TIME WARNER SYSTEM” probably hand
painted or stamped over glaze. Compare to New Haven "Peerless"
model (#1002 in Tran Duy Ly's NEW HAVEN CLOCKS & WATCHES book.)
Circa 1923 14-inch metal secondary clock; case
of copper with original “library green” paint or lacquer finish.
The measurement given normally refers to the approximate diameter of the
dial opening; the clock as a whole is bigger. Most clocks of this size
were used by schools for the larger spaces, as more typically, 12-inch
clocks were placed in classrooms.
Circa 1887 example of what is listed in an early
catalog as “Secondary Clock No. 2”. Dial diameter is about
7 1/2", with larger clocks also having been made. On later version,
“Warner System” appears under “TIME”.
“Secondary Clock No. 3” as shown in
an early (pre-1900) catalog of The Standard Electric Time Co. A rare clock,
owing to the fact that as electric clocks were coming in, Victorian case
styles were going out.
An early case design, known as “Secondary
Clock No. 4”. City name removed from dial after the company moved.
Mahogany case. Essentially a round clock on a square backboard with egg-and-dart
molding all around.
6-inch panel mount clocks with adapters
for use as semi-flush wall mounted clocks.
Very early 20th Century 12-inch square oak secondary
clock made when the company was still located at Waterbury, CT. A popular
style in schools built at that time. Note the corner spandrels, which
were omitted with the later reduction in case size. Listed as “Secondary
Clock No. 1S”.
8-inch round walnut-stained birch cased clock
from the mid-1930's featuring a sunburst aluminum dial. Bezel is that
of a flush mount clock, with matching adapter for surface mounting. This
method of construction enabled the factory to use the same bezel for both
types of clock.
This is called a 10-inch clock, although the bezel
opening is closer to 9" and the extreme diameter is 12". As
specified on factory data sheet, "#703 brown lacquer with ivory dial".
From the World War II era.
Nameless 10-inch clock made entirely by Standard
Electric Time in the late 1930's, possibly as an experimental model or
prototype. Note that the figure 2 is different compared to the regular
Art Deco dials which were so popular from then thru the early 1950's.
12-inch brass cased clock from 1924, one of the
last of this style, which used a wood face board and brackets soldered
to the inside of the case. At that time, copper was the commonest metal
used for cases, with somewhat fewer being produced in brass and steel.
This is the largest of the regularly listed wood
cased clocks, having an overall diameter of 30". Its dial was executed
just before the Springfield, MA factory building was purchased, when manufacturing
was done in Foxboro, MA, and the main office located at 35 Congress Street
Typical circa 1930 classroom clock assembled at
branch factory in Berkeley, CA. Parts probably made in Springfield. Has
aluminum case with metallic copper finish.
Late square oak clock made to City of Boston specifications.
Art Deco dial.
Construction according to City of Boston specifications.
One side of a double dial clock built around 1930.
The 2 individual clocks could be turned 90 degrees for ceiling mounting.
Marble dial clock made in 1919 for the Hampden
Savings Bank, Springfield, Massachusetts.
Double-dial corridor clock at the old Isolation
Hospital, Springfield, Massachusetts.
14 inch marble dial with raised bronze numerals
and minute markers. The commonest size and style.
Speaker clock from the 1930's. Although this general
type of clock is commonly found among the more modern systems, few were
made prior to the 1960's, making this early example quite a rare clock.
This is the most popular style of
wood-cased classroom clock sold during the early 1920's. Unusual features
shown here are the quarter-sawn golden oak case and California dial; beginning
in 1920, quarter-sawn oak was a special order item for which an additional
charge was made.
Diamond-shaped clock from the late 1890's, featuring
solid cherry case, corner spandrels, Howard-style hands and painted dial.
This is a true diamond-shaped clock having the face board in 4 mitered
sections, each with its grain running parallel with that of the corresponding
side. Most others were made with a solid or laminated face board with
its grain parallel to 2 sides and at right angles to the remaining 2,
making the clock look like a square model hung from one corner.
Another cherry clock, this one circa 1890. “Warner
System” appears below ELECTRIC TIME on a heavy paper dial. Originally
known as “Secondary Clock No. 1”; later designated as “1D”
(Diamond) or “1S” (Square).
Copper cased 12" clock from around 1930. The factory had switched
to aluminum cases by this time, but copper was still available on special
order. Some customers preferred it, and even though most copper cases
were painted just like the aluminum, a purplish “antique”
copper finish was available. Almost never were cases polished and lacquered
originally, but in recent times many have been stripped and brightly
Early example of clock with 8-inch dial in a plain
Circa 1926 round oak clock with approx. 12"
dial, from Classical High School in Worcester (NOT Springfield), Massachusetts.
Circa 1925 10-inch boiler room clock in optional
Circa 1960 10-inch square aluminum-cased flush
Square oak secondary clock circa 1926 as shown
in Catalog No. 42.
Another classroom speaker clock, this one dated
December, 1939 and from Pulaski Academy and Central School in Pulaski,
New York. "Standard" AR3 movement; RCA speaker. Photo courtesy
of J. P. Wing, an alumnus of the school.
Special order bank clock; dial approximately 24
Kent County Courthouse, Rhode Island. Dial probably
a later replacement.
Courthouse clocks from the Brimfield,
MA flea markets. These are from a “Standard” system installed
around 1900, with movements and dials having all been replaced in the
late 1920's. The early dials were painted on zinc and prone to flaking.
Round oak case which once contained a 120 beat
movement. Although not a master clock, it contained the same basic mechanism
except for the shorter pendulum length. May have had hourly correction
from a more accurate clock.
Interior detail of case. Note Patterson battery
holders. "This battery holder licensed only for use with PATTERSON
TYPE BATTERIES. Use of other than licensed batteries in this holder violates
terms of license."
Earlier clock by Pacific Electric Clock Co., San
Francisco, Cal., containing movement by Joseph Mayer, Inc., believed original
to this example.
Four-dial clock at Comanche County Court House, Texas. Building constructed in 1939. John Scruggs photo.
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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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