Westclox In Canada

Little is known about the marketing of early Westclox products in Canada, but by 1910 Big Ben and probably other clocks were being sold there. The Oct. 8, 1910 Big Ben advertisement in the Saturday Evening Post states that Big Ben sells for $2.50 in the United States and $3.00 in Canada. It seems likely that the printing on the dials and stamping on the backs of some of the clocks sold in Canada was different from that on their U.S. market contemporaries. This is exemplified by a Big Ben dated 11-27-12 originally sold in Canada that does not have a $2.50 price seal on the back as the clocks sold in the U.S. did at that time. A Baby Ben sold in Canada, movement date 1-9-18, says "Made In U.S.A." at the bottom of the dial instead of the usual "Made by Western Clock co., LaSalle, Ill., U.S.A."

In 1912 the Western Clock Company opened a sales office in Toronto, Canada, as part of its policy to establish itself in the world's markets. The demand for Westclox products gradually grew, leading to the incorporation of the Western Clock Company, Limited in 1919. The city of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada was selected and a small factory building was obtained, and in January 1920 operations were started with a force of 20 employees. At this time, parts from the LaSalle-Peru plant were shipped to Peterborough for assembly. By mid-1921 about 10,000 four-inch clocks were being assembled per month.

Production gradually increased and larger facilities became necessary. Fifteen acres of land in Peterborough were purchased and a brick and artificial stone building was constructed. The main building was four stories high and 160 feet long. It was first occupied in late December, 1922.

We have no information on which clock models were made in Canada and which parts were actually manufactured in the Peterborough plant. The earliest Canadian Big Ben we have examined has a movement date of 12-27-23 and says "Made By Western Clock Co., Limited, Peterborough, Canada" at the bottom of the dial. The back shows no patent dates.

In the early 1980's Production in Canada was stopped.

Many Canadian Westclox models correspond to the US made products. For example, many Big Ben and Baby Ben alarm clocks have the same design. See our Bens web page for dates of the basic Big Ben and Baby Ben models. There are some Canadian Westclox models that have no US equivalent. And some are similar but with slight variations. Most of the clocks have the date of manufacture on the movement (digits for month and year, or for month, day and year).

Canadian made Seth Thomas chime clocks with the #124 movement were sold. Here is a description of one from Randy of Portland, Oregon: "My Canadian made Seth Thomas has a cabinet made by "Quality Cabinets" of Canada. So it appears the Western Clock Company was either not equipped to make wood clock cabinets or the production volume was less than demand. I will also comment that the cabinet style is unlike any other mantle clock I have seen. It is 14 inches wide, 9 inches tall, 5 1/2 inches deep and finished in oak veneer. Model name is "Sheldon". It has what I would call a distinct Dutch design. Uses the typical open center dial of post war Seth Thomas electric and spring driven clocks - and some Sessions. In that era many Sessions and Seth Thomas were identical. The ones carrying the Sessions name were totally different from the regular Sessions line of clocks."

Misc. information from Bob Moore: " I recently came across this info on a local history page. 1919 Western Clock Company moves to Peterborough, Ontario and starts production of clocks on George Street. Former US President William Howard Taft visits Peterborough. 1921 New Hunter Street bridge is completed. Known as the longest "single pour" concrete bridge in the world. 1922 Western Clock Company becomes Westclox and moves to new plant on Hunter Street in Ashburnham. Board of Trade renamed Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. Early 1980's Production in Canada is stopped."

A color postcard showing the Westclox factory in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
A postcard showing the Western Clock Co. Ltd. factory in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

Below: Pictures taken in April 2010

Sign

Westclox factory, Peterborough

Westclox factory, Peterborough

Westclox factory, Peterborough

Westclox factory, Peterborough

Westclox factory, Peterborough

Westclox Electric Clocks at The Canadian Clock Museum

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