Antique and Vintage Advertising Clocks

Advertising clocks have been made in a wide range of materials and styles, as diverse as the numerous products and services they were designed to promote. Early advertising clocks were often elaborately carved wooden wall and regulator clocks pushing tonics, headache cures, and jewelers. More modern examples include Westclox’s alarm clocks featuring ads for "Nine O’Clock Washing Tea" on their dials, or Hamm's beer's light-up clocks with detailed depictions of lakes and rivers.

In the 19th century, two clockmaking companies dominated the advertising clock market: Sidney Clock Advertising Co. and Baird Clock Co. Andrew VanWoert Strait, who owned a store that sold watches, clocks, and jewelry, began making advertising clocks in Sydney, New York in the 1880s. From there, the Sidney Advertising Clock Co. was born.

The Sidney Advertising Clock Co. is best known for its "cylinder" advertising clock, for which it received a patent in 1886. There was no charge for the clock itself (advertisements subsidized that cost) and the clocks were not sold to the general public. Instead, they were given to hotels, restaurants, local stores, physicians, and other businesses.

At the bottom of the clock was the detail that won the company the patent. There, a glass case with three cylinders rotated every five minutes to reveal a different advertisement for cigars, tailors, beverages, and furniture. Some clocks also featured sounds, such as bells or drums, as the cylinders turned.

The Sidney clocks were all long (between five to six feet tall), made of wood, and featured a white face. Many were calendar clocks and most (if not all) had movements made by Seth Thomas. Some had glass cases exposing the pendulum while others used that surface for additional advertising. The very top of the clock case featured either another advertisement or an ornamental, scalloped design.

The clock cases made by the Baird Clock Co. were much simpler in design, although they are still highly sought by collectors today. Founded in 1887 by Edward P. Baird, the company made clocks of wood and tin. Like the Sidney Advertising Clock Co., Baird clocks mostly used Seth Thomas movements.

The most common Baird advertising clocks look almost like a figure-eight. They feature a white face surrounded by a circular wood frame on top and a wooden circle underneath. The...

Baird was also known for using papier-mâché and has been credited with creating the first Coca-Cola clocks in the 1890s.

Coca-Cola’s novelty timepieces ran the gamut from simple alarm clocks to elaborate neon wall clocks. According to some historians, Coca-Cola originally thought advertising via clocks was too expensive to be worthwhile on a large scale. But the clocks were a big hit with store owners, and by all accounts helped sell a lot of soda pop.

In addition to Baird, E.N. Welsh Co., Ingraham, and the William L. Gilbert Clock Co. created advertising clocks for Coca-Cola.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

National Watch and Clock Museum

National Watch and Clock Museum

This virtual museum, created by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, lets you stroll through tim… [read review or visit site]

Advertising Antiques

Advertising Antiques

This classy looking British site features hundreds of high resolution photos of antique porcelain pre-war (enamel) … [read review or visit site]

Clockhistory.com

Clockhistory.com

Bill Stoddard's clock history site offers a trove of great reference information on clock and watch makers includin… [read review or visit site]

Historical Marker Database

Historical Marker Database

If you're the type who pulls over when you see a 'historic marker ahead' sign, you'll love this site. Orchestrated … [read review or visit site]

Ad Access

Ad Access

Duke University's library has pulled together an impressive collection of over 7,000 ads printed in U.S. and Canadi… [read review or visit site]

Plan 59

Plan 59

From the Nostlagia Factory in Virginia comes this celebration of 'mid-century automotive advertising illustrations'… [read review or visit site]

National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum

Check out this sampling of nautical and maritime items held by the U.K.'s National Maritime Museum and Royal Observ… [read review or visit site]

American Package Museum

American Package Museum

Ian House's gallery of early 20th Century American package designs. Browse the exhibits in slide show mode or view … [read review or visit site]

Dan and Diana's Lux Clock Collection

Dan and Diana's Lux Clock Collection

Dan and Diana Lockett's amazing collection of several hundred novelty Lux clocks made by the Lux Clock Manufacturin… [read review or visit site]

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Falvo Collectables Gallery

Ralph and Carol Falvo's excellent collection of automobiles, petroliana, jukeboxes, soda, and general store items. … [read review or visit site]

Detex Watchman's Clock Album

Detex Watchman's Clock Album

Philip Haselton's guide to watchmen's time recording equipment. Includes 19th century German portables, 20th centur… [read review or visit site]

Found in Moms Basement

Found in Moms Basement

Paula Zargaj-Reynolds’ blog, an extensive collection of 20th century vintage advertising, is a visual feast. Scro… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage 1930's Authentic Dr.pepper Clock Advertising Thermometer 118-g Rare!!Vintage 1950s Drink Coca Cola Fishtail Lighted Advertising ClockVintage 1960's Rc Royal Crown Cola Soda Pop 22" Lighted Metal Pam Clock SignRare Vintage 15" Duquesne Beer Advertising Bubble Clock C.1952, Pittsburgh,nice!Rare Vintage Champion Spark Plug Advertising Display Sign Gas Oil Ac Delco ClockRare Vintage Ac Spark Plug Advertising Display Sign Gas Oil Champion Delco ClockVintage Coca-cola Coke Soda Swihart Lighted Advertising Clock Pam Type - Nice!Vintage Osh Kosh B'gosh Neon Clock Sign Nice!!Large Vintage Quaker State Motor Oil 27" Lighted Clock Sign~worksDr. Pepper Clock & Thermometer Combo Rare Advertising Button Bottle Cap ClockVintage 1960's 3v Cola Soda Pop Bottle 15" Lighted Pam Clock Sign~worksVtg Hamm's Beer Sign Clock Lighted Motion Large Waterfall & Canoe Scene-o-ramaVintage Schaefer Beer Sailboat Art Deco Lighted Advertising Clock, Old Bar ItemVintage 3 Three V Tin Metal Non Porcelain Bottler Pam Clock Thermometer Sign WowVintage 1950's Gibson Appliances Stove Refrigerator 24" Lighted Metal Clock SignHires Root Beer Light Up Clock Sign, Clock RunsHarley Davidson Sign ClockMason's Root Beer Clock Sign, RunsVintage Mason's Root Beer Clock Light Up Sign Advertising Sign Needs RepairVintage Advertising Winchester Ammunition Clock Gun Ammo Mirror Sign Cowboy 24"tVintage General Electric Wall Clock With The Oliver Tractor Logo Metal SignVintage Johnson Seahorse Outboard Motors Boat Pam Advertising Sign Light ClockC1940s Octagon Neon Advertising Clock Lima Neon Products PepsiVtg Bulova Electric Advertising Wall Clock From Jewelry Store In Pomona, CalifVintage 1960's Teem Soda Pop 15" Lighted Clock Sign1970s Hurst Shifters 4 Speed Auto Sign Clock Chevy Ford Mopar Plymouth AmcAntique Store Advertising Mechanical Sign ClockVintage C.1960 Burk's Meats Butcher Shop Pig Hog 17" Lighted Clock SignRare Antique Sessions-welch John Deere Tractor Advertising Store Regulator ClockNeon It's 5 O'clock Somewhere Sign Beach Man Cave Bar Pub Drink Clock Beer PartyVery Clean Canadian "raybestos" Garage Service Station Advertising Clock SignVintage Original 1950's Pam Mister Donut Lighted Advertising Clock No ReserveVintage Budweiser Bar Sign Clock Complete With Clydesdale Horse Team CollectableVintage Stag Beer Lighted Sign And ClockStp Metal Sign Racing Oil Pennzoil Fuel Pump Garage Camaro Parts Man Cave Ford Vintage Iroquois Beer Clock, Barrel Beer Advertising Working Perfectly, SilentYk9 Blatz Beer Sign Lighted Rare Barrel Guy Statue Clock Figure Man LightVintage Budweiser Collectable: Lighted Clydesdale Clock Sign Lost In The 50's Diner Embossed Metal Sign Drive-in Speaker Jukebox Retro Cafe ZThe Twilight Zone Sign Tv Series Rat Rod Metal Vintage Look Garage Vintage 1960's Country Companies Insurance 22" Lighted Metal Pam Clock SignOriginal Ok Chevrolet Quality Used Cars & Trucks Gas & Oil 15" Clock SignCharlie Brown & Snoopy "happiness Is A Warm Puppy" Metal Sign Peanuts Cartoon Anitique 50's Coca-cola Pam Clock/signThe Twilight Zone Sign Tv Series Rat Rod Metal Vintage Look Garage Hot Dog Embossed Metal Sign 50's Coca Cola Yankees Braves Theater21" Chevy Bowtie Embossed Metal Sign Chevrolet Truck Corvette Camaro Shop NovaNo Speed Limit Street Sign Embossed Metal Vintage Look Ratrod MancaveVintage Bulova Wall Clock - In-store Advertising - Clean Working ConditionTexaco Gasoline & Oil Vintage Mini Gas Pump Model Can Shop Sign Mancave Motor SsGmc Trucks 15" Neon Light Clock Custom Pickup Hd Part Garage Sign 1500 2500 Ck Ac Spark Plug Large 48 Inch Advertising ClockOld Coca Cola Coke Clock Button Face Advertising Sign Working Soda Shop 1940'sMetal Gulf Thermometer Gasoline Gas Oil Can Auto Shop Sign Motor Mopar Harley Vintage House Of Kolor Lighted Clock Sign By Dualite Inc.Route 66 Americas Highway Metal Sign Mother Road Mancave Garage Shop Vintage GtMichelob Beer Light Up Sign With Clock Bar Pub Tavern Very NiceVintage 1984 Dr. Pepper Advertising Quartz Clock2 Sided Chevrolet Service Flange Sign Garage Chevy Truck Corvette Camaro MobilVintage Genesee Beer &ale Lighted Sign And Clock