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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

Plan 59

Plan 59

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

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]

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 1963**rare**mopar Chrysler Lighted Bubble Glass Clock Gas Oil Sign Original Hasting Double Bubble Clock, Sign, Oil Can, GlobeVintage 1950's**rare**sealed Power Piston Rings Lighted Clock Gas Oil Sign 1950's Vintage Original Use Gulf Tires Pam Advertising ClockVtg Mopar Pam Advertising Lighted Bubble Clock Gas Chrysler Oil Sign Ford NeonAntique Single Fusee Wall Pub Railroad Clock Working English Advertising1950's Vintage Original Hastings Piston Rings Pam Advertising ClockOriginal Amalie Pennsylvania Motor Oil Octagon Neon Advertising ClockVintage Original Sanitary Farm Dairies Ice Cream And Milk Pam Advertising ClockOrange Crush Thermometer Sign Coke Pepsi Dr Pepper 7up ClockVintage Grain Belt Clock/fountain Motion Spectacular Beer SignVintage 15" Royal Crown Cola Light-up Advertising Glass Bubble Clock1960's Orange Crush Telechron Advertising Clock ~ Orange With Crushie ~ Vintage Bulova Watch Earle's Jewelers Pam Lighted Bubble Glass Advertising ClockVintage Strombecker Raceway Slot Car Store Clock Display Sign, Neat Piece !!!!Drink Dr. Pepper Lighted Reverse Glass Pam Clock "10-2-4" Soda Advertising 1950sVtg Mopar Pam Advertising Lighted Bubble Clock Gas Chrysler Oil Sign Ford NeonVintage 1950's Speedy Alka Seltzer Spanish Advertising Wall ClockVintage Original Telechron Jefferson Standard Insurance Advertising ClockAntique Sessions Clock Co. Regulator No. 2, Advertising Clock, ProjectOld Standard Gas Oil Thermometer 18" Works Not Pam Battery Soda Auto Clock SignVintage Welchs Advertising Clock SignOriginal Pepsi Cola Glass Advertising Clock Dial Telechron Vintage Budweiser Deluxe Label Clock Light Sign Clydesdales Faux Wood King BeerVintage Great Old Lackner Coca Cola Neon Advertising Clock/lightMopar Chrysler Advertising Clock....largeVintage Square Pam Lighted Indianapolis Life Insurance Advertising ClockAntique 1800's Ny Jeweler Watch & Clock Advertising Sign Reverse Painted Glass 1950's Certain Teed Building Products Pam Bubble Glass Wall Advertising ClockLook ! Pam Advertising Clock Face - Dairy Queen Ice Cream Face -- Look ClosePabst Blue Ribbon Beer Bar Light Clock Sign Vintage Castrol Gtx Oil Advertising Lighted Wall Clock Sign Garage Service StationVintage Pam Coca Cola Advertising ClockHuge Retro Vtg 1970's Tab Lighted Diet Soda Avertising Clock Sign By Coca ColaRare Vintage Tecumseh Engine Sign Clock Indian Logo Small Engine Briggs Gas Oil Vintage Budweiser Clock Light Bar Clydesdale Sign 1982 AdvertisementHighly Collectible Advertising Skillet ClockLighted Beer Wilken Family Tin Metal Sign Rum Whiskey Clock Art DecoRules For Dating Metal Embossed Sign Vintage Look Garage Gas Oil Ford Chevy DadsVintage Case Unimog Advertising Clock Face RareSpam Hormel Meat Sign Embossed Metal Vintage Look Soda 3d Diner Grocery Store Vintage 1950's Ballantine Beer Lighted Clock 15" X 18" Advertising CollectibleVintage Harley Davidson Advertising Alarm Clock Prestolite Battery Clock SignStanley Tool Retailer Advertising Clock Tape Measure Advertising Store Sign Dean Foods Vintage Reverse Glass Pam Clock Face Bird-on-mailbox Advertising Rog*Time To Plant Burpee Seeds Advertising Electric ClockVintage Original Turner Dairy Quality Chekd 12" Metal Sign Clock FaceSelf Winding Clock Bracket And Sign For Front Of CaseVtg Antique Old Wall Clock Advertising Sign Soda Pop Cigarette Tobacco MarlboroPontiac Sign Arrow Metal Vintage Look Garage Tools Gto Lemans Tempest Judge StpFairmont Dairy Clock Omaha Nebraska Vintage Advertising Clock Art Deco Antique & Modern Clocks Repair Sales Advertising Mirror Sign WatchParker Clock Company Alarm Clock With Rare Opera House Advertising - Ca 1905Rare Advertising Neon Clock / Sign Ftd Store Window Americana Dealer Only PromoVintage Vess Soda Light-up Advertising Plastic Bubble Clock 11"x9" WorksGo Away Metal Sign, Auto Shop, Garage, Man Cave, Wrench, Mechanic, Snap On ToolsAntique Strohs Beer Light Clock Bar Sign Mint Condition Unused LightedVintage Anheuser Busch Drum Wall Clock 1976 Beer Advertising LightVintage 1959 Budweiser Advertising Light And Clock