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]

Pittsburgh Signs Project

Pittsburgh Signs Project

This group artistic effort to catalog the signs of Pittsburgh captures many vintage signs (porcelain, neon, wood, t… [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]

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]

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]

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]

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]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage 1930s Rca Victor Radio Advertising Sign Old Electric Machine Age ClockVintage 1956 Southern White Bread Bakery 12" Metal Pam Clock Co Thermometer SignRare Antique Seth Thomas Oak Orange Crush Store Regulator Advertising Wall Clock1957-58 Original Pepsi Cola Double Bubble Advertising Clock Sign Not Porcelain 1965 Vintage Schlitz Lighted Beer Sign Motion Spinning Barrel Clock Light Lamp1950s Sun Drop Golden Cola Clock Advertising Sign Works Hot/rat Rod Shop No Res!1957 Inland Tires Thermometer Pam Clock Co. Advetizing Sign Garage Oil Gas RareVintage 1963*ultra Rare**ballantine Beer Curved Glass Lighted Pam Clock Bar SignAmalie Motor Oil Lighted Clock Sign Gas And Oil Advertising Vintage Durable Sign Co Lighted Advertising Sign Clock Deco Reverse Paint PartsVintage 1960's Lighted Donlands Ice Cream Advertising Electric Wall Clock SignTelechron Advertising Clock Motor And Coil H3 M1630 3.6 Rpm C60 Pepsi Quiet!! Texaco Pam Clock Lighted Clock, Display SignLarge Metal Drive In Exit Sign Hot Rat Street Rod 32 Ford Roadster Chevy HarleyAmalie Motor Oil Lighted Sign With ClockTexaco Fire Chief Gas Pump Sign Bank & Clock,gas Globe Clock,metal,15" Tall,mintAntique Victorian Advert Advertising Wooden Round Wall Clock - Bluebell TimeBig A Advantage Auto Parts Lighted Gas Oil Mufflers Clock Advertising Sign NosVintage Pepsi Cola Soda Pop Advertising Clock Metal Body Light Up Nr W/ StickersBulova White And Red Lighted Electric Sign With Accutron Clock Old Store StockNeon It's 5 O'clock Somewhere Sign Beach Man Cave Bar Pub Drink Clock Beer PartyVintage Canada Dry Advertising Electric Wall Clock / Pam Clock WorksLarge 22"route 66 Metal Collage License Plates Wall Clock Shop Garage Man CaveVintage Americana Famlee Bread Fisher Baking Slc Utah Advertising Clock1950's Coca-cola Sales Merchandising Book Sign Clock Bottle Carton Display PhotoMcturbine Inc. Aviation Advertising T53 T55 Helicopter Engine Turbine Wall ClockVintage Hamms Beer Sign/ Clock & Outdoor Scene/ For Restoration Or PartsNear Mint 1969 Vintage En-ar-co Oil White Rose Gas Slate Boy Electric Clock SignVintage Jamison Irish Whiskey Clock Sign1986 Pbr Pabst Blue Ribbon Motion Clock Beer Sign Bar * Tavern LightVintage Enjoy Coke Coca Cola Store Restaurant Clock Sign Ridan Displays LanshireBarber Shop Advertising "floyd The Barber" Mayberry-andy Griffith, Wall ClockChevrolet Super Service Double Sided Flange Sign Chevelle Camaro Chevy Nova FordVintage Rare Goulds Pumps 12" Electric Wall Clock Parts Sign The Real Ones Usa Coca Cola Advertising Clock Mirror 100 Year Anniversary Norman Rockwell Boy Ballantine Beer And Ale Lighted Beer Sign / ClockVintage Kelvinator Appliances Clock Adverting Sign WorksVintage Schlitz Lighted Beer Clock Sign Display Broadway Tarvern Working!Original Quaker State Oil Service Gas Station Lighted Clock Sign Hit Miss Nice!Four Roses Advertising Lighted Clock Works GreatAdvertising Ironclad Table Clock-1908-look 1930's Antique Vtg Deco Four Roses Whiskey Beer Bar Streamliner Sign Clock LightPam Soda Advertising Thermometer Pam "canada Dry Orange Soda" Pam Clock Co.Budweiser Neon Plastic Beer/bar Sign; Clock Genuine King Of Beers Blue 15" RoundVintage 1950s All Metal Body Marlboro Advertising Clock By Dash Metal ProductsVintage Beer Sign And ClockVintage Pabst Blue Ribbon Lighted Beer Sign Clock, Really Nice!Vintage Coca Cola Restaurant Counter Scene Clock SignVintage Molson Export Beer Bar Clock, Painted Mirror Sign, Wooden Frame, Works1952 Original Coca Cola Vintage Button Sign Maroon Clock Nice ColorsRare! Vintage 1986 Budweiser Tin Sign Clock - Official Anheuser Busch Product 5Napa Auto Parts Lot Of Advertising Collectibles Shirt Paper Weight Clock & MoreAmerican Express Advertising Swiss Movement Made Office Desk Clock Working RunsVintage Advertising Watch Fob Chicago Watchman's Clock Co Chicago IlVintag Rare Clock Coke Amazing Alarm Clock Collectibles In Red Color Advertising"have A Coffee Break" Sign With Clock & Menu Board Kitchen Restaurant 16x23.5"hRoute Us 66 Road Sign Look Battery Operated Clock & Electric Neon Lights Used Warren Clock Co. Handwritten Advertising Draft ----1917/18Open & Closed Hanging Sign And Please Call Again Will Return Clock Door Window