Henry Ellis Warren of Massachusetts was not the first to experiment with electric clocks—in fact, Edinburgh clockmaker Alexander Bain invented the first electric clock in 1843. But after failed experiments with battery-driven clocks, Warren did create the forerunner to the modern electric clock using a small alternating-current synchronous motor, known as the “type A motor,” in 1915, which he sold through his Warren Clock Company.

In the process of inventing these clocks, Warren noticed his timepieces were unreliable, not because of the faultiness of his clocks but due to the irregular nature of the power grids at the time. To fix this problem, Warren created a “master clock” for the Boston Edison electric company in 1916. His invention operated through two movements, one run by the current from the power plant and the other using an old-fashioned spring and pendulum.

The time from the pendulum was reset twice a day to match the time from the Naval Observatory, and the electric-driven clock was then compared to the spring-driven clock as a way of measuring the steadiness of electricity produced by the power company. These clocks were soon used in power plants across the U.S.

Around 1920, Warren introduced the “type B motor,” with a sealed container for the motor, which could run for many years without being serviced. By 1923, Warren had registered the brand name “Telechron,” also seen as “Telekron” in early examples. Over the years, the motors were continuously perfected—each improvement was given a letter like “F” or “H.”

Arriving in the Art Deco era, the Telechron was known for its technology as well as its beautiful, streamlined design—it was considered tremendously chic. Top designer of the era, Paul Frankl, was employed to make a “modern” Telechron clock, the 8-inches-tall “Modernique,” which he styled after his “Skyscraper” furnishings using Bakelite, chrome, and steel. After the stock market crash of 1929, broke consumers scoffed at this “$50 clock.”

Between the 1920s and 1950s, Telechron introduced a series of stylish geometric clocks, in materials such as wood, Catalin, and Lucite, by designers like Leo Ivan Bruce and John R. Rainbault. These included the “Cathedral,” the “Administrator,” the “IMP,” and “Dimension.” Telechron alarm clocks were particularly popular before the war, as they featured real, loud, metal bells.

When Warren retired in the ’40s, Telechron became part of the General Electric company. Before long, though, his technology would be outdated with the invention of quartz clocks.


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]

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]

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]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1960's Orange Crush Telechron Advertising Clock ~ Orange With Crushie ~ 1930’s Telechron Cyclometer Model 8b01 Minitmaster Electric Digital ClockVintage Art Deco Telechron Clock Bakelite Type B-2 No 0020891 Wall Clock Old Vintage Original Telechron Jefferson Standard Insurance Advertising ClockOriginal Pepsi Cola Glass Advertising Clock Dial Telechron Philco Model 53-706 Tranistone Tube Radio Telechron Alarm Clock & Table LampVintage Art Deco Telechron Wall Clock Model 2h101 Runs Great Take A Look!Ge Telechron Alarm Clock, 7h80, "julep", Butterscotch Catalin/bakelite Clock General Electric Telechron Art Deco Working Wood NrVintage Mid-century Telechron Electric Clock, Space Age LookVintage Telechron H3 And S5 Clock Rotors Lot And Rotor Coil"great Very Art Deco Blue Mirror Ge/telechron 3h94 "conway" Shelf/mantel Clock" Vintage Telechron H3 Motor/rotor Assembly Cleaned, Oiled And Tested Perfect! 1950s Ge Telechron Deco Red Kitchen Clock Working Condition $9.99 No ReserveVintage Westminister Chime Mantel Clock By TelechronVintage Ge/ Telechron Clock - Great For Restoration - UntestedVintage Telechron Glass Headlight ClockVintage Ge Telechron Chrome Streamline Moderne Deco Alarm Clock (non-working)Vintage Telechron Red Dot Model # 1h912 Electric Wall Clock 40sVintage Telechron Art Deco - Model 7 F03 Electric Alarm Clock Model For PartsClock Telechron General Electric Working Electric Kitchen Clock 1950's Nr1940s Art Deco Telechron Bakelite Kitchen Clock Minitmaster With Alarm WorksVintage Sony Pedestal Telechron Lighted Am / Fm Radio Alarm Clock - Works !Revere Electric 18" Mantle Clock Model R 937 Telechron Motor - Parts/repairVintage Lot Of 5 Telechron Electric Motor Movement Parts Lot Vtg Telechron Revere Shelf Mantel Clock Electric Westminster Chime Parts RepairElectric Westminster Chime Wood Tambour Clock W/ Telechron Movement Parts/repairGe Telechron Library School Commercial Industrial Red Eye Glass Face ClockVintage Ge Telechron Mantel Clock, Works Fine-guaranteed! Model 4h173Vintage Ge Telechron Model 7h229 Electric Alarm Clock Art Deco StyleVintage Telechron Clock Model 2h11 Art Deco Style Original Red Orange WorksNice Vintage General Electric Telechron Wall Clock In Great Working Condition !Nos Telechron Motor Timer Clock Part 4410-014-01 552Telechron General Electric Wooden Electric ClockAntique Telechron Model 59m38 Clock Brass DialGeneral Electric Telechron Thermal Control Clock 1930's Rare