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    

Telechron Electric Kitchen Clock......flying Saucer.....neat!! Ge.Vintage Electric Telechron Nautical Time Zone World Map Clock - Works Great !Major Cola Soda Vintage Round Rare Advertising Clock Telechron 970-t1950's Touraine Paints Telechron Advertising Light-up Clock - Working VgcVintage Shell Oil Gas Service Station Clock Sign Scta Display Telechron Pam Original Vintage Harvard Ale Or Beer Telechron Light Up Clock Ashland, MassVtg 1950's Telechron Red Retro Kitchen Wall Clock 2hp07 Euc No Damage WorksVintage Art Deco Telechron Electric Marble Mantle Clock1930s/40s Telechron Synchronous Elec Mantel Clock Power Interruption IndicatorVintage General Electric Telechron Industrial/school Clock 17 1/2 InchVintage White Telechron Art Deco Alarm Clock Model 7h85 Runs... Needs WiringVintage Retro Deco Telechron Wall Clock Model 2h15s Kitchenmate 40's Works Rittenhouse Westminster Wall Clock Door Chime Telechron Master Model 631 632Vtg Industrial Telechron Wall Clock Brown Round Metal Steampunk Machine Age DecoVintage Philco Transitone Clock Radio Telechron 2 Seth Thomas & 2 Telechron ClocksVintage Warren Telechron Electric Clock Style Model 4f61Vintage Revere Westminster Chime Mantle Telechron Clock, Works & ChimesVintage Telechron Usa Electric Alarm Clock 7h107 Bakelite Art Deco Running Fine Telechron Alarm Clock Red Dot Nice Looking For Decor Wood BoxRetro! General Electric Telechron Kitchen Clock Red & Silver 1960s Diner Look Vintage Telechron Art Deco Clear Lucite Alarm Clock / Keeps Perfect Time / L@@k!Vintage Electric Bakelite Clocks Telechron Reporter Model 7h117 Gothic CathedralOld Telechron Electric Mantle Shelf Alarm Clock Dial Hands Motor Movement Parts Lqqk!!!!! Telechron 2h11 Clock "the Cafe" AwesomeTelechron 2h15 Kitchen Clock Finished In A Wonderful GreenWarren,henry---1931 Letter From W. Loring -selling Of Telechron