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George Nelson Ball Clock

In Clocks > Mid-Century Modern Clocks > Show & Tell.
Mid-Century Modern Clocks78 of 781911 Waterbury Clock #504Vintage Ingraham Electric Clock
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Posted 8 years ago

(27 items)

This is one of George Nelson's famous ball clocks. I wish I had been able to show more of the house around it, but this wall is pretty plain. But nothing like one of these clocks to spruce it up a bit!


  1. lisa lisa, 8 years ago
    Irving Harper, who is awesome, actually invented the sunburst clock.


    The reasons are uncomplicated. “The bosses took all the credit after the fact,” Harper said. One genius per company was the rule of the day, and amid the hurly-burly of a rapidly expanding postwar marketplace, that policy made sense. “George Nelson’s approach was to give individual designers credit only in trade publications,” Harper explained. In the consumer world, then as now, prestige and credit accrued to the big design stars. The age of branding had begun.

    However this particular design, the ball clock, is still a mystery, it seems:

    Nelson Ball Clock
    George Nelson often collaborated with other designers, and in the case of the Ball Clock (1948), Nelson was at a dinner party with Isamu Noguchi, Irving Harper and Bucky Fuller. As the story goes, they were all sketching and "we'd had a little bit too much to drink," said Nelson. In the morning, they saw a drawing of the Ball Clock on a roll of drafting paper. "I don¹t know to this day who cooked it up," said Nelson. "I know it wasn't me. It might have been Irving, but he didn¹t think so. [We] both guessed that Isamu had probably done it because [he] has a genius for doing two stupid things and making something extraordinary out of the combination. It could have been an additive thing, but we never knew." Reproduced by the Vitra Design Museum. One AA battery included.

  2. lisa lisa, 8 years ago
    The Brooklyn Museum credits Harper, though.

  3. lisa lisa, 8 years ago
    More intrigue....


    P.S.: Many years later however, Irving Harper, stated that he was the actual designer of the Ball Clock. But since nothing was officially written down on paper, the mistery will always remain...
  4. Belltown Belltown, 8 years ago
    I recommend this DIY version:
  5. david mee, 7 years ago
    Hello. Can you tell me any thing about a pocket watch made by the Nelson Company? I believe the serial number is ej41941. It has the name Michael z. berger on the movement and the back and also says one jewel unadjusted on the movement. I'd like to know how old it is and if it has any kind of value, not necessarily monetary. any information you can give me will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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