Going back further in time, here is a pretty hypnotizing silent film released by Westclox in the early 1920s to promote the Big Ben and other products. Entertainment & Pop Culture; Geography & Travel; Health & Medicine; Lifestyles & Social Issues; Literature; Philosophy & Religion; Politics, Law & Government Omega stopped using radium around 1963. The trademark "Westclox" which had appeared on their Big Ben alarm clocks as early as 1910 was officially registered in January 1916. Above all else, though, the rise and fall of Westcloxand the deeper history of these Big Ben clocks, in particularis simply far too intriguing to dismiss just because of a long-distance commute. It is a wind up. Then, on New Years Eve, as 2011 became 2012, the unthinkable happened. Westcloxs Manual for Employees read, We expect you to work hard, and the pay is accordingly large . The movement is a windup almost identical to the original. Matthiessen [pictured below], who owns the powerful Illinois Zinc Company and most other things in Peru / LaSalle, decides to swoop in and save Stahlbergs little clock business, incorporating it as the Western Clock Mfg. I have looked high and low in my attempts to find out how any of these resproduction style 1A were produced. then 4 symbols a crown an 18 and to unkown symbols in a square patern but on its side square pattern. It looks like you mount it to the wall. I have a Westclox Big Ben 1910 style 1a and have not been able to find out the present value/worth. Theyll take an old Big Ben from 1930 and make a new dial that says Indian Motorcycle or Victola, and put it on eBay. People will still look for a good wind up but the quality declined in the later years just because the companies tried so hard to keep the prices low. Despite Westcloxs deep German roots, the Illinois factory was a huge contributor to the U.S. military again during World War II, supplying upwards of a billion small parts for use in various defense products. There are also some specialty chapters, like an alarm clock chapter and a 400-day clock chapter, one that specializes in wristwatches and one on early American pocket watches. Eventually we became best friends and started researching together. I cannot date it. As Kate Moore explains it, The radium girls case was one of the first in which an employer was made responsible for the health of the companys employees. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding. var year = today.getFullYear() Westclox 0.9" LED Plasma Screen Alarm Clock with USB Charging Port 71014X. [9] The element was phased out of use by industry acting under its own volition as superior and safer luminous materials entered the marketplace. Theres a clock that came down the family, my great great granddad bought it used in about 1885, it was actually sold new in about 1839, one of the first of the weight-driven brass clocks. He corresponded with Westclox General Manager Ernst Roth over the weeks that followed, but after a final letter that September, he went silent. Early in the 20th century there was a medical practice that revolved around a new treatment involving the radioactive material called radium. It is battery operated and takes a D battery. Richard Tjarks introduced The NAWCC has an online forum with a lot of different categories. They typically have a round brass base with a glass dome over them; they were made in Germany from the 1890s up through the 1970s, and a lot of people collect them. Theyre just scattered in different places all over the country, little collections of hands, springs, screws, and things like that. Similarly, Importantly, the health risks tied to these old clocks is generally believed to be quite minimal, so long as one avoids long-term exposure or directly ingesting the paint as the Ghost Girls had. Columbia, PA 17512 [Workers assembling Big Ben alarm clocks at the Westclox plant, 1910s. Westclox Classic Alarm Clock Full Size 47602. 1970s Many of these workers developed bone cancer . Can you help It is and Elias Ingraham Brass Clock with a patent stamp of September 30, 1862. 5 17 15 is May 17, 1915 . Were finally at a point, where were ready to do more than just sit here, said Ruth Spayer, curator for the museum. Sep 23, 2011 . The Ingersoll Watch division of the Waterbury Clock Company, a nationally-known maker of low-cost pocket and wristwatches, was a leading popularizer of the use of radium for watch hands and indices through the introduction of their "Radiolite" watches in 1916. . Their factory in LaSalle, Illinois closed down in about 1980 when they moved all their production down south, but the building is still there. It would be greatly appreciated. styles to organize them That was the first antique clock I owned myself. Seeking the Big 3 goals of convenience, cleanliness, and cheap production, Dreyfuss rolled out his new-look Big Ben in 1931. Good old fashioned branding played a major role, as well. [left to right: F.W. When I got out of college I started going to the watch and clock conventions and met a man who was giving a program about the history of Big Bens and Baby Bens. Without a crystal poses a serious Health risk because the Radium paint flakes off and can become airborne. The standard operating procedure of their daily work involved literally placing radium flecked paint brushes between their lips to create a finer point before application. The only marking I can find are the letters ST in old english style inside of a diamond thats inside of a circle, on the clock works. Radium - The First Rolex Luminous Material. I have an Pine State Ice Cream Milk clock that I would like to find out how much it may be worth. Chronic exposure to high levels of radium can result in an increased incidence of bone, liver, or breast cancer. I was told it was an antique at that time. I first saw the clock in 1957. I would like to know the value of a #4 black, #321(in original cardboard Christmas box), mint condition, Baby Ben alarm clock is. When did clocks stop using radium? I am trying to determine the age. Here you can see production dates, original retail prices and other knowledge about vintage and antique Westclox clocks and watches. That batch was in production non-continuously from 1939 to 1946, housed in gunmetal cases with nickel trim. I always wondered why the dial of my Baby Ben clock, which I have had from late 60s, was marked off in 48ths of an hour instead of minutes. When Did They Stop Using Radium On Clock Hands? I was pained to learn how the girls had suffered while working here and sacrificed their lives to give the name of the company which it has today. There is a small dial inside of the clock face that has roman numerals like another clock face. It has ingraved on it 2-20-31. According to Periodic. Site of the Old Westclox factory 211-201 Hunter Street, Peterborough Ontario. On April 20, 1902, Marie and Pierre Curie successfully isolate radioactive radium salts from the mineral pitchblende in their laboratory in Paris. The next month, Roth got a cablegram from London; his friend and valued co-worker Le Roy had died for his country. Those simple words, Roth later wrote in the November 1914 issue of the company newsletter, Tick Talk, unconsciously characterized the manunaffected, direct, devoted to his cause., [Images from a 1922 issue of the Westclox company newsletter, the very cleverly titled Tick Talk]. Sometimes Ive seen them for 300 to 600 dollars. A well-dressed, steady and punctual chap, up to the minute and always on the job., Big Ben always comes to you straight from home, LaSalle, Illinois, read another. This practice resulted in the ingestion of radium, which caused serious jaw-bone degeneration and malignancy and other dental diseases. Leg model with ring on top, dustproof case. After the discovery of radioactivity in 1896 by French physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Antoine Henri Becquerel, many other scientists began to search for uses of radioactivity. Would you please direct me to someone that can do this for me? Is Westclox a good brand? These styles constitute the . The alpha particles emitted by the radium, which is taken up in bone, will kill off surrounding bone tissue, resulting in a condition loosely referred to as radium jaw. When many of these early Big Ben advertisements were still running, Gaston Le Roys life took a sudden and dramatic turn. Big Ben style 1a continued in production until its discontinuation in 1935. Not to mention theres the Big Bens so that doubles it right there. There are variations in the lettering on the dial and back. The incidents occurred at three different factories in United States: one in Orange, New Jersey, beginning around 1917; one in Ottawa, Illinois, beginning in the early 1920s; and a third facility in Waterbury, Connecticut, also in the 1920s. George Kern died on July 27, 1918 from a ruptured appendix, but his basic clock design lived on for years. US radium dial painting factory. Through it all, Peru remained the companys home base, as over 3,000 employees now enjoyed the rapidly expanding space of the factory and its attached campus, with gardens, tennis courts, a bowling alley, and other things worthy of a Matthiessen estate. See the top of this page for a current list of Before OSHA was set up, 14,000 people died on the job every year; today, it is just over 4,500. Matthiessen, 1904 Western Clock MFG Co. catalog cover, and the original Peru factory in 1905]. First, if your clock is for display only, I think it is harmless if the paint on the hands is not disturbed. Luckily for Charles, however, he is living in the same small town as Frederick William Matthiessena fellow German, but one with a hell of a lot more money and business experience. It emits alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. One time a friend and I were down there behind the factory and we got talking to a man who was leasing the back half of the factory to make machinery for bakeries. This has probably been discussed before but my search turned up nothingdo the luminous hands on a Big Ben alarm clock contain painted radium? During the early 1900's, the effects of radiation exposure were not well understood, and radium was frequently . Donohue, like many of her young peers in the radium industry, eventually realized that her amusing glow had been a warning of severe exposure to a radioactive substance. We would like to redo the entrances and lobby areas and show the history of the building right on site but have not found much anywhere. Can anyone tell me the meaning or significance of this eye? When I was eight we moved to a new house and my mom and I were looking in the attic and found an old octagon wall clock made by Waterbury, probably dated about 1880. A lot of the American Shelf clocks from the 1820s up to 1900 have reverse paintings in the door, on the backside of the glass. Radium was also used until the early 1970s in "glow-in-the-dark" paints, e.g., for dials on clocks, and in other industrial applications such as instrument calibration. We are very proud to be living in this building and would love to know more about this specific site. Inhaled or ingested particles may deposit a high local dose with a risk of radiation-caused lung or gastrointestinal cancer. They did some limited production (less than 200) in 1908, when they were still perfecting the design, then quite a few in 1909, but it really wasnt nationally advertised until September of 1910. At the top was a clock covered with a glass door. Thats another story. However, there`s no easy way for you to tell; there were no labeling requirements then as we have now. Luminous Processes employees interviewed by a journalist in 1978 stated they had been left ignorant of radium's dangers. There are also some other makers clocks Ive gotten into, like the Seth Thomas 30 hour ogee, which is a weight-driven shelf clock. The magical glow, as was widely understood by everyone involved, was created by radiuma radioactive element discovered by Marie Curie in 1898. Thank to several professionals who Ive met on Ebay, I have become quite skilled with my restorations plus making dials and alarm function indicators. Never underestimate the value of an alarm clock when yours broke two years ago and nobody has manufactured a new one since. Kind regards, Ben van Vliet. My clothes, hanging in a dark closet, gave off a phosphorescent glare. Not everyone involved with the manufacturing of Westclox products was employed directly by Westclox, however. I live in Scotland but my clock was made in USA. If you want to identify an item, try posting it in our Show & Tell gallery. It is too large (wide). How do you set the time on a old fashioned alarm clock? All the rods in my clocks are verticle that is from top to bottom of the case, four on each side at the back of the movement. The Forgotten Story Of The Radium Girls, Whose Deaths Saved Thousands Of Workers Lives, by Kate Moore, A Rude Awakening: The History of Alarm Clocks , Western Clock MFG Co. (Westclox), est. Any suggestions of where to get a replacement preferably in Canada? Something about them has always been ingrained in me. Westclox Radium Dial Clock. I hung it on my wall and we tried to get it fixed but the repairman couldnt fix it. In 1913, with help from the US government, Dr. Douglas formed the National Radium Institute, to mine radium from uranium ores recently discovered in Colorado. [6] Decaying radium also produces the gas radon, recognized as the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States[6] and the United Kingdom. Westclox Model 66 Movement Series Welcome to the Westclox Clock and Watch History Database. They asked me to give some programs myself at some of the chapter meetings so I became a little bit better at being a public speaker, and its been great meeting people. For me its kind of an inexpensive hobby because as a boy I could find them for about a dollar a piece, sometimes in good condition. Even today, with the considerable help of a thing called Interstate 80, its still about a two-hour journey from LaSalle Street to LaSalle County. thanks for your time, was doing research.. Appears from search engine a conversation about D batteries but cant find it in the text.. Can anyone inform me of the different size of D? By Dave Margulius I was given an Elias Ingraham Clock many years ago and would like to know a bit more about it and its value. When the Radium Dial Company moved to Ottawa in the 20s to better serve its number one client, Westclox, they were welcomed with enthusiasm, particularly by the young, working class women in the town. UHR (CW arrow) knob sets clock time. Can anyone tell me about this? Here you can see production dates, original retail prices and other They had one in Brazil for a while and I think also in Hong Kong. I know it was purchased in 1937 because it belonged to my elderly friends who were married in 1938. Thank you. The Windys said their union confirms an old Westclox employee rumor about the long-lasting nature of a relationship struck up near a certain fountain. Fortunately, in the years since, theres been a noble effort to retain surviving parts of the building and some of the important local history that the empty factory once represented. Is radium still used on watches? Sometimes extensive casework can be more time consuming than getting the movement running. He also recalled playing in the factory. Their Scottish factory was a full manufacturing plant, at which all their clocks were assembled from start to finish with only the basic raw materials being brought in by outside suppliers. "[5] However, radium is highly radioactive, emitting alpha, beta, and gamma radiation the effects of which are particularly deleterious if inhaled or ingested since there is no shielding within the body. I thought, oh boy, I just need four more and Ill have them all! Is this a product that the company would have made or something someone created? Condition is important, but clocks can be restored. Just as pilots in World War II had radium on the dials in their cockpits for all-condition visibility, many people who purchased Big Ben alarm clocks during the same periodincluding the very style in our museum collection (made from 1939-1946)went to bed each night sleeping next to a tiny box of radioactivity. Hundreds of thousands of clocks were produced a year, until closing its doors in 1980. Westclox also made about 5000 gold-plated reproductions. You just cant imagine the size of this factory its just gigantic. I love the Hamiltons in particular, probably some of the best watches made in America. It is stamped on the back of the casing DRP&GM. when did westclox stop using radium old restaurants in lawrence, ma . It was a gift from him to her the year before they were married. As the 1960s began, over 50 million Big Ben clocks had been produced in total, and additional Westclox plants were now in operation everywhere from Athens, Georgia, and Ontario, Canada, to Scotland and Australia. I have an antique mantle clock given to my Aunt & Uncle for a wedding gift (approximately 1949) FROM my great grandparents. On the Style 9, they went back to actual minute markings. Credit: pinimg. I wonder if the younger generations are as interested in the older things as we are, although there are some younger collectors out there learning how to do clock repair. My husband has a Big Ben clock that he inherited, it was took down from a mill and given to his grandma. Radium dials were typically painted by young women, who used to 'point' their brushes by licking and shaping the bristles prior to painting the fine lines and numbers on the dials. It would be very interesting if you could provide me with some pictures of the clock. can anybody tell me about this piece? I recently added the Big Ben Style 1 and Baby Ben Style 1 Dial and Back types. Could you suggest how I could go about finding out this information. I read (but cant remember where) that about 40,000 were made. I have never seen this mentioned anywhere. This past weekend, thanks to the Westclox Museum, its doors were opened and former workers were welcomed back for Homecoming Day. I took it back and the repairman told me it was like a large Timex watch and just not worth being fixed. I was about 3ft high and recessed into the wall. The dial painters soon became known as the ghost girls because by the time they finished their shifts, they themselves would glow in the dark. All the aforementioned to ask you if you know how many of the 1970 style 1As were made. Style 10 is the last numbered While most of our Big Ben dials are black with luminous numbers, there were also white dials with black numerals in production at the same time. Radium dials were produced throughout most of the 20th century before being replaced by safer tritium-based luminous material in the 1970s and finally by non-toxic, non-radioactive strontium aluminatebased photoluminescent material from the middle 1990s. So I swapped them, and its worked perfectly ever since. I have a small westclox alarm clock. Technically speaking, though, Westclox did still produce clocks during the gap years that followed. Stoddard: Its really hard to say. Thanks. A 'radium cow' or sample of radium would continually yield a supply of the nuclide. The only problem is a standard size D battery does not fit. German: WECKER (alarm); UHR (clock). Initially hired as a low level clerk, Le Roy worked his way up the company ladder in the early 1900s as an on-the-road sales rep, soliciting business from Chicago to New York to parts unknown. [citation needed] This rate probably only represents the dose rate from gamma emission, as the alpha emission will be stopped by the lacquer, or crystal, or case; hence, the dose rate following ingestion or inhalation of the dust could be much higher. Now I know that theres probably 14 basic shapes, but a lot more variations than that depending on how far you want to take things. Stoddard: The prices for larger wall clocks, three feet tall and up, have increased dramatically, while prices on some of the more common clocks have remained the same for the past 20 years. I cant find out anything about him or any other clocks by him. They were officially Americas preferred wake-up call provider. Lynda Hinshaw, At this moment I am research a clock by Falconer& co HongKong. into groups of similar models. Sometimes getting parts is tough, too, although it turns out Westclox made lots and lots of spare parts. Unfortunately, they also hint at a tragic chapter in American industrial history, when the appeal of a luminous new kind of paint wound up putting hundreds of workersmostly young womenat great personal risk. It was discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie in 1898. Do you have an archival dept who could give us an idea of our Western Clock which we recently acquired? They are just gorgeous watches and very well made. Westclox style series. I have a Westclox Bachelor alarm clock from probably the 50s as it was always there when I was growing up. Museum Artifacts: Luminous Big Ben & Baby Ben Clock Dials (1940s) and Style 1A Big Ben Alarm Clock (1920s), Made By: Western Clock MFG Company, aka Westclox, 350 5th St., Peru, Illinois [LaSalle]. In 1898, the Curies discovered the existence of. 1980 By the early 1950s, Westclox employed thousands of LaSalle-Peru residents. When I went home and washed my hands in a dark bathroom, they would appear luminous and ghostly, an original Ghost Girl named Catherine Donohue (nee Wolfe) later testified. They were told that eliminating lip-pointing had ended earlier problems. In the production of ordinary clocks adapted to the needs and means of the millions, America produces results of remarkable excellence. There are many Westclox alarm clock models named Big Ben. The clock is shielded From the glass crystal. By 1930, all dial painters stopped pointing their brushes by mouth. Ive been trying to compare lots of different clocks to find out what original parts go together. Radium is an almost pure white alkaline radioactive earth metal, and is found in nature in uranium ores. When did they stop using radium on clocks? England. It led to life-saving regulations and, ultimately, to the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which now operates nationally in the United States to protect workers. $38.00. Nowadays, Super-LumiNova, which is entirely non-radioactive and non-toxic, is the most used lume in watchmaking. Any help would be appreciated. I bought a 1970s Westclox pocket watch with a Hotwheels face that says authorized seller on it. Created with WordPress. It is 3 diameter with Westclox on the back and PAT.APLOFOR. its about 2 inches long maybe 1/2 in thick with holes on either end to be worn on a key chain perhaps? Handle on top: down alarm off; up alarm on. At the start of the decade, the company brought in a skilled new industrial designer named Henry Dreyfuss; a true modernist. When did westclox stop using radium? Could you please try to help me find out what kind of clock this is. Ive recently acquired a New Haven decorative wall clock. I have been collecting, repairing, and restoring mostly Westclox Big Bens for several years. They made the most of the perk, wearing their good dresses to the plant so theyd shine in the dance halls at night, and even painting radium onto their teeth for a smile that would knock their suitors dead.. From that time on, Baby Bens first and then Big Bens were available with either the plain or luminous dial. Technically speaking, though, Westclox did still produce clocks during the gap years that followed. Contact the Webmaster for perceived copyright infringement (DMCA Registration Number 1010287). It is encased in hard polymer Plastic and the ends have rivets . when did westclox stop using radium. Same as the nickel version but in a gold-plated case. The standard operating procedure of their daily work involved literally placing radium flecked paint brushes between their lips to create a finer point before application.