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Am trying to find out as much history as i can about the clock in the attached pictures. It came from an air base in Essex used by the Americans during the war, and has been in our family from my grandfather. Any information (type, dates, maker, usage etc..) would be of great interest. Many thanks,
Sorry, am having difficulty downloading images.
|IHC Life Member
Sergeant at Arms
Go ahead and send that one around. My grandfather left it there last time he was there lend lease and all that you know
not sure i catch your meaning. If you know anything about this clock would be great to know more.
Before the US got into WW2 there was a lend lease program where we gave ship's and equipment to our allies before the US got into WW2 I think it was a joke by Scott. Nice clock, it's in what's called a black phenolic case. Seth Thomas called the 24hrs dial clocks the type A one's with out the 24hrs dial were type B.They were eight day wind movements. I have a US Army message center clock that was used for putting the time when a message came in your clock might have been used for the same thing by the US Army Air Force.
Hi Mike, thanks for the explanation. Good joke Scott, but having spoken to my parents I am happy the clock entered into our family through honorable means!
I have seen a number of clocks which look similar on the web, but none that are identical. What is it that denotes the usage for a clock of his era? Is it the markings on the face itself, or the mechanism within? Not being a horologist myself, I am interested how one can say with certainty where in the airbase this was used.
Here is some thing about a RAF sector clock the US had a few bright colored clocks too but may be they used the one you have for the same thing.What make's your clock rare than most is having that dial with US Army Air Force on it also some time's you will see US Marine Corps.And US Army message center but you see them a lot than the other two.You will see a lot of US Navy on the dial due the Navy had them on every ship.
Here is the thread on sector clocks.
The markings on your clock - United States Army Air Forces - zero in the date to between June 20, 1941 and September 18, 1947. The reason is that the branch of the U.S. military that today is known as the 'U.S. Air Force' went through a series of reorganizations and re-namings since it was started in 1907 before they settled on U.S. Air Force as its name. The name U.S. Army Air Force is the one that was used during those six years during and after the war (1941 - 1947). There is no way to narrow it down within that time span from this marking so it could be war time and it could also be post war. However, you might get it narrowed down further if you could tell us what the serial number is engraved on the movement inside the clock.
Your clock has several names such as a message center clock or a sector clock. These were not used on aircraft or in combat situations - they were mounted on the wall of a headquarters or office type building, or in a building somewhere on an air base. Some were used as wall clocks in offices and meeting rooms, and some were on the wall of places where knowing the correct time was important such as in a message center where there were radio operators, telegram machines, telephone switchboards, mail coming in and out, and the like.
thanks for your post - great information on the date.
Is there any reason why it is a 24hr clock and not a 12hr one? What benefits does a 24hr face have over the more usual 12hr one?
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I can only speak to personal knowledge, the US Military today & back as far as I know use what we called Military Time which is 24 hour time. The reason being is with a 12 hour clock the same time comes around twice a day & when you are to do something such as a combat mission or anything else involving other people you want to make sure everyone goes at the correct time. For example infantry units are going to hit the beach at 6:00 pm which is 1800 hours & before they land the beach is going to be hit by bombers you want to make sure they are both on the same time & not one at six in the morning & the other at six in the evening.
Some countries use 24 hour dial clocks for civilian time, when I was stationed in Germany the civilians there told time in hundred hours just like the military.
In this country the police also use 24 hour time for our calls & reports, again so there is no doubt as to what time someone is referring to.
I hope I explained this OK to you.
thanks for your post. I understand your explanation, but was just going on previous pictures of WWII clocks (see william J Schorr's thread under 'seth thomas' search), which both have 12hr faces.
Can I assume from this that the clock I have was just an ordinary clock in an office somewhere, and unlike the others, had no specific (i.e. important and war winning!) purpose?
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Again I can only speak for myself but I would say your clock served a purpose & is not ordinary. I don't know how many of those Seth Thomas made but you have to figure it was no where close to the civilian clocks they made.
Also I searched for the posting your mentioned & if it is the seth thomas sector clock, if you look close you will see they also have the 24 hour markings, such at a large 1 & then 13 beneath is for 1300 hours.
Your clock is collectible from the clock stand point & also the military side, there are collectors for both areas.
From what Jim posted, who is very knowledgeable in military clocks & watches, it would help him narrow down the age of the clock with the serial number.
Also I would think you clock served a purpose otherwise they wouldn't have had it. Again as Jim said it could have been a message center clock which was used by everyone in the message center for recording the time on radio transmissions etc. I might have been used as the clock that others set their watches to for their missions etc.
I can tell you I would be proud to own the clock myself.
Thanks Tom and Jim (et al) for all your imput on this timepiece. I have loved this clock ever since I was a small child (some time ago!)and it is great to find out more about it. I know my nan, who worked at a local US airbase during WWII loved 'those yank pilots', and the clock always had pride of place in their house.
Have never seen an identical one anywhere online, so am pleased to share it with others who can appreciate its beauty and function.
|IHC Life Member
Sergeant at Arms
Here is one that I was watching
Most military timepieces will have 24 hour dials. Some will be like yours where the hour hand moves once around the dial to get all 24 hours in, while many are built like an ordinary civilian time piece that requires two times around the dial for a 24 hour period. This second type will have the hours from 1300 to 2400 marked next to the 0100 to 1200 marks (usually as 1 to 12 in large numbers and 13 to 24 in smaller numbers in an inner ring next to the 1 to 12 numbers. Some military time pieces will just have the plain civilian style 1 to 12, or something simpler like just the 3, 6, 9, 12 marked and no other markings. Military people are trained to convert the afternoon and evening hours to the 1300 through 2400 without a second thought when they see such time pieces.
It is not just in Germany where you commonly see civilian time being expressed in military style - there are quite a few countries that practice this, as others have said to add precision and avoid confusion or having to always add AM or PM. For example, in Paris you will typically see times times written as 20H or such. In this case, 20H stands for twenty hours which of course is 8:00 PM to American tourists.
thanks for the link - being in the UK i never thought of looking at US auction sites for possible similar examples.
Jim, thanks for the additional info on the clock face. Not having any military connections, the 24hr face just seemed odd. Certainly in the UK civilian world they are unusual, but from what you have said this is obviously not the case elsewhere in the world. Cheers for the post.
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