9.27.2010

Mid-Century Monday: Atomic Clocks

This weekend I was perusing the online Goodwill website and came across an amazing wall clock from the 1950s that had a peach face, gold spokes and gold leaves. I put it on my watch list, and then unfortunately lost track of it and missed the bidding.

In my continual search online for one to adorn our home, I came across this short but informative article from Collectors Weekly on the big-name designers behind these popular clocks. Check it out:

"After World War II, design evolved from art deco and streamline moderne to mid-century modern, which reigned from the mid-1940s until the mid-1960s. No corner of the home was untouched by this new, casual, atomic-era aesthetic, including furnishings and accessories such as clocks.

George Nelson was undoubtedly the most influential clock designer of the period. When he wasn’t designing furniture for Herman Miller Corporation he was working with the Howard Miller Clock Co. on a series of marvelous modern wall clocks. He made clocks whose hands pointed to colored balls on the ends of slender shafts; clocks that resembled sunbursts, sunflowers, and asterisks; and even a clock that suggested a human eye.

Most well-known of George Nelson's clocks

George Nelson asterisk clock

George Nelson sunflower clock

George Nelson human eye clock

George Nelson sunflower clock


Nelson had countless imitators, from Seth Thomas to Elgin to Lux to Westclox, although for many contemporary collectors, these vintage mid-century modern clocks are every bit as desirable. For example, Seth Thomas made a wall clock with Roman numerals on its face and radiating metal spokes alternating with wooden fans.

Westclox also made sunbursts and starbursts, as these mid-century clocks are variously known, one of which had 48 spokes—some were made of brass and capped with wooden balls, others were solid wood and fashioned in the shape of menacing spikes. Elgin used teak and brass for its spokes, while Lux put flowers at the ends of theirs, creating so-called 'atomic daisies.'"







So inspiring! And so much more artistic than the clocks we find on the market today. What do you think? Which one is your favorite?

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