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A Museum Expedition

In my first Curator’s Corner article, I talked a lot about the Tick Talk magazines and our project with them. Today, I’d like to touch on some information from one of the magazines from 1929.

About 90 years ago, the Company was already attempting to establish a museum of Westclox timepieces within the confines of the plant, but with little success. In 1929 there was “…a collection of battle-scarred World War “vets”, fire victims, and several other timepieces that were made in the seventeenth century.” What the collection lacked most were the models of Westclox timepieces that were made previous to 1900.

The August 20, 1929 issue of Tick Talk carried an appeal to anyone having some of these clocks to consider donating them for the museum. They specified 3 models in particular that they had been unable to locate. At that time, the Company offered a Big Ben DeLuxe to anyone bringing in a suitable model for the museum.

We don’t know if anyone ever brought in these clocks, but we have heard people mention a collection of very old clocks that was once in the factory. Unfortunately, we have also heard tales of how those clocks were disposed of when the plant closed. We’ll probably never know “the rest of the story”.

Now, I’d like to borrow some thoughts from that 1929 article:

How would you like to go on a museum expedition? Not into a dinosaur fossil bed, nor into an Egyptian King’s tomb but into your own attic, basement, garage or storage building to see if you have any old Westclox clocks or related memorabilia! Think of the great adventure and of the discoveries you could make, and how your discoveries could become part of a permanent history in the Westclox Museum!

The family of the late Jim Shinske, a long-time Westcloxer who worked in the model shop section of the engineering department, recently went on just such an expedition. As they were cleaning out Jim’s home, they discovered a treasure-trove of Westclox memorabilia. Thanks to Jim’s “engineering mindset” and attention to details, each box and bag was meticulously labeled! Jim’s family has graciously donated his entire large collection to the Westclox Museum. Work has already begun on preparing each item (some are already on display), and all will soon be out for visitors to view.

Since we are a FREE museum, with no operating budget, we cannot offer any remuneration for your finds, but we can guarantee that all items will be treated well and displayed for all to see. We’ll even do the research to identify unique items. You can choose to donate or loan such items to the museum. We are interested in any and all Westclox products and related memorabilia, old photos, tools used in the plant, etc. Just contact us about your finds by stopping in during any open hours or email us through this site (see contact link).

Happy hunting, and we hope to see you and your finds soon,

“You never know what you might find at the Westclox Museum!”

Here are some fun facts:

  • In 1909 Westclox made a pocket watch for Peru Plow and Wheel Company. Peru Plow and Wheel was printed on the face. Can anybody find one of these?

  • Not all Westclox clocks will say Westclox on them. If it says Western Clock Company, that’s the same thing!

  • Some Westclox products were made as custom orders and did not have the Westclox name anywhere visible. If in doubt, let us check it out!

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