Have you been to the Westclox Museum? Are you even familiar with Westclox? Before you say no to the second question, consider this third question. Did you or a family member ever have a Big Ben or Baby Ben alarm clock? Probably most of you can answer yes to that one. Well, those Big Ben alarm clocks were manufactured by Westclox in Peru, Illinois for 70 years, along with his little brother, Baby Ben, and numerous cousins.
Westclox was the world’s largest producer of key-wound alarm clocks, and they manufactured countless other models of clocks, watches and other timing devices, including military fuses. Westclox also manufactured electric models, automobile clocks, pocket watches, wrist watches and pioneered quartz movement clocks and watches in the United States.
It took many, many skilled and dedicated employees to put out the many quality products manufactured by Westclox – nearly 5,000 employees in the early 1950s! Westclox knew the value of these employees, provided training, pioneered safety and cleanliness practices in the United States as well as employee benefit programs. Above all, the employees were treated fairly and provided with many opportunities for cultural and recreational activities after working hours. Can you imagine 4 bowling alleys within the plant for employee use? Westclox had them, as well as an outdoor ball diamond, horseshoe courts, tennis courts, and ice rink in the winter. Employees were encouraged to engage in social activities after working hours.
So, are you interested in learning more about this manufacturing giant from this small Midwest town? Are you curious why the people who worked here said it was like one big family? Would you like to see many examples of the products produced here? Then come to the Westclox Museum!!
You’ll learn how the company began in 1885 in a small 3-story brick building and expanded to a sprawling factory with 17 acres of floor space, how it joined with others to form General Time Corporation, with facilities in the U.S., Canada, Scotland and affiliates in several other countries, and sadly you’ll learn what caused the ultimate demise of Westclox and General Time. But, you’ll also learn how this once shuttered factory is now on the National Register of Historic Buildings and how new owners are breathing new life into it.
The FREE museum is located within a portion of the historic Westclox building. Tours of the empty factory shell are not available, but it is being divided into small business spaces that are growing.
This summer we have had a number of visitors from all over the United States. Many of them were not familiar with Westclox before visiting, but most soon remembered their parents and grandparents having some of the clocks. Even better – several promised to go through their items at home to check for Westclox items and send them to the museum! We’re looking forward to receiving them.
Come to the Westclox Museum!
“You never know what you might find at the Westclox Museum!”