It seems we are always in “Sleuth Mode” here at the museum, constantly digging through our archives, hoping to solve some of our own “Mysteries at the Museum”. Sometimes we just give up for the time being and move on to something else – until an unexpected clue falls onto the table in front of us! That is exactly what happened one slow Saturday morning.
While Don was looking through some materials from 1946, he suddenly spotted a photo that peaked his interest, called it to my attention and we sprang into full detective mode. What he saw was a photo of a Seth Thomas marine clock, which had been salvaged from the USS Tennessee at Pearl Harbor and presented to the Navy on December 12, 1945. The housing on that clock bore a striking resemblance to a clock we had on display.
The clock we have is not a Seth Thomas, but we had previously identified it as an electric wall clock, “Orb” circa 1950. It was however housed in this extremely heavy chrome plated case that we had originally interpreted as being some kind of wheel. When this clock was originally donated to the museum (in our early stages of setting up), the donor knew nothing about it, so we displayed it with other re-purposed Westclox clocks. Our thinking was that someone had put it together to suit his or her liking.
As we continued our investigation, we came upon an additional photo of clocks made by General Time for naval and merchant ships during World War II. Again, the housings were extremely similar to the clock in our display – too similar to be ignored.
All of this combined evidence has allowed us to draw a new conclusion. The clock we have is definitely an “Orb” model, minus its original case, which has been fit into a marine clock housing. It is possible that one of the marine housings was still lurking somewhere in the plant in the post-war years and was pressed into service by some enterprising Westcloxer who wanted a unique wall clock. It is still a re-purposed clock, and quite possibly one-of-a-kind.
This mystery might not ever be fully solved, unless one of our readers has more information. If you know anything about this clock or who might have put it together, please contact us. Until then,
“You never know what you might find at the Wesclox Museum!”