May 19, 2013

Clock Spotting.

I have mentioned before that I have a master clock system wired throughout our house. Typically found in schools, there is a computer sitting in the basement acting as the “master” clock and once a minute the clocks in each room click-click ahead to the next minute. All of the clocks are made by The Standard Electric Time Company of Springfield, Mass. and even though they’re all from different eras and schools (as my collection has grown over the years), they’re all compatible with one another and theoretically could have existed in the same building, much like they’re wired in our house.

I know, this clock collection makes me even more of a geek, but I have had an interest in the clocks since my first day of kindergarten, sitting on the floor in Room 5, Mrs. Mosher’s room. The clock clicked to 9:00 and a buzzer sounded, signaling the beginning of the day. It was neat.

As I have collected clocks over the years (including three clocks from my elementary school), I have built quite a collection and have connected with others throughout the country that share this interest. There’s some comfort to know that others live in that lunatic fringe of geekdom with me.

I have recently discovered all of the yearbooks available on This has helped me see some of the clocks I have collected in their natural habitat. It has also given me the opportunity to see what kind of clocks are in an abandoned building or some art deco wonder of a school that I may have spotted during our travels. For example, on my bike ride yesterday, I rode by an impressive looking school building in Oxford. A quick look at one of their yearbooks confirmed that they indeed had a Standard Electric system, as seen in this shot from their office.

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Going through these old yearbooks I can’t help but notice how much nicer the students and teachers were dressed back in the day. Folks looked well groomed. We might not always agree with the beliefs of the time, but superficially speaking, at least folks looked good. It’s amazing how much times have changed. I don’t know if there’s a lot of schools that have “Future Homemakers of America” or Rifle Clubs these days.

By the way, I’m always curious as to who remembers their clocks from elementary or high school. Here’s a picture of one of the clocks from my collection. Purely designed for functional purposes only, I still find these to be wicked cool.