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  1. #1
    Registered user.
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Montreal, Quebec.

    Default Garage sale Big ben.

    Hi all !

    My name is Dominik.

    Last weekend, I attended a garage sale in Stanstead, Quebec.
    On one table, under a car-port, among many other now unused past
    favorites, a rather big alarm clock. By curiosity, I picked it up...
    Quite heavy, solid and shining. Immediately the name Big Ben reminded
    me of this alarm clock I hated so much when I was a kid and had to
    go to school...

    This one was different, much heavier and beautiful...

    $ 7.00 was written on a masking tape piece stuck on it's side...
    Looking at it's back, I started playing with the time adjustor and
    the time needles moved, good... Played with the alarm adjustor and
    the single needle moved too, good again... I winded the clock spring
    a bit and I clearly heard a loud Tic-Tac... It was still alive ! I winded
    the alarm spring a bit too... As I could see that the alarm position
    was on continous, I moved the time needles to meet the alarm needle...
    And a very loud DRINGGGGG erupted in my hands !!! It frighthen
    everybody around including me... As people were watching me with
    some anger, it took me a little while to shut it off. I was very happy
    when the Dringggg ceased and I believe that I wasn't the only one...

    Even if I was hoping for it, I didn't expect such a strong and loud alarm !

    After the commotion I caused, the seller was quite anxious to get rid of
    this clock and of me also I suppose... I offered $ 5.00 and he gladly accepted !

    Using that marvelous thing called Internet, I found that this very good condition
    old clock was an original 1915 Westclox Big Ben type 1 alarm clock.

    That it could have survived 97 years and still be in such a wonderful uncleaned
    working condition is just amazing to me ! I suspect that it's very loud tic-tac
    and it's even louder alarm is partly responsible for it's incredible longevity !

    Now a few questions...

    I believe I did good with my $ 5.00 cdn, did I ? Or are these still so common
    today that they can be be bought for their original $ 2.50 1915 price ?

    Every thing's good with it but it could be cleaner. What product should I use
    to clean it ? Should I open it to clean and oil the clock mecanism ? Is it normal
    for such an alarm clock to have this so loud and so busy tic-tac ?

    Excuse my english as it is not my motherly tongue...

    Thank you !

    Last edited by Walterkilo; 07-08-2013 at 09:39 PM. Reason: orthography

  2. #2
    Registered User doug sinclair's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Calgary, Alberta
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Garage sale Big ben. (By: Walterkilo)


    Congratulations on your find. I have heard these called a "tin can" alarm clock. It sounds as though yours is quite an early one, although my judgement may not be the best, not being a Big Ben collector. In later years, Big Bens did become much quieter, but the older ones were a bit noisy. Many of these earlier ones had a lever on the top which enabled you to have a LOUD or SOFT alarm. I assume yours has that? As to the price you paid? That is a personal matter. You wanted it, and you felt $ 5.00 was good value, and that is all that matters. Condition sounds exceptional for a clock that old.

  3. #3
    Registered User soaringjoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Germany, North Rhine-Westphalia

    Default Re: Garage sale Big ben. (By: doug sinclair)

    Welcome to the Message Board, Dominik.
    Before letting your alarm run, the movement should be cleaned, inspected and oiled properly.
    To do that, you will need to know some essential clock-repair basics.
    Here is a list of helpful books to start with: http://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?5...r-and-building
    Jurgen "tempus nostrum"

  4. #4

    Default Re: Garage sale Big ben. (By: soaringjoy)

    I typically get considerably more than $5.00 for those. Good buy!

  5. #5
    Registered user. Kevin W.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Nepean, Ontario, Canada
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Garage sale Big ben. (By: shutterbug)

    Dominick that was a good buy. My brother lives in Ayers Cliff not far from Stanstead. I like those old Westclox alarm clocks, and nice to find one in good shape.
    Yes some do have a loud alarm, i know i would need that.
    One clock at a time. Kevin West

  6. #6
    Registered user.
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Montreal, Quebec.

    Default Re: Garage sale Big ben. (By: Kevin W.)

    Thank you for your kind answers !

    Albeit I'm sure it would need cleaning and oiling, I think I won't do any of it myself.
    This clock did pretty well without me for the last 98 years, so I will just store it properly
    till a more knowledgeable person either do it or wants it...

    This Big Ben is a time machine by it's own rights !

    I may be back with questions about 3 old punch clocks I collected over the years. 1 in wood
    with pendulum, 1 table model in metal that I never winded for lacking a key to open it and
    1 electric from the 40's or 50's... I love old punch clocks for their life & death importance
    on generations of workers !

    Thank you again,


  7. #7
    Forums Administrator harold bain's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Whitby, Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Garage sale Big ben. (By: Walterkilo)

    HI, Dominik, welcome to the message board. Old punch clocks do have an interesting history. Please do post some pictures of what you have.
    harold bain, Member ch 33
    "If it won't "tick",
    let me "tock" to it"

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