I acquired this clock 30 years ago and know nothing about it

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by Lil Mac, Mar 5, 2020.

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  1. Lil Mac

    Lil Mac Registered User

    Mar 2, 2020
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    I was given this clock 30 years ago it's a beautiful clock I have no information on it I have pictures of what I have any information would be awesome

    20200305_060459.jpg 20200305_060503.jpg 20200305_063909.jpg 20200305_064221.jpg 20200305_064313.jpg
     
  2. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
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    I think your clock is probably Japanese. There seems to be a logo on the gong block but the photos are not clear enough to make it out.

    You really need to remove the movement from the case and post photos of of the back plate, which may well have the maker's name or logo on it.

    JTD
     
  3. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    #3 rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Mar 5, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2020
    These "Pony Express System" clocks have nothing to do with the Pony Express.

    It was a ploy back in the '70's by husband and wife antique dealers to sell Japanese and even Korean clocks. Here's a snip of a picture of the pair with some of their inventory:

    pony express 1.PNG

    They bought 'em by the hundreds. Many had the labels removed and as Japanese and Korean clocks were not as familiar to many as such at that time, they were purchased by the unsuspecting as American clocks. All a crock of baloney.

    There is an excellent article in the Bulletin of the NAWCC that is an excellent telling of that story:

    https://nawcc.org/images/stories/415_290_293.pdf

    As you are not a NAWCC member, you may not be able to access it.

    So, I've tried to snip and paste the article to this posting. Hope you can read it! Click on the images to enlarge the pages then click on it again to further enlarge it.

    By the way, look at the 3rd clock in the ad on the 3rd page. Looks familiar??

    DO NOT REMOVE THE MOVEMENT. THERE IS NO POINT, IN MY OPINION.

    Enjoy your clock for what it is, a decorative item.

    pony express 1.PNG pony express 3.PNG pony express 4.PNG pony express 5.PNG

    RM
     
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  4. Lil Mac

    Lil Mac Registered User

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    Thank you for the history it may not have been what I wanted to hear but a great clock. Almost like the scam of the 70's.
     
  5. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    Apr 25, 2005
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    Thanks for the detective work, RM.

    I now remember the article, but only after reading your post.:)

    Regards.
     
  6. rgmt79

    rgmt79 Registered User
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    It's worth noting that these clocks were copies of the American Seth Thomas, but only 2/3rds the size because the Japanese houses were much smaller. They are not fakes and in my opinion, well made by Seikosha (now Seiko) (I have one, I purchased on Ebay being sold as a Seth Thomas and had a new paper dial pasted on top of the original). When the quartz movement was invented by the Japanese, being Japan they immediately abandoned the mechanical clock, leaving hundreds unsold in warehouses. The Pony Express company bought them all very cheap and sold them as genuine 100 year old antiques and the advertising implied that they were American made. Not exactly a scam, but it's unlikely that the American public would have bought them if they had known where they came from.

    Richard
     
  7. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Agreed. The Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese factories did not make them to deceive. It was how they were marketed by others down the line. Yep. Someone saw an opportunity.

    As you say, the couple who sold these were careful not to emphatically state (except for once in an interview) that they were American clocks but no doubt the implication was there. As per the article, labels were removed. Also, I believe in violation of US laws, there was no indication of the country of origin of the clocks.

    Yes, kind of a scam, really. Some context based upon having been around then. In 1970, Japan was still viewed somewhat negatively in this country as many were still alive who recalled Pearl Harbor and lived through or fought in WWII. Also, this was the time that Japanese cars started to clobber American car makers with more reliable and fuel efficient vehicles (I remember that they were derisively called "econoboxes" or worse, "rice burners") which began to exert a negative effect upon American jobs. In some quarters, buying a Japanese car was considered unpatriotic!! People perceived a threat. It was a source of a lot resentment towards Japan. Seems silly now, but then, probably that many of these clocks were of Japanese origin would not have had a positive effect upon their sales. So, being coy about that would make a certain sense.

    These clocks still come to market! See them on eBay, at flea markets, and so on. There are many on the MB who are their staunch defenders.

    RM
     
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  8. Raymond Rice

    Raymond Rice Registered User
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    RM,
    I remember buying these, 20 in a wooden crate, from an advertisement in the Mart. The ones I purchased still had the Japanese Manufacturers labels. Apparently, Japanese custom was to indicate who was the reigning Emperor on the clock label, when the clock was manufactured. I was working with some Japanese engineers so they were very helpful in giving me an approximation of when the clocks were manufactured. With a little TLC, most of the clocks were good runners--but definitely not to my taste! I'll bet most of those clocks are still out there--but worth a lot less than they sold for, back in the day.
    In cleaning out my attic last week, I found a couple of old cases and miscellaneous works -- it cost me .12 / pound at the landfill to be rid of them.
    Ray Rice
     
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  9. Chris Radano

    Chris Radano Registered User

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    #9 Chris Radano, Mar 6, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2020
    I really like the information posted here. Great work.
    Ahhh, the 1970s....with the economy stalling, and the nostalgia of the USA Bicentennial fresh in people's minds, everyone wanted to grab something they thought would increase in value. Reproduction Seth Thomas #2 Regulators, and more. My father used to bring home tchotchkes from his business and show me, "See look, this is a limited edition. See number 237 out of 5000? That means there are only 5000 of these". Even when I was young, I was not impressed. My father bought a reproduction pillar and scroll, with a westminster chiming movement. He wound that clock every week, and when it stopped running, he put it in the basement. I don't think it ran very long before it stopped. And I certainly was not impressed with that clock. I think that was our "heirloom" clock. I did sell it on Ebay a few years ago, I think $116 or so was what it fetched. My father is still living, by the way.
    I think people are smarter today, thank Goodness.
    I do like the story of the company, and that photo of the couple that sold these Japanese clocks. Sell them with those silly cards, and people will feel good. I'm sure there were 500 or more Pony Express telegraph offices out in the American wilderness where they all were hung! There must have been thousands of Pony Express riders to handle the volume of mail back then. But seriously, great marketing. And $125 is not too much of a rip off...not bad.
    Those Japanese clocks are probably better runners than our old pillar and scroll with the chiming movement.
    Oh yes, I bought a few things out of mail order catalogs back then. I made money mowing lawns and such. You know, life in that respect hasn't changed must in that regard. At least in principle.
    The 1970s was mostly a fun time that I remember, but boy there were some creepy things about that decade. And good to think how lucky we are in the internet age, with all the information we have at our fingertips. We all must be more intelligent today, right?
     
  10. Les harland

    Les harland Registered User

    Apr 10, 2008
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    In post No 6 Richard says they were made by Seikosha now Seiko
    Seiko are a very respectable Japanese make started in 1881
     
  11. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Well said!

    Your point about the Bicentennial & patriotism is a good one. Further motivation for how these clocks were marketed.

    The ‘70’s. A time of great change & upheaval. Some for the better, some not.

    RM
     

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