"War Alarm" clock

Frank Lindauer

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Feb 15, 2005
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I recently picked up a very basic alarm clock that is such good shape with its original box, that I thought it was a reproduction, but it shows no such evidence (no "Made in China" or "Taiwan" stickers).

The square cardboard box is marked "War Alarm a One Day Alarm Clock, Black Finish, Made in Winsted, Conn, U.S.A" The plain dial is marked "War Alarm" but there is no maker's name on the brass movement. On the back of the steel case is a circular mark reading, "Maximum Price USA $1.65 Ex Tax." Sounds like an OPA marking from World War II.

Can anyone shed light on this very plain but curious clock, like who made it and is it likely to be an original? Thanks.

Frank Lindauer
 

harold bain

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Re:

Frank, the location of Winsted makes me think it is likely a WM. L. Gilbert product. You are likely right about its date.
 

Piecat

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Jul 6, 2006
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Re: Re:

According to "Westclox History" at ClockHistory.com, Westclox produced a
Waralarm in molded wood fiber case. OPA max. price $1.65. Does not bear Westclox name. 7 pounds brass per 1000 clocks instead of normal 300 pounds.

Piecat
 

SSWood

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Sep 27, 2004
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I have two of these clocks, though how they ended up in Hampshire in the the UK I have no idea.

I believe that during WW11, the production of domestic clocks in the USA was halted, with all of the manufacturers doing war work .. chronometers for both the Navy, and airforce, watches for service men, clocks for the numerous bases that were set up around the world, and of course items such as bomb timers.

The story I read was , that after a short time, industry had to lobby the Govt. to produce alarm clocks, as there was increasing absenteeism, due to workers not waking up in time, as their old alarm clocks broke and they could not replace them. It was agreed that alarm clocks could be made, provided they used a minimum of essential materials .. hence the paper cases, and the movements being made of steel. The only brass used in mine is the balance wheels. I believe they sold for under $2.00, and a voucher was also given, enabling the clock to be exchanged for a better one, once normal production was resumed.

Given the extremely loud ticking, and an alarm that only stops when the spring winds down, I'm sure few were ever late for work after acquiring one.. Nevertheless .. a proud history for such an unassuming little clock

Steve
 

Mike Phelan

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Dec 17, 2003
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Re:

I have seen a few Waralarms (not War Alarms) that were made by Westclox in Scotland.

Frank
What does the movement look like? Westclox movements of this period are unmistakeable. Zinc alloy arbors and pillars.

Is the name War Alarm or Waralarm? If the former, it might not be a Westclox at all.

HTH
 

harold bain

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Re:

Yes, still wonder if this was a Gilbert. Pictures of the movement might help.
 

DrTom

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Dec 26, 2012
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Re:

I have just come across one of these. This model has a metal case (steel?) painted olive drab. Unlike another Waralarm shown elsewhere, this one has a round case, looking like a heavy dark green donut. The ticking is very soft. On the back of the case there are patent numbers for the USA, Canada, Great Britain and Australia.

I have two of these clocks, though how they ended up in Hampshire in the the UK I have no idea.
I believe that during WW11, the production of domestic clocks in the USA was halted, with all of the manufacturers doing war work .. chronometers for both the Navy, and airforce, watches for service men, clocks for the numerous bases that were set up around the world, and of course items such as bomb timers.

The story I read was , that after a short time, industry had to lobby the Govt. to produce alarm clocks, as there was increasing absenteeism, due to workers not waking up in time, as their old alarm clocks broke and they could not replace them. It was agreed that alarm clocks could be made, provided they used a minimum of essential materials .. hence the paper cases, and the movements being made of steel. The only brass used in mine is the balance wheels. I believe they sold for under $2.00, and a voucher was also given, enabling the clock to be exchanged for a better one, once normal production was resumed.

Given the extremely loud ticking, and an alarm that only stops when the spring winds down, I'm sure few were ever late for work after acquiring one.. Nevertheless .. a proud history for such an unassuming little clock

Steve
 

soaringjoy

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Feb 12, 2009
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Re:

Dr. Tom, although the thread is some 5+ years old, let's see if we can revive it.

Can you post some pictures of the alarm clock you have?

I'm moving this to clocks general.
 

DrTom

Registered User
Dec 26, 2012
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Re:

Waralarm 1.jpg This is the best photo I can get uploaded. Sorry I'm not more tech savvy. Also the slots on the three screws holding the front of the case onto the back are too shallow and narrow for me to get it open without damaging the screws, so I have no pictures of the insides.
The lower rim of the face says, "MADE IN LA SALLE, ILL., USA". The back of the case says,
"PATENTED U.S.A. DES 114262 CANADA-RD. 1938 AUSTRALIA-RD. 19016 GT.BRITAIN-RD.832610 MADE IN U.S.A."
It's a neat little clock, keeping good time on my desk right now. Who would have thought when they built a humble working man's clock under conditions of wartime scarcities of strategic metals that it would still be giving faithful service seventy years later?
 

harold bain

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Re:

It's a Westclox (Western Clock Company) made alarm clock, Tom.
 

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