Vintage advertising clocks
Vintage advertising clocks are items of merchandise produced for companies to advertise their brands and products. Any clock that includes a promotional message on its dial or case is considered an advertising clock. History
Advertising and merchandise has been used to promote products throughout history. Placing brand logos, taglines and images on clocks became one common way to do this. On clocks, the brand would appear in a public place that many people looked at often to tell the time.
Early advertising clocks were wooden wall and regulator affairs. These advertised items like businesses, tonics and medicine.
Two clockmaking companies were the prominent advertising clock producers in the mid-late 19th century. These were the Sidney Clock Advertising Co, and Baird Clock Co.
To begin with, these companies had standard models of clock on which they would print the message for each company or product. Baird’s was a figure-eight shape, with a white face and wooden frame. The advertisement text was inscribed on the wood.
The Sidney company became famous for their cylinder advertising clocks. These were displayed in public places like hotels and restaurants. As well as advertising space than ran the length of the clock, they possessed three cylinders at the bottom, which rotated to display different advertisements every five minutes.
Baird are credited with creating the first advertising clocks for Coca-Cola in the 1890s. Coca-Cola clocks are extremely popular with collectors.
The trend of producing advertising clocks continued into the 20th century, and expanded into people’s homes as novelty items of merchandise. Certain companies such as the Pam Clock company rose to prominence producing advertising clocks during the 20th century.
Numerous advertising clocks were created to promote drinks, oil companies, tobacco and food. Vintage examples of these are popular collectibles.
Guide for collectors
Some people collect clocks as one element of brand advertising, for example Coca-Cola collectors.
Others collect the company who made the clocks on behalf of the brands, the Sidney Clock Advertising Company and the Baird Clock Company.
The value of the clocks is likely to alter dependent on the popularity of the brand they advertise, and their historical significance.
Antique clocks by the Sidney or Baird company are more rare and valuable than vintage mass produced designs. However these novelty items do have a great following.
You can find vintage advertising clocks at auction, on eBay, in second hand stores, garage sales, flea markets etc.
In recent years, many companies have benefited from the novelty enthusiasm for vintage advertising clocks by mass manufacturing modern reproductions. A collector must be certain to confirm the authenticity of each clock as a genuine antique or vintage example.
Notable vintage advertising clocks
Coca Cola clocks
The first Coca-Cola clocks were manufactured by the Baird Clock Company in the late 19th century. Legend has it that they were dubious about the effectiveness of advertising on clocks, but in fact it did wonders for their sales.
As Coca-Cola turned its attention to producing merchandise more and more, it was natural that they should continue to produce advertising clocks. While the earliest examples were created for display in a public place, later clocks were produced for Cola fans to have in their homes.
From the early 1900s, several different companies have produced advertising clocks for Coca Cola. The pendulum clocks favoured at the start of the century were replaced by electric models in the 1930s, and the 1950s saw plastic as the most common material used.
Other vintage advertising clocks
- Pam clock company
- Guinness St Patrick’s day countdown clocks
- Vintage Ballantine beer clocks
- Vintage Coors keg barrel clocks
- Vintage Genesee beer clocks
- Vintage Leinenkugel’s beer clocks
- Vintage Narragansett beer clocks
- Dr Pepper clocks
- Lucky Strike clocks
- Camel clocks
- Marlboro clocks
- Jax clocks
- 1906 Coca-Cola Juanita celluloid clock, sold for $17,000 at Richard Opfer Auctioneering, September 2011
- Sidney Advertising Clock company rotating cylinder clock, sold for $13,000 at Dan Morphy Auctions, December 2004
- Baird Coca-Cola advertising clock, sold for $12,000 at Dan Morphy Auctions in June 2005