Howard Miller Clock Company
The Howard Miller Company is a clock manufacturer that is based in Zeeland, Michigan, and specialises in modern interpretations of long-case clocks.
Brief history and description
The company was initially founded in 1926 under the name Herman Miller Clock Company. In 1937, Herman Miller’s son, Howard C. Miller created a new company under his own name and produced a huge number of table clocks, wall clocks and wall clocks designed by celebrated American industrial designer, George Nelson.
The Howard Miller Company is most noted for the clocks that they produced in the 1960s, particularly Nelson’s “Bubble Lamps” that enjoyed huge commercial success. Nelson’s clocks become icons of this era and were sold in huge numbers across America. The “Spindle”, “Block”, Spike” and “Ball” are just a few of the successful models that Nelson designed for the Howard Miller Company.
In the late-1960s and early-1970s, the Howard Miller Company produced a series of approximately eighteen cheap plastic clocks that were designed by Arthur Umanoff Associates. Some of these designs have been referred to as “Swing Timers”, “Natural Classics” and “Day Timers” and were a series of floor clocks. “Tempo ’21 Series”, manufactured in 1984, were the final clocks designed by George Nelson.
Despite their popularity, nearly all of the Nelson and Umanoff clocks were withdrawn in the 1980s and there has been no inclination that the Howard Miller Clock Company wishes to revive these design styles in their present collection.
Guide for collectors
Originally, the company exclusively made mantel clocks until the 1960s when they began to produce grandfather clocks. However, their present clock collection includes alarm clocks, large decorative wall clocks, office clocks, nautical clocks, outdoor clocks, table top clocks and wall clocks.
There has been a growing community of collectors for Howard Miller clocks, especially those designed by George Nelson. In November 2007, a “Flock of Butterflies” wall clock sold at Sotheby’s for $12,500. Nelson’s “Sunflower” and ”Brass Eye” models are also regularly auctioned at American branches of Bonhams and tend to fetch between $5,000 and $9,000. The “Bubble”, perhaps one of the most iconic examples of American modernist furniture, typically sells from $1,000 to $3,000.
Perhaps the rarest examples of Howard Miller clocks are the ornately designed outdoor clocks, which have been advertised through Bonhams for $30,000.
In September 2007, a Howard Miller Clock Company modern grandfather clock realised a price of $600 when it was sold at the Los Angeles branch of Bonhams. Constructed from chrome metal, the 4ft 8” grandfather clock was an excellent example of the company’s modern interpretation of an antique movement.
In April 2011, a Howard Miller Clock Company desk clock, designed by George Nelson, was sold at the Los Angeles branch of Bonhams for a realised price of $378. The movement was once owned by the American philanthropist Sir Daniel Donohue and fell within its presale estimate of £200-$400.
An extremely rare “Flock of Butterflies” wall clock, designed by George Nelson and produced by the Howard Miller Clock Company in 1955, realised a price of $12,500 when it was sold through Sotheby’s, New York.