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Friday, December 10, 2010

Jefferson clocks

The Jefferson Electric Mfg. Co. began in January of 1915. In 1931 the company moved to Bellwood, Illinois and started doing business at Jefferson Electric Company. They also opened a plant in Fall River, Massachusetts.

In the 1940s the first “mystery clock” that had no visible working parts was designed by Leendert Prins, a clockmaker from the Netherlands. This clock was called The Dutch Secret. Jefferson Electric purchased the rights for 
patent number 2,248,195 from Prins, who received royalties of 3.5 percent from the sale of each clock. They modified the design, and in 1949 they produced the Golden Hour, which originally retailed for $19.95. The Golden Hour was plated with 24K gold and had hands painted with radium paint, which is still radioactive. The use of this paint was banned in the mid-1960s.

Jefferson later produced other models, but the Golden Hour was the most popular. It remained in production until the clock division closed in August 1991. About two million of these were sold over the years.


Front row (l to r): Golden View Mahogany, "500" Gold, "500" Chrome, Intermezzo, Lady Marion Gold,
Lady Marion Gray, Integer Gold, Integer Chrome, Golden View Blonde.
Back row (l to r): Golden Secret, Golden Helm, Golden Minute, Suspense,
Golden Hour, Exciting Hour, Contemporaire. ("880" not shown)

Golden Hour (l) and Golden Secret (r)

From Golden Hour manual

Vintage Jefferson Electric sample case
Bottom row (l to r): Golden Minute, Golden Hour, Golden Secret. Top row: Contemporaire.

The Golden Secret was designed and patented by Jan Walma, who was an acquaintance of Prins and is also from the Netherlands. It also was 24K gold plated and was sold by Jefferson in the USA. The Golden Secret had no glass at all.

Golden Secret

My daughter found a Jefferson "500" Chrome in perfect working order at an estate sale at another one of her ridiculously low prices. I was outbid on one the other day on eBay, but I'll eventually find one at an affordable price.

Jefferson "500" Chrome

Jefferson Electric ran a number of successful marketing campaigns. They sold a number of clocks to other companies to be used in promotions, and they ran print ads in magazines, such as Coronet and The New Yorker. One of these campaigns is knows as Four Men in Blue Blazers.

Rhapsody in Blue Blazers ad

Wanted for Stealing the Show ad

If you'd like more information about vintage clocks, audio equipment and much more, I encourage you to visit Roger Russell's site. The amount of research he has done for the site is truly impressive. I extend my sincere thanks to Mr. Russell for granting me permission to use information and images from his site, which are almost impossible to find elsewhere.


  1. Wow! These are so cool! I love the "500"!!

  2. I see the Golden Hour one for sale all the time on ebay... Have been watching the auctions for a year or more myself... I'll snag a good deal one of these days. These are amazing!

    (I don't look for them every week, and have seen some end at great prices, I simply need to get serious about it and watch a few auctions lol).

  3. I bid on a chrome "500" the other day, but I got busy and forgot to watch the auction at the very end, and I was outbid in the last few seconds. (Yeah, if we'd watch the auctions more closely, it might help us get one...LOL) My daughter got hers at an estate sale for $1 or so. She has the best luck on earth!

  4. Simply gorgeous! I so enjoy your blog and appreciate the time you devote to it. It is so educational. Your pics are such a pleasure to drool over. Thank you!

  5. @Krazy4Mod: Thanks so much for the kind words. It's always nice to hear from someone who enjoys reading the blog as much as I enjoy writing it. :)