Mastercrafters Clock & Radio Co., est. 1939

Museum Artifact: “Swing Girl” Electronic Mantle Clock, c. 1950

Made By: MasterCrafters Clock & Radio Co., 216 N. Clinton St., Chicago, IL

The MastersCrafters Clock & Radio Company was a literal mom and pop shop through most of its 50 year existence—operated first by Ben Lerman and his wife Kate in the 1940s and ‘50s, then by their daughter Doris and her husband Bernard Ellman into the 1980s.

Electric Clock Corp. of America, est. 1930

Museum Artifact: Lincoln Electric Clock, c. 1932

Made By: Electric Clock Corp. of America, 500 S. Throop St., Chicago, IL

What’s in a name? I suppose a 20th century Shakespeare might have said that an electric clock, under any brand name, would still tell the same time. To Henry T. Schiff, however, the name was the thing.

In the mid 1930s,

Elgin National Watch Company, est. 1863

Museum Artifact: Elgin Pocket Watch, 1926

Made By: Elgin National Watch Company, 107 National Street, Elgin, IL

Research is underway on this one and a full write-up will be coming soon.

Victor X-Ray Corporation, est. 1893

Museum Artifact: Victor Interval Timer, 1920s

Made By: Victor X-Ray Corporation, 2012 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL

As company names go, the word “Victor” is so ubiquitous—particularly in early 20th century circles—that it basically cancels out the concept of brand recognition. The most famous Victor of the era, the Victor Talking Machine Company of New Jersey (est. 1901), was at least smart enough to distinguish itself with an iconic logo—“His Master’s Voice”

Western Clock MFG Co. (Westclox), est. 1888

Museum Artifacts: Luminous “Big Ben” & “Baby Ben” Clock Dials (1940s) and Style 1A “Big Ben” Alarm Clock (1920s)

Made By: Western Clock MFG Company, aka Westclox, 350 5th St., Peru, Illinois

A clock without hands might seem indifferent to the passage of time, but these old “Big Ben” and “Baby Ben” dials have some serious stories to tell.

Purchased from a man who claimed to have salvaged them from the backroom of an unnamed Chicago watch repair shop,