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85/1043 Clock, mulga wood / metal / glass / plastic, Maralinga souvenir, [Australia/West Germany], 1956-1980. Click to enlarge.

Clock, mulga wood / metal / glass / plastic, Maralinga souvenir, [Australia/West Germany], 1956-1980

Made in Australia, Oceania, 1952-1960.

A mechanical clock set in a solid block casing of varnished mulga wood, in the shape of the Australian mainland. The inset rectangular clock face is cream with a border of silver metal. The Arabic numerals are gilt. The hands are made of gilt luminous material. The words ‘West Germany’ appear at the bottom of the face. To the right of the clock face an enameled metal disc is attached to the wood. It has a silver background with a blue and red illustration of an atomic explosion with a double mus...

Summary

Object No.

85/1043

Object Statement

Clock, mulga wood / metal / glass / plastic, Maralinga souvenir, [Australia/West Germany], 1956-1980

Physical Description

A mechanical clock set in a solid block casing of varnished mulga wood, in the shape of the Australian mainland. The inset rectangular clock face is cream with a border of silver metal. The Arabic numerals are gilt. The hands are made of gilt luminous material. The words 'West Germany' appear at the bottom of the face. To the right of the clock face an enameled metal disc is attached to the wood. It has a silver background with a blue and red illustration of an atomic explosion with a double mushroom cloud above the word 'Maralinga' in red. The clock's winders and dials protrude from a metal plate at the back. This plate covers a separate rectangular wooden block at the back that is attached to the Australia-shaped block by two metal screws. Next to this rectangular block is glued a faded paper sticker, blue with a brown map of Australia. Now barely visible on the sticker, but included in a hand-written description on the object file, is a red picture of a slouch hat and the words [xxx[ Mulga [xxx]. Two wooden pegs are glued on the back of the mount towards the base, acting as support for standing. Under the base is stamped [11] 3.

Marks

Engraved on the metal plate of the box is 'A14568W', probably by a clockmaker who repaired it.

Dimensions

Height

132 mm

Width

177 mm

Depth

63 mm

Production

Notes

No maker's name appears on the surface or inside. The product is a composite of three separately made components, the wooden block, the clock mechanism and the metal disc. The hand-made wooden block in the shape of Australia has been cut with a bandsaw from a template and attached with glue and screws to a rectangular piece holding the clock mechanism at the back. The timepiece itself is of a type that was designed to be embedded in ornamental products rather than sold separately. It is set squarely and evenly in the wooden block. Its place of manufacture is marked on the face as 'West Germany'. The glow-in-the-dark paint on the clock's hands and on the twelve dots representing each hour is probably not a radioactive substance like radium, which was used for this purpose in earlier years, but another luminous compound.

The metal disc on the right, bearing the image of the mushroom cloud and the word 'Maralinga', is adhered flush to the surface, not inset. It is not centred between the clock and the edge, and seems clumsily positioned. The layout lacks the proportion and balance that we expect of a mass produced item.

At the time of its acquisition the product was assumed to originate from the period of the Maralinga bomb tests (1956-1963) but a later date (up to the mid-1980s) is plausible.

Made

1952-1960

History

Notes

Purchased on 17 June 1985 for $65 from a stall atThe Old Ark, an antiques market in City Road, Chippendale.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 1985

Acquisition Date

27 June 1985

Cite this Object

Harvard

Clock, mulga wood / metal / glass / plastic, Maralinga souvenir, [Australia/West Germany], 1956-1980 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 21 January 2019, <https://ma.as/20187>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/20187 |title=Clock, mulga wood / metal / glass / plastic, Maralinga souvenir, [Australia/West Germany], 1956-1980 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=21 January 2019 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

Incomplete

This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.

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