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H7994 Alarm clock, 'Alert', hand-wound with alarm, metal / glass / paint, made by Colton, Palmer and Preston Ltd, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1945-1950. Click to enlarge.

‘Alert’ alarm clock made by Colton, Palmer and Preston Ltd, Adelaide, 1945-1950

Made in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1945-1950.
A wind-up alarm clock doesn't need batteries, so that's one less thing to go wrong when you need to be woken up. If it were invented today, it would be heralded as a marvel, requiring only a bit of muscle power to keep it ticking along. Too bad if the ticking keeps you awake!

It's almost impossible to find a wind-up alarm clock today, but when this one was made clockwork was the only choice. Australia had imported most of its clocks before the Second World War, but a few manufacturers started making them here just after the war. It was one way to keep people and machines employed after the need had passed to produce armaments and other products needed for the war.

The clock was made in Adelaide, and the dies for making it were also made there. Thus the clock embodies a high degree of local skilled workmanship: a design engineer, a production engineer, a toolmaker and production line staff would all have been involved in making it.

Debbie Rudder, Curator, 2012

Summary

Object No.

H7994

Object Statement

Alarm clock, 'Alert', hand-wound with alarm, metal / glass / paint, made by Colton, Palmer and Preston Ltd, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1945-1950

Physical Description

Alarm clock, 'Alert', hand-wound with alarm, metal / glass / paint, made by Colton, Palmer and Preston Ltd, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, 1945-1950

The clock has a round face and case, and the case is set into a small rectangular metal stand. The case and stand are painted cream, the glass is held in place by a rounded nickel bezel, and a flat nickel band is screwed into the case around its midline. The centre of the face is white, and the black numbers are set against a wide cream ring. A small clockface under the number 12 indicates the time for which the alarm is set to ring. There are two winding keys at the back of the clock, along with two setting knobs and a small button that probably serves to stop the alarm ringing.

Marks

Below the pivot for the hands: a drawing of a bell with two wings, above the word ALERT. Around the edge of the face between numbers 8 and 4: MADE BY COLTON PALMER & PRESTON LTD ADELAIDE AUSTRALIA.

Dimensions

Depth

41 mm

Production

Notes

This clock was made in Adelaide, South Australia, by Colton, Palmer and Preston, using dies made in Adelaide. This company began making alarm clocks in 1945.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Wolfe J H, 1966

Acquisition Date

17 August 1966

Cite this Object

Harvard

'Alert' alarm clock made by Colton, Palmer and Preston Ltd, Adelaide, 1945-1950 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 28 May 2020, <https://ma.as/249677>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/249677 |title='Alert' alarm clock made by Colton, Palmer and Preston Ltd, Adelaide, 1945-1950 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=28 May 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
This object is currently on display in Collection Gallery 2 at the Museums Discovery Centre.

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