Telechron Model 700 "Electrolarm" Clock

These magnificent clocks are model 700's made by Telechron from about 1929 through 1931.  They called this model the "Electrolarm".  As the name implies, it is an electric alarm clock, but that understates its effect.  The bell inside is powerful enough to wake the soundest sleeper with its raucous jangle.  There is nothing understated about the skyscraper styling, either.  It was designed at the pinnacle of the Art Deco period, just before the streamline era started to take over.

This clock was apparently sold under both the Telechron and General Electric names (note the presence of both names on the face of the white clock).

A small lamp illuminates the face (it is located just above the "12"), controlled by a tiny knob in the back.  A small lever protrudes through the front, just below the face, which will silence the alarm when pushed.  The clock stands about 8 inches high, and is 6 inches wide at the base.  It is fairly hefty at just over 3 pounds.

Most of these clocks had brass trim pieces glued to the front of the case.  Some were produced with wood trim.  The glue they used did not last, and it is extremely rare to find one of these clocks with all of the trim in place.  The two thin pieces at either side seemed to stay in place, however, and are often the only ones left.

I have a partial solution to the problem of missing trim.  Click here for more information.


Shown above is a brown Electrolarm with a complete set of wood trim.  The pieces were fabricated from three different kinds of wood and then glued in place.  This variation does not seem to have been documented anywhere (except here, of course).  I have seen a number of these clocks with at least some wood trim pieces in place, so it cannot be argued that this was somebody's home workshop effort.  The wood trim appears to have been available only on brown-cased clocks.

This clock was produced in brown Bakelite, and in white or green Vinylite. 

Some promotional literature has surfaced which shows this clock in red, black, and marbleized green.  These, I believe, were prototypes, and were never put into regular production.  A marbleized green example does exist, and a picture of it appears here courtesy of the clock's lucky owner.

Vinylite is not what we think of today as Vinyl; it is a much different material, generally known as "Plaskon".  Telechron only produced a few thousand of these clocks in white and green, making them quite hard to find in any condition.  The brown version is far more common. 

Plaskon is notorious for its tendency to develop stress cracks, and the pigments that were used to color it fade rapidly and severely in sunlight.  The green clock shown here suffers badly from both of those maladies.

The crystal on these clocks had a mirrored border, and almost all examples show an oval section where this coating has disappeared.  To prevent light from the bulb from being visible through the coating, some paint was applied over the mirroring in just this one area.  The paint adhered better to the silvering than the silvering adhered to the glass.  So, over the years, the coating flaked away.