Ever Ready/Gilbert Electrically Illuminated Clock
|This unit is
one of the earliest products made by the American Ever Ready Company,
the forerunner of today's Eveready Battery Company. The
company was founded in 1898, and the name was changed to "Eveready" in
1906. Certain features suggest that the bulb was made no later
than 1900, so I believe the unit dates to the 1898 to 1900 period.
A similar design was patented (no. 700,496, filed in 1900, issued in 1902) by the founder of Ever Ready, Conrad Hubert. In this patent, the clock is configured to control the light as an alarm feature, however, the unit shown here has no such capability. The similarities, however, confirm the origin of this unit.
The clock, itself, is a cheap wind-up unit. It has a patent date on the back of Jan 25, 1898. The only clock-related patent issued on that date was assigned to the Gilbert clock company, so I assume that's who made the clock. The steel shell of the clock was coated with a red lacquer finish, which appears to be original.
A switch on the top of the oak battery box controlled the light, but it could also be controlled remotely by a button and cord assembly seen below. It plugged into the two small jacks on the right side of the box.
|The bulb appears to have a carbon filament, and the base is filled with Plaster of Paris, a material that was commonly used in early bulbs. It was not water resistant, however, and was generally not used after about 1900 (replaced briefly by porcelain, and then by black glass). The base is brass and the thread was machined rather than stamped. There are no markings on the bulb.|
|In the battery compartment, at the top, you can see two contacts strips which matched those on the battery. A sliding panel held the battery in place.|
|The battery that was in this unit is in remarkably good condition for one that is over 100 year old. I believe the warranty has expired, so I won't take it back to the store for a refund!|