Telechron Vintage Alarm Clock

by paperfacets

Years ago I became obsessed with Telechron clocks. I still have most of them in boxes. The desire to collect is strong and the vintage alarm clock has lots of history to admire.

Here are photos of the collection and the snippets of interesting history. I worked hands on with mechanical equipment in phone company central offices in LA County and am familiar with basic electricity and motorized parts. The parallels of invention and the excitement of the household uses of power is an interesting story. I still admire the progress and evolution of electrical products.

Telechron clocks
Telechron clocks

The Vintage Alarm Clock

My vintage alarm clocks caused alarm in the family. Some members wondered when it would stop. The vintage clocks kept marching in. They were Telechron or old General Electric clocks. My brand of choice.

Visitors to the house were quite alarmed and thought the clocks creepy, sitting lined up on the shelf; the clocks being dead in time and froze in all arrays of hand positions. They faced the door; old, dirty and some even smelly.

The second clock that arrived in the mail I plugged in and the cord burst into flame and fizzled off, dropping to the floor. I have always felt I had a lucky star and it was working for me that day. My hand, in luck, grasping the opposite side of the origin of the flame. No hurt.

Collections come naturally to most people. If one does not have to spend their time on collecting food then attentions can go to anything that strikes one's fancy.

This timely story, will chronicle the why of this collection. 




Alarm clocks are interesting objects. The collection in our house is of old electric alarm clocks. All the alarm clocks were acquired on ebay. Now they are gathering dust on a few shelves and more are packed haphazardly in boxes. Big plans started and faded away during the alarm clock crazy days.

The clock, at right, was cleaned and resold.  


Telechron Alarm Clocks
Telechron Alarm Clocks
This one had an luminous dial
Chantilly GE Alarm Clock
Chantilly GE Alarm Clock

New to Auction Buying

This collector was new to ebay and some trends were going wild in 2006. I noticed and spent time searching, watching, bidding, losing and winning. It was fun. Everyday was spent on Frosty Friends Christmas ornaments, Gonder pottery, vintage light fixtures and parts. Last and most sought after were broken alarm clocks.

Why the clocks?  A cute little art deco alarm clock would look good in the new bedroom, so that is what I looked for on eBay. The first clock I set my hopes on shot up to $85. It was the General Electric "Chantilly" Model 7H154, like the one at right, in gleaming ivory: year produced 1945-1949. This $85 clock was completely restored and looked like new, but buying one as is and restoring it, seemed like a better option.

I did not stop at buying one, because the designs were stunning, quirky and reflected a time gone by. Telechron used many art deco designs for their clocks. Searching 'art deco clocks' produced over a couple hundred clocks to choose from on the auction site.

My "Chantilly" needs cleaning and a new cord. After the burning cord experience my advice is not to run your vintage clock unattended without a new cord. A new cord with an underwriter's knot and newly soldered connections will ensure that the vintage clock is safe for operation.

Beautiful Onyx Stone
Beautiful Onyx Stone

I bought some fairly cheap broken clocks, repaired them and turned around and sold them on eBay. I sold five to a friend at work. He already had an electric clock collection and liked my electric clock repair endeavors.

Telechron clocks run and keep perfect time because they use direct AC current. AC current is sent by power companies and regulated to match a International clock set to the seconds and minutes of time. 



Vintage alarm clock
Vintage alarm clock
Gleaming ivory plastic and art deco numbers
Model Came in All Sizes
Model Came in All Sizes

Do You Have A Clock Collection?

Telechron Clocks on Etsy

In 2006 Etsy did not have Telechron clocks, but now it is a very good source for buying these old clocks. Most of them are cleaned up and indicate some repair work and so they may be less likely to burn up in your hand. I have seen good prices too.

Fast link to Etsy Telechron

Book Review: "Electrifying Time: Telechron and G.E. Clocks, 1925-1955" by Jim Linz

by Sherry Venegas

When I went through my buying craze of old electric clocks the book "Electrifying Time: Telechron and G.E. Clocks, 1925-1955" by Jim Linz was always at my side. The price guide gives a good idea on now much a particular model is worth when it is in good working order.

Secondly, the history section is an eye opener. 60 hertz standard for the U.S. power grid is largely due to the manufacture of alarm clocks by the Telechron Co. in 1916. The inventor of the alarm clock was Henry Warren. He was concerned about his clocks keeping perfect time, and along with the household clock, he invented Master Clocks to sell to electric companies to ensure that current was leaving the plant at 60 hertz.. The design requirements of the power grid eventually matched the 60 minute clock all over the U.S. They had to work together or you would be late for work.

By the late 1920s a monthly magazine was published to market electric time pieces of all kinds. In the early 20th century the Warren/G.E. companies used over 20 designers to produce timed fashion for the masses. Even two women are credited for some clock designs. Famous actors posed with clocks.

This book Includes information on how to read the Model numbers. Stats on when a model was released, how much it cost and how many sold. For instance the "Apollo" with a illuminated dial lists 1,379 sold. I have not seen this clock on eBay. The "Cathedral" originally sold for $25.00 but after the market crash of 1929 it sold for $9.95. with a total sold of 100,074 clocks. I have a good example of this clock in my collection. It was produced 1927-1932.

Hundreds of pictures of nearly each clock style, an excellent repair section for the beginner, and old magazine ads throughout. A very good collectors guide and browse for the history buff.

If you want to buy a few clocks this guide is a must to have for Telechron and General Electric clock information. It will spark and make the collecting more enjoyable.

All this and more information is in this book.

Electrifying Time: Telechron and G. E. Clocks 1925-55

Over 700 Telechron and General Electric clocks produced between 1925 and 1955 are chronicled. Repair and restoration tips are given, including an astonishing method for breathin...

View on Amazon

Alarm Clock Names and Model Numbers

All alarm clock names below are from the book Electrifying Time:Telechron and G.E. Clocks, 1925-1955 by Jim Linz. This book is so thorough that you get, clock designer, when made, how many, cost, model number, description and much more.

Can't resist collecting these names Telechron put to their clocks.

Morning Star







Quacker (A clock shaped as a duck)







New Dawning



Serene (The clock looks pretty but I bet it does not sound serene)



Gay Hour






Overseer in Brass
Overseer in Brass
1952 GE Higgins 7H70
1952 GE Higgins 7H70

Sometimes I Watch the Auctions

2/ 27/11 The Higgins clock above screams the Space age or Steampunk. Glass handmade dial over brass. The pictures on this auction are stunning.

I have never seen this clock live and in fact the Linz book has only a graphic drawing. I am thrilled see these pictures. What a Clock! The book published in 2001 says it went for $1000. on eBay.

The glass appears that it has a ripple effect on the underside, with black and goldtone circles for the number positions and white lines as extra indicators.

The brass casing appears cleaned, but the hands look untouched and it has the original cord from the 50's. The cord can be easily changed.

Beautiful clock. Model 5H70 Cost $34.95 in 1954. 8 1/2 x 7 1/4 inches. per Linz.

In the last seconds of bidding the total climbed to $684.99. A spectacular price for this very rare clock that was not popular in its day. A Van Gogh of an electric mechanical clock. The glass on this Higgins clock is stunning. Congratulations to the seller who found it and knew its value and the bidder who won it.

Updated: 06/10/2019, paperfacets
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DerdriuMarriner on 06/06/2017

paperfacets, It's an interesting endeavor since the collecting preserves historic craftsmanship and cultural history. What are you going to do with all the clocks still boxed away?

paperfacets on 10/16/2016

Very good advice. There is a price guide in the book " Electrifying Time", but it is rather old now. I will have to see if there is one on the Internet.

blackspanielgallery on 10/16/2016

Bidding requires patience and discipline. Or you will spend too much. A price guide is essential.

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