In the early 20th century there were several inventors working on creating an electrically run clock mechanism to overcome the need for manual winding of clocks. The Eureka timepiece was invented by Timothy Bernard Powers of New York shortly after 1900 and patented in 1906.
The Eureka Clock Company in London, England made clocks with this mechanism between 1908 and 1914, a little more than 5 years, and it is thought that around 10,000 were made by them before their demise in 1914.
This is a rarely found wall clock by Eureka; they made many more mantel clocks than wall clocks. Of the 15 models in their catalogue, this is model No. 15 and the only wall clock. This model in particular makes an interesting diversion from the popular school clock (station clock).
The design of the balance is such that a constant voltage (of c.1.5 volts) is required to ensure consistency in the amplitude of oscillation. Unfortunately early 20th century battery technology struggled to deliver a suitably stable output hence such timepieces acquired a reputation for poor timekeeping. Nowadays, good timekeeping can be achieved through the use of a regulated cell which provide a much more consistent voltage output. Such a regulation unit is included with this clock.
The repainted 12-inch dial has Arabic numerals within a minute track. It is signed PAT No. 14614-1906 / EUREKA CLOCK CO., LONDON with a skeletonised centre showing the working of the electromagnetic movement within. It has the original black steel spade hands.
The patent number and date also appear on the small brass plate of the movement in the centre, above the rating star. Here the serial number 5320 is also engraved.
The back of the mahogany case removes to show the movement mounted onto a seaboard, with the regulated battery holder below.
Eureka clocks are mesmerising to watch – see the video to the right. They have become very collectable in recent years as they have become antiques in their own right. They also represent a short period of time when everyday mechanical clockwork was being replaced by electrical clockwork. Shortly after this period the quartz movement was invented which became the ubiquitous method adopted.
To be overhauled and guaranteed for 3 years.
A new copy of Dr. F.G. Alana Shenton’s book, The Eureka Clock, will be supplied with the clock.