Big Ben & Baby Ben Alarm Clocks: A History

Posted by Bryan on 3/21/2013 to Alarm Clocks
It has long been the standard in alarm clocks. Big Ben and Baby Ben alarm clocks bring to mind traditional simplicity and unerring reliability. With their round face, large numbers, and classic design, they are instantly recognizable and often conjure nostalgic feelings as one's "grandmother's alarm clock."

These durable and reliable wind-up clocks were originally produced in 1909 by the Westclox Company with the Big Ben Alarm Clock making its debut first, to be followed by the Baby Ben one year later in 1910. There have been many subtle style changes over the last hundred years, with the basic design of large, plain face and traditional simplicity staying largely the same.

The overall style changes can help identify the year of manufacture with such key difference as legs or pedestal stand, and color and finish of the metal housing. The size and style of the numbers and hands have changed subtly over the years as well, helping to identify key style changes between decades. Styles 1-10 are the traditional numbered styles, with Style Number 1 being the original Big Ben made in 1909, and Style 2 being the original Baby Ben.

The style numbers follow the evolution of the Big Ben and Baby Ben Alarm Clocks all the way into the 21st century, with Style 9 starting in 1979 and being made until 2000, and the final numbered style, Style 10 being introduced in 2001. The Westclox Company eventually went out of business, and the Big Ben and Baby Ben brand was sold to Salton, Inc. Since then, the iconic alarm clock has been manufactured in China in a purely battery-operated form, with new styles and a reconfiguration of the classic styles both becoming available.

Big Ben and Baby Ben alarm clocks are an iconic legacy in clock-making with perhaps the most recognizable clock face of any alarm clock around.

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