Chelsea Clock Storied History

1880 - 1900

Chelsea's initial roots were unsteady, with its name changing from "Harvard" to "Boston" then "Eastman" Clock before finally settling as the Chelsea Clock Company. Despite the rocky start, groundwork for the finest in American clock making was firmly established via innovation from the country's earliest clock craftsmen.

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1884

Original Advertisement from Boston Clock Company.

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1897

Boston Clock is sold to Charles Pearson and renamed Chelsea Clock.

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1900

First Ship's Bell mechanism is designed and patented.

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1900

Early Chelsea dealer James Bliss & Company in Boston.

1880 - 1900

Chelsea brand begins to gain recognition in the market as innovative clock designs are patented and introduced, relationships with distributors are formed and marketing via print advertisements and catalogs emerge. By 1905 Chelsea had established distribution in every major American city.

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Early 1900s

U.S. Government agencies begin to order marine clocks.

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1902

Ad in Country Life promoting the Ship's Bell.

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1903

Automobile clock production begins for Rolls Royce.

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1906

Chelsea Clock Company publishes the earliest known catalog.

1910 - 1920

Chelsea Clock continues to receive orders from U.S. Government Agencies for marine clocks in increasing quantities – as a result Boston Clock was formed (a separate brand for clocks manufactured to meet government standards).

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1911

Walter Menns patents the Chelsea Automatic Ship's Bell Clock.

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1914

Advertisement featuring a Ship's Bell along with candle sticks.

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1917

The popular automobile clock was modified for airplane installation.

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1920

One of Chelsea Clock's Oldest Dealers. Wilfred O. White, seated at desk.

1920 - 1930

As the country enjoyed a period of growth and prosperity, consumers continue to buy clocks as household necessities. By 1929 competition for clock manufacturing was aggressive – an estimated 56 companies engaged in the manufacturing of clocks and clock movements, an increase of 50% compared to prior decade.

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1922

Early Chelsea Price Notice advertising 12½ discount off of Clocks.

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1928:

William Neagle assumes ownership of Chelsea after Pearson's death.

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1930

Electric clocks are produced to satisfy growing customer demand.

1930 - 1940

Drastic inventory and cost reductions were made in the face of dire economic conditions resulting from the Great Depression, which enabled Chelsea to remain viable while many competitors were forced into bankruptcy.

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1934

Airplane Clock, produced for the U.S. Navy in 1934.

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1936

Thank you from Admiral Byrd for clocks used on South Pole expedition.

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1940

War Time Catalog highlights military clocks made during the war.

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1940

Government orders during WWII helped offset declining sales.

1940 - 1950

During World War II Chelsea lives up to its reputation as "Timekeeper of the Sea", producing more in four war years than entire production since 1897. At this time Chelsea was singularly focused on furnishing thousands of clocks to the armed forces for use aboard Liberty ships, Submarines, Destroyers, Cruisers, Battleships and Aircraft Carriers.

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1943

"E" award presented by the Gov't for wartime production excellence.

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1945

Neagle retires and sells Chelsea to longtime employees King & Mutz.

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1948

Newspaper Ad placed in the Oakland tribune featuring Chelsea.

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1953

A Chelsea Mariner is presented to Boxing Champion Rocky Marciano.

1950 - 1960

The Chelsea brand was well established in post war American culture, often viewed as the quintessential award or gift of distinction for celebrities ranging from athletes to actors and politicians.

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1950s

Ad placed by Shaefer Brewing using a Chelsea to make a statement.

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1956

A Chelsea presented to General MacArthur during his campaign tour.

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1957

Ad in Esquire featuring Chelsea amidst other luxury house wares.

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1960

Bob Hope accepts a Chelsea award for his humanitarian efforts.

1960 - 1970

At one time Chelsea competed with dozens of clockmakers, including Waltham and Seth Thomas of New England. Soon assembly line methods undercut demand for precision timepieces, and the market was further weakened by the introduction of electric clocks, quartz technology and foreign imports. By the late 1960s Chelsea stood as America's only maker of precision spring-driven clocks.

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1961

Branding evolved from Timekeepers of the Sea to Aristocrats of Time.

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Early 1960s

Kennedy administration meeting with a Claremont on the shelves.

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Early 1960s

Aristotle Onassis with his Chelsea Claremont Clock.

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1969

President Lyndon Johnson watches a NASA liftoff, along with a Chelsea.

1970 - 1980

Chelsea Clock undergoes a period of change as ownership of the company transitions from Mutz and King to Automation Industries, to Bunker Ramo Corporation and finally is sold to Rick Leavitt, a native Bostonian who ultimately runs the company for 27 years.

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1972

Chelsea in a holiday ad from dealer Shreve Crump & Low.

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1975

President Ford in his study, where a Chelsea rests on the mantel.

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1975

Chelsea is granted a patent for the Tide Clock mechanism.

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1979

A Chelsea is gifted to the Pope during his visit to Boston.

1980 - 1990

Competition for quartz technology increases, and Chelsea introduces dozens of new designs to retain a leading position in the market. Leavitt requests intervention from US Customs and the Massachusetts Attorney General's office to halt counterfeit production of Chelsea Clocks in Taiwan.

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1980s

Production room with clocks on test at Chelsea Clock's factory.

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1982

Reproduction of the Terry clock as part of Williamsburg Series.

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1986

Boston Globe features Chelsea's 100 yr old approach to clock making.

1990 - 2000

The introduction of limited edition clocks was successful after the 1980's economic recessions and Leavitt expanded on the theme.

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1994

Harrison Ford in Clear & Present Danger; a Ship's Bell is shown.

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1994

Ship's Bells presented as awards at Boston University Alumni Night.

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1997

Chelsea celebrates 100 years and introduces the Centennial Clock.

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1997

Limited edition clocks made to commemorate the USS Constitution.

2000 - 2010

After leading Chelsea for more than 25 years, Leavitt steps down and sells the company to JK Nicholas, a business consultant, entrepreneur, and longtime collector of Chelsea Clocks. A new executive team is established.

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2012:

President Bush presents a Chelsea to Turkey’s president Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

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2006

Chelsea found aboard the USS Saratoga, air craft carrier from 1920.

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2009

President Obama selects the Dartmouth to gift dignitaries while abroad.