Jefferson Golden Helm
By Roger Russell
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Catalog Number 580-111
This design is almost identical to the Golden Minute with a few minor exceptions. The hour hand is in the shape of an anchor and the minute hand is in the shape of a hook. There are 8 spokes around the outside of the dial patterned after a ship's wheel. Because of the weight and color of the clock, it could be thought of as being made of brass. However it is made of the same die cast zinc alloy as the Golden Hour. See my page showing a cross section and a metal analysis. The base and dial frame are plated with 24kt gold in a brushed satin finish. See my Gold Reference Page for information about gold and karat ratings.
The inner dial frame ring is also made of zinc alloy. It is chrome plated and engraved with numerals at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o'clock as well as radial lines at the other hours. These are filled with navy blue paint. Some Golden Helms have been found with black paint instead. The wheel spokes are individually machined.
The “crystal” is single strength select grade glass and is 3/32" thick. It is mounted in a steel, nickel plated ring gear. The eyelet (crystal retainer on the back of the clock) is steel, plated with 24 kt gold. The hand assembly is brass plated with 24 kt gold. The plastic bottom cover is Eastman Chemical Products Corp. “Zenite II” also known as cellulose acetate butyrate. The cord and plug are brown plastic. It also has a UL approval symbol on the base plate.
There are two patent numbers on the base plate. Design patent Des. 172,405 was awarded to Walter P. Suter on June 8, 1954 for this clock. It was assigned to the Jefferson Electric Company, Bellwood, Illinois. The second patent number is 2,642,713. This is actually for a different clock made by the Etalage Reclame Corporation of New York. Jefferson bought the patent rights and restyled it to become the Golden Hour, Exciting Hour, Golden Minute and Golden View. For more information, see The Clocks of Leendert Prins
The clock is powered with an International Register synchronous motor located in the base. Other motor sources are the Haydon Mfg. Company and Bowman Electrical Products Corporation. The output gear from the motor gearbox has 36 teeth and rotates at 1/12 rpm. This mates with the rim gear that has 180 teeth. This 5:1 reduction results in the clock face turning at the required 1/60 rpm, or one revolution per hour.
The picture shows the rear of the hands and the pear shaped counterweight assembly. The minute hand (hook) is located at front of the glass and is attached to it by friction so that it can be easily turned to set to the desired minutes. The hour hand (anchor) and gear assembly is located behind the glass and can turn freely. A shaft attached to the center of the glass has a gear on it that's in the counterweight gear assembly. The counterweight always stays in a vertical position. It provides a fixed position needed to drive other gears that advance the hour hand as the glass turns.
A small counterweight of metal is attached to the rear portion of the hour hand (anchor). It's the same shape and can be seen in upper left portion of the picture. It serves to hold the hour hand in proper position relative to the minute hand.
The clock measures 8" high including the spokes. The outside diameter of the dial is 6" (7-1/4" including the spokes). Depth is 4-5/8". Weight is 2.2 lbs. First date of manufacture was 1951. In 1954 it was advertised for sale at $29.95.
Literature found in a 1956 jeweler's catalog has the following description:
An exciting blend of elegance and adventure. The hands, a meticulously detailed anchor and boat hook, "float" in clear crystal. Individually machine-turned wheel spokes. Base and outer ring are 24-kt. gold plated...inner ring is satin chrome with navy blue numerals. Dimensions: height 7-7/8", diameter 7-1/4", depth 4-3/4".
$29.95 retail...plus tax
All Jefferson clocks are fully guaranteed...operate on 110-125 volt, 60 cycle AC current.
About This Site
More text and pictures about Jefferson will be added as my research continues. Any comments, corrections, or additions are welcome.
by Roger Russell