The Walma Mystery Clocks
by Roger Russell

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Tribute to Jan Walma

Jan Walma (1923-2012)

He was a resident of The Netherlands. He passed away in 2012.
He was a great inventor. Sorry to see him go.

The Golden Secret


Jan Walma was awarded a patent number 2,849,897 on September 2, 1958 titled “Drive for a Step-Up or Step-Down gear.” It was assigned to Leendert Prins, Bilthoven, Netherlands. Prins was a friend of Walma and is also from the Netherlands. The clock has the name "holland" stamped in small letters on the top of the frame. It was made by Nederlandsche Uurwerkfabrieken of Amsterdam. It was sold by Jefferson Electric in the USA as the Golden Secret. The clock has no glass and the hands are driven by a flexible shaft in a hollow curved tube from the base. The motor is located in the base. The Jefferson Golden Secret shown at the left. The drawing at the right is from the patent. A most interesting feature mentioned in the patent but not included by Jefferson is the option of a second hand (20).

In 1957, Jefferson invited Jan Walma, to visit and explain a new patent that he had for a mystery clock. However, Jefferson declined to produce it and expressed preference for future designs to be battery operated. Instead, the combined efforts of the Jefferson clock engineering section and Dave Chapman, a well known industrial designer, resulted in the series of desk clocks such as the 880, Integer and Intermezzo that were battery operated. These do not exhibit a mystery feature.

Fifty years later, Jan Walma created low energy-consuming versions of mystery clocks that are shown below.


It is a new system and works on a standard 1.5V battery. The new principle is not restricted to a round shape and the mystery effect is still surprisingly present. Three of the clocks use portions of Golden Hour and Golden Secret sold by Jefferson Electric but unlike them, no counterweight is used in the hand assembly. The new clocks were completed in September 2006. A patent has now been granted. Mr. Walma had been kind enough to tell me of the events leading to his new design and pictures of his hand-made prototypes. These clocks are finished prototypes and had not been put into production.





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More text and pictures about the Walma clocks will be added as my research continues. Any comments, corrections, or additions are welcome.



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