Starburst Clocks

My fellow mid-mod lovers,

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite pieces to collect. Starburst clocks!

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 10.55.03 AMThey are as popular today as when they first hit the scene in the late 1940’s. They symbolize mid-century style and that era’s movement toward modernism. Each variation of this clock is like a piece of art and ends up becoming the focal point of the room.

Metal Sunburst 2

In the late 40’s, the clocks had glass fronts that opened up to allow you to set the hands and you needed a key to wind them. Today, if you’re lucky enough to score one of these beauties, you might find that it’s missing some of its original parts. Try Etsy and Ebay for vintage replacements. Bid fast and bid high!


George Nelson and his design group are credited with introducing the starburst clock circa 1947. George Nelson designed furniture for Herman Miller as well as clocks for his son, Howard Miller.

One of my favorites is the iconic Ball Clock. It was an atomic style clock with bright, wooden balls representing the hours of the day. The name ‘atomic’ comes from its resemblance to the structure of an atom.

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 11.01.25 AM

I actually owned an original one. My husband found it at a clock repair shop in the early 90’s. At that time, I was already collecting mid-century clocks. My husband was bringing one of them to be repaired when he spotted the Ball Clock up on the wall.

The hands weren’t original, and it had been modified to work on a battery…but boy was I happy when he walked through the door with it! And he only paid $45.00 for it. What a steal! For years after, I tried to find original hands for it. I never had any luck.

The clock is now owned by the family that bought my mid-century home. I felt it belonged in that house. Here’s a picture…

Nelson Miller Clock

Much of my mid-century collection was sold along with the house. But I still have a huge collection of gorgeous sunburst clocks.

One is a rare brutalist clock that I got for my birthday a few years ago. It’s hard to clean, and when I have to take it in to the shop, I’m guaranteed to get a few cuts and scrapes along the way!

Brutalist Sunburst Clock

Trying to keep all my clocks working is a BIG job. The clock repairman that I use today is amazed every time I walk in with a different clock.

One of my favorites is a mirrored Eglomise beauty. (Eglomise is a French term meaning to gild the back side of the glass with gold or metal leaf.)It’s from the mid 1950’s and I’ve only ever seen one other like it. And it was in my Aunt’s house in 1969. I was 12 at the time and I already loved everything in her mid-century apartment.

Mirrored Eglonise Early 50's Key Wind

Today I have my clock collection grouped together on a very large wall in my stairway. I love looking at them every day as I go up and down the stairs. Here’s a look…

Until next time, Stay Mid-Mod.

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