Kit Cat Clocks

Your ancestors were of an era when much of the food was still made from scratch, making kitchen clocks crucial to timing the baking of cake or Sunday’s roast to perfection. Early wall clocks in the kitchen started in the 1920s, and could be hard-wired into the house electric, wind-up clocks or be plug-in models.

A very different style kitchen clock came out in 1932 made of metal. They were made by the Allied Clock Co., in Portland , Oregon. The new style clocks looked like a cat, designed by Earl Arnhault and were winding type clocks. They became popular during the 1930s with their wide smile and big eyes telling of a happy-yet-mischievous feline. The moving-or animated eyes and tail only added to the enjoyment, making it appear that the cat has something to say about how you’re using your time.

By the 1940s, the Allied Clock Co., moved the business to Seattle, WA, with the clock now made of plastic with an electric operation (the most popular style).

The bow tie, whiskers, and front paws were added in the early 1950s, when the clock gained even more popularity in American homes. The classic black and white color scheme meant that it went with pretty much any color of decor and the fun shape was enjoyed by all types of customers. The clocks proved so popular that they’re considered classic Americana even to this day. Now think back, surely you, your parents or grandparents had a ‘Kit-Kat’ / ‘Kit-Cat’ clock.

In the 1960s the operations moved to California and were produced by the California Clock Company. It was at this time that the production was expanded to include clocks in the shapes of other animals besides cats. There was a poodle clock and an owl clock. Of course, other companies also produced similar type clocks, such as the ‘Klocker Spaniel’ – a dog clock.

By the late 1980s, the California Clock Co., now had battery-operated Kit-Cat models. The classic plug-in Kit-Cat models remained the true vintage pieces.

The older models are collector pieces and can cost between $200-$650. You can figure the age by where it was manufactured. The place is listed on the back of the clock.

The Kit-Cat clocks are still sold today and were even featured in the opening scene of the 1985 movie “Back to the Future.”

Photo: 1939 ‘Kit-Cat’ clock with plug-in cord.

Related Blogs:

German Inventions

Keeping Family Artifacts

Kitchen Essentials of the 1940s

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