Horological Exhibits at the British Empire Exhibition, Wembley.


Trevor Day

            The task of collecting the various exhibits was largely carried out by the various Trade Associations, and the Watch and Clock Section, as detailed below, was bought together by the British Horological Institute, representing the Horological Industry of the Empire.

            As was fitting in the most up to date Exhibition that the world had ever seen, the British Empire Exhibition was fitted almost entirely with Electric Clocks. These clocks were to be found in most of the Palaces and buildings in prominent positions. One of the firms responsible for the installation was Gent & Co. of Faraday Works, Leicester. They dealt with all manner of Electric Clocks, but are remembered as the Inventor and Proprietor of the “PUL-SYN-ETIC” System of Impulse Clocks as installed at the B.E.E.

            Over 50 “PUL-SYN-ETIC” Impulse clocks were scattered across the Exhibition, in the entrances, Grounds, Cafes, Restaurants and in the Palace of Engineering, where close to the Watt Gate, the Transmitter operating the whole scattered system could be seen working. The transmitter in the Watt Gate was fixed upon the ebonised frame carrying Messrs. Pilkington’s exhibit of the largest piece of Plate Glass in the World.


            Some of these Impulse Clocks were adapted to carry advertising legends and were protected by registration and became known as the “Winged Clocks of Wembley”. Winged clocks could be seen In the Palace of Engineering, at the Watt Gate, the Arkwright Gate, the Kelvin Gate, the Railway Bay, Café East, Café West, Bank Café and on some dozens of exhibitor stands. Also in the Grounds, at the Grand Restaurant, the Regent Restaurant, the Harmony Buffet, the Colonnade Tea Rooms, the Colonnade Café, the South-West Entrance and the Exhibition Stand.

            Gent & Co. also manufactured Turret Clocks driven by their Patent “Waiting-Train” movement. In these clocks, wind and weather, sleet or snow, did not affect the time-keeping, as the hands were driven by a slow speed motor which “waits” at the end of each half minute until the time circuit freed it to operate another half minute. Two Turret Dial Clocks were installed at the Old London Bridge, and a further two operated at The Times Building and the Crosse & Blackwell Building respectively

            The following is a list of all the exhibitors of the Clock and Watch Section at the B.E.E

A. ALEXANDER & SON                                                        Watches

            61, Allesley Old Road, Coventry

C. A. V. SMALL TOOLS LTD                                                The “Wade” Bench Lathes

            181, Queen Victoria St, London, E.C.4

G. COTTON & SONS                                                            Mainsprings

            7, Percival Street, London, E.C.1

DENNISON WATCH CASE CO LTD                                      Watch Cases, Sovereign Purses etc.

            Handsworth, Birmingham

F. W. ELLIOT LTD                                                               Clocks

            105, Hatton Garden, London, E.C.1


            Hollyhead Road, Coventry

GENT & CO LTD                                                                  Electric Clocks

            Faraday Works, Leicester

B. T. GREENING LTD                                                           Clocks

            30, Hatton Gardens, London E.C.1

HALL BROS.                                                                          Surveying Instruments

            49/53, Spencer Street, London E.C.1

E. HARROP                                                                            Watch Cases and Expanding Watch Bracelets
Roseberry Ave, London E.C.1                                                                               

THE HORSTMANN GEAR CO LTD                                       Newbridge Clocks etc.

            Newbridge Works, Bath

THOMAS MERCER                                                                Marine Chronometers, Astronomical Clocks etc.     
, St. Albans                                                                                     

E. J. PEARSON & SONS LTD                                                Watch Straps etc.

            275, St. John Street, London E.C.1

PLEASANCE & HARPER LTD                                              Grandfather Clocks

            4, Wine Street, Bristol

T.A. REYNOLDS, SONS & CO                                             Clocks, Barometers and Scientific Instruments        
Percival Street, London E.C.1                                                                           

ROTHERHAM & SONS LTD                                                  Watches, Watch Cases etc.


SHORT & MASON LTD                                                         Scientific Instruments

            Aneroid Works, Macdonald Road, London E.17

JOHN SMITH & SONS                                                           Clocks

            42, St. Johns Square, London E.C.1

J. CICERI SMITH                                                                    Scientific Instruments etc.

            401, High Road, London W.4

ALEX STEUART                                                                     Electric Regulator and Electric Turret Movement           
Pitt Street, Edinburgh                                                                                            

STLIC WATCH CASE CO LTD                                              Watch Cases

            42, Frederick Street, Birmingham

THE SYNCHRONOME CO LTD                                             The Free Pendulum Precision Regulator               
Clerkenwell Rd, London E.C.1                                                                                 

WALTER TARBOX & CO                                                      Watch Straps etc.

            36, Canonbury Square, London N.1

F. THOMS                                                                              Watch Cases and Keyless Work

            25, Spencer Street, London E.C.1

P.P. THORNTON                                                                    Engraved Dials

            Great Haywood, near Stafford

USHER & COLE                                                                     Watches and Chronometers

            339, St. John Street, London E.C.1

WARWICK TIME STAMP CO                                                Time and Date Stamps

            5, Camden Passage, London N.1

WHITE & REDGROVE LTD                                                   Jewellery

            13, Charterhouse St, London E.C.1



©  Exhibition Study Group 2004