Sunday, October 6, 2013

Can you beat this amount of mid-century awesomeness?

Hi Friends,

First, a heartfelt Congratulations to Lisa of My Pretty Baby Cried She was a Bird blog, who got married about a week ago. I read Lisa's blog regularly. She adds wit and a knowledged eye to her many vintage finds, from tag sales to old advertisements to photos. I never know whether I will be treated to Borden's talking cow family ads, or a critique of a mid century dining room. A true gal after my own heart!

Now down to business....  I have come to possess my own little piece of mid-century awesomeness.  My very own starburst clock!

As my fellow afficianados of the fifties & sixties decades know that due to our newfound space travel, society was obsessed with all things not-of-this-earth. This translated into many design flourishes like Googie architecture found in motels, gas stations and bowling alleys, and fins on everything from cars to eyeglasses.

The Starburst or Sunburst clocks are perhaps one of the better known pieces of iconic fifties material culture. Their original designer was George Nelson, well known for his design advances in that period.  They were soon to be copied by many different companies like Lux, Elgin & Westclox. Westclox made sunbursts and starburst clocks, some capped with little balls at the end of their spikes.  Lux put little flowers on the ends of theirs and called them "atomic daisies." Some of their clocks were also made with pop-art colors like striking red or blue.   Elgin used teak and brass alternating spikes to differentiate themselves. I have included some photos of the many different types I found on the internet:

alternating teak & brass spikes

spikes capped with little balls

Atomic Daisy clock

 Personally,  as much as I love fifties design,  I was never a fan of the straight, hard lines that are found in a lot of the items then.  I like a much softer, organic feel to my furnishings. That's why previously, I never longed for a starburst clock to adorn my walls.
Then a few months ago, that all changed.  I was doing some looking around on the web, when I saw the type of starburst clock with swirly lines and LEAVES on the ends!  (I am a nut for floral and nature themed items...)
so obviously I fell in love with it, and had to try to get one of my own.      Sadly, I found that many of the clocks I saw on Etsy, Amazon & Ebay were all priced in the one-to-several hundred dollar range.
But not to be discouraged, I kept digging.  Low and behold, I found a 'fixer upper' model on ebay for $12!  yes,  my own little piece of fifties iconicness for under twenty bucks (including the shipping)      My clock still runs, although at some point the wiring was changed out, (and it looks like the person who rewired it may *not* have been a rocket scientist, as the wires look a little funky)  The official maker of my clock is United.
It also has two candlestick pieces that abut from either side a little below the dial that take a Christmas sized lightbulb. This is somewhat of an oddity, as I have not seen any other clocks that feature those.

The leaves have a fair share of rusty spots, but overall it's not in too bad of shape.  I have purchased a bottle of "Krud Kutter - The Must for Rust!"  (no kidding that's actually what the product is called!)  It's a biodegradable rust remover product.  I plan to clean the metal pieces with that, and then hit them with a couple of coats of metallic Krylon paint.    The dial needs some cleaning too.  I was also weighing the possibility of replacing the wired clock movement with one of the battery ones you can find in a craft store.  I have yet to open it up, so that may not be as easy as it sounds, but with the wiring as is, I am fearful of plugging it in and leaving the room as it may be a fire hazard.  Plus, having it eight feet up on the wall with a plug hanging down looks a little unsightly.   At the very least I am going to have my Sweetie take a look and rewire the plug with a modern one.
Nifty Candlestick appurtenances
So I am so thrilled to have found this piece!  I will definitely take pics of the 'restoration'  and post them later.
Have you found a wonderful item online or at a tag sale that you were able to fix up?  Do share!

Pleasant thoughts coming your way!

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