National Watch and Clock Museum


Just recently I took the opportunity to visit the National Watch and Clock Museum in Pennsylvania for the first time, and its definitely not going to be the last. It was a 3 hour drive from New York City and completely worth the effort. The museum is also the home and headquarters of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC). What an amazing place, indeed. Nested in the historic, peaceful town of Columbia (Pennsylvania) – this gem of a museum takes you on a journey through time.

The house is an extensive collection of ancient time measuring devises, wristwatches, pocket-watches, clocks, tools and much more that are chronologically displayed as you walk though the museum starting with a large exhibit on Stonehenge. What is really interesting there and takes you back into the times of ancient horology are the real life displays of the people working in factories and using the tools and benches that were used in the days of past. Below you can find some photos from the museum that will give you a little taste of what this museum is all about.

In this photo you can see one of the rooms that has many pocket watches on display and on the back left you can also see the machines that horologers used in the old days.


The very special Asian Horology exhibit has incense clocks and among its other amazing timepieces. I found this ginormous clock to be one of the most fascinating and amazing things in the museum. It is the Engle Clock which took 20 years to complete. It stands 11 feet high, 8 feet wide, and 3 feet deep. Among its mechanical features are two organ movements, 48 moving figures, and a new type of tellurium that illustrates the positions of the moon, constellations and zodiac relative to the rotating Earth. The clock also indicates such things as the months, days of the week, moon phases, and tides. Oh, and it even tells time.


This display below spotlights the “Radium Disaster” in the mid 1900’s and shows articles about what happened to the workers that were getting sick and didn’t know why. I also really love the “Table Clock” that actually has a clock housed inside the table with a glass top. I want this for my home so bad! I don’t even know what to call this timepiece, I guess I’m going to stick with “Table Clock”. There is a photo below of old tools used to make clock dials, so interesting!

The museum has an extensive collection of books in their library dating back to the beginning of watch making through today. It is very impressive. I came across a fun exhibit of how a watch store would have looked in the mid 1900’s. Another highlight was the Stonehenge display as you enter the exhibit. There are really a lot of great things to see here, especially if you are a watch enthusiast like me! I’ll leave you with a very unique Patek Philippe Pocket Watch made for Tiffany & Co. that has Hebrew letters and a depiction of a Rabbi on the backside.


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Photos © Lawrence Leyderman. All Rights Reserved.

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