Temco

Updated 18 October 2016.

The history of the Telephone Manufacturing Company of Britain (TMC), who made synchronous electric clocks using the trademark Temco, is complicated and unclear. At the outbreak of the First World War it was no longer possible to import telephones from Germany so the TMC was formed to manufacture them. TMC went public as the Telephone Manufacturing Company (1920) Ltd. In 1924 it was known as the Telephone Manufacturing Company Limited and, after a re-organisation of activities as the Telephone Manufacturing Co. 1929 Ltd. TMC’s founder, F T Jackson died on 14 August 1959. In the 1960s TMC was taken over by the Pye Group and became Pye TMC ltd. For further information click the link below and see the references below.

Bob’s Old Phones http://www.bobsoldphones.net

PHILPOTT S F. Modern electric clocks. Second edition. London: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons Ltd, 1935.

Production of Temco synchronous clocks appears to have started in about 1931 and ended some time after 1952. TMC had several factories, in Britain and abroad. In 1937 Temco clocks were being manufactured at their main factory in Dulwich. Most of the clocks have Mark V movements, some have Mark IV movements and a few clocks have movements without a Mark number, presumably this the Mark I movement.  A clock with a Mark II movement is known. Mark V movements were made with at least three different spindle lengths to suit different cases, and Mark IV movements with at least two. Differences between the Mark IV and Mark V movements are minor. They appear to be confined to differences in arbor diameters, different methods of fixing the motor to the back plate, and different methods of fixing the hand set knob.

Two Temco movements are described briefly in ROBINSON T R. Modern Clocks. Their repair and maintenance. Second edition. London: N A G Press Ltd, 1942. One of them could be either the Mark IV or the Mark V movement, fitted to some of the clocks described in the links.  A Temco movement is decribed briefly in WISE S J. Electric clocks. Second edition. London: Heywood & Company Ltd, 1951. This appears to be the Mark V movement.

Mark I and Mark II movements were produced between 1931 and about 1933. The Mark IV movement was produced from about 1933 to 1938, and the Mark V movement from 1938 to the late 1940s. A clock with a presentation plaque dated 2 June 1928 is fitted with a Mark V movement, but this is an obvious anachronism. Clocks fitted with Mark IV and Mark V movements are very reliable, unless they have been damaged by unskilled ‘repairers’.

For more information on a clock click on the link. If no link see POOK L P. British domestic synchronous clocks 1930-1980. The rise and fall of a technology. Springer, 2015. Where noted see POOK L P. Temco Art Deco domestic synchronous clocks. Watch & Clock Bulletin, 2014, 56/1(407), 47-58.


Temco synchronous alarm clock S 83 Temco C
Described in ‘Temco Art Deco domestic synchronous clocks’.


Temco chiming synchronous mantel clock
Described in ‘Temco Art Deco domestic synchronous clocks’.

9 Jly 09 C
Temco synchronous granddaughter clock

15 Mar 16 B
Temco synchronous miniature grandfather clock s-302-temco-a


Temco synchronous bedside clock (1)


Temco synchronous bedside clock (2)


Temco synchronous mantel clock (3)
Described in ‘Temco Art Deco domestic synchronous clocks’.


Temco synchronous mantel clock (4)


Temco synchronous mantel clock (5)
Described in ‘Temco Art Deco domestic synchronous clocks’.


Temco synchronous mantel clock (6)


Temco synchronous mantel clock (7)
Described in ‘Temco Art Deco domestic synchronous clocks’.


Temco synchronous mantel clock (8)


Anonymous synchronous bedside clock with Temco movement (9)
S 117 Anonymous B


Temco synchronous mantel clock (10)


Temco synchronous mantel clock (11)


Temco synchronous mantel clock (12)
Described in ‘Temco Art Deco domestic synchronous clocks’.


Temco synchronous mantel clock (13)
Described in ‘Temco Art Deco domestic synchronous clocks’.


Temco synchronous mantel clock (14)
Described in ‘Temco Art Deco domestic synchronous clocks’.


Temco synchronous mantel clock (15)
Described in ‘Temco Art Deco domestic synchronous clocks’.


Temco synchronous mantel clock (16) S 147 Temco A


Temco synchronous mantel clock (17)
Described in ‘Temco Art Deco domestic synchronous clocks’.


Temco synchronous mantel clock (18) S 93 Temco A


Temco synchronous bedside clock (19)


Temco synchronous bedside clock (20)


Temco synchronous mantel clock (21) S 151 Temco A


Temco synchronous mantel clock (22)
Described in ‘Temco Art Deco domestic synchronous clocks’.


Temco synchronous mantel clock (23)


Temco synchronous mantel clock (24)

Temco synchronous bedside clock (25) S 185 Temco B


Temco synchronous bedside clock (26)


Temco synchronous mantel clock (27)


Temco synchronous mantel clock (28)


Temco synchronous bedside clock (29)


Temco synchronous mantel clock (30)

2 Dec 12 B
Temco synchronous bedside clock (31)

11 Dec 12 F
Temco synchronous bedside clock (32) S 218 Temco B

31 Jan 13 B
Temco synchronous mantel clock (33)

26 Jan 13 C
Temco synchronous mantel clock (34)

21 Mar 13 A
Temco synchronous mantel clock (35) Image courtesy Chris Bunce
S 228 Temco A

21 May 13 B
Temco synchronous mantel clock (36)

9 Aug 13 B
Temco synchronous mantel clock (37)

13 Sep 13 B
Temco synchronous mantel clock (38)

19 Jly 14 B
Temco synchronous mantel clock (39) S 264 Temco A

30 Oct 14 B
Temco synchronous bedside clock (40) S 272 Temco A

27 Feb 15 D
Temco synchronous bedside clock (41) S 280 Temco A

12 Sep 15 C
Temco synchronous mantel clock (42) S 291 Temco A

13 Apr 16 A
Temco synchronous mantle clock (43) Mark V movement
Image courtesy David Rudge

31 Jly 13 A
Temco synchronous wall clock (1)

28 Jan 15 A
Temco synchronous wall clock (2) S 279 Temco B

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42 Responses to “Temco”

  1. Grace Pillow Says:

    I have just acquired aTemco Sychronous mantel clock (1) s-44 temco-b1, could you please tell what date these clocks were manufactured

    • Les Pook Says:

      I don’t know for certain. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Temco clocks with Mark V movements were made in the late 1930s.

  2. Ghoulz Says:

    I have a Temco Mark V movement which has run continuously & flawlessly without any maintenance since purchase in 1946!

  3. Les Pook Says:

    I’m not surprised. In my experience Temco Mark IV and Mark V synchronous movements are very reliable, provided that they have not been damaged by unskilled ‘repairers’. I have a Temco clock with a Mark IV movement that has been in the family since the 1930s and is still in good working order. As far as I know it has never had any attention.

  4. Jim Jeselnick Says:

    I have a large – approx. 25 inches back lit clock withe the word Temco on the bottom. I was told that this clock came from a railroad station. It is about 6 inches wide. Can you tell me more about this? When was it made and do you have an estimate of its worth. Unfortunately the glass clock face has a few cracks but they have been repaired and it works great. Thank you

  5. Les Pook Says:

    A similar, but much smaller, clock was recently listed on eBay. This is fitted with a Mark V movement which gives a date range of about 1928 to 1946. The date range for the clock described is probably similar.

    The value of the clock described depends on its condition, its provenance, what a buyer is wiilling to pay and, in an auction, how much competition there is. On the information given I would expect an eBay sale at around GBP 50, including postage. A dealer would probably ask a lot more. On a large clock, allegedly from a railway, I would expect to see either a company name or a station name. Either would add considerably to its value.

  6. Jenny Seddon Says:

    Good morning Les
    I have inherited my grandparents’ Temco clock given to them on their Silver Wedding anniversary in 1941. It has a metal outside with a red front but I cannot find a Mark number anywhere. Where should I be looking?
    Thanks
    Jenny

  7. Les Pook Says:

    Jenny
    Not all Temco clocks have Mark numbers. If there is one it’s moulded onto the back of the Bakelite movement cover, to the right of the two pin connector. From your brief description it could be a clock made by another manufacturer, but marketed as a Temco.
    Regards
    Les

  8. Paul Greenhalgh Says:

    I’ve got a clock, which once belonged to my dad. It was his mother’s. On the back it says type V. But I cant find a picture of it on your website. But I’m wondering how much I could get for it, because it wont be much use in my house. As well, could you give me some information about the clock.

  9. Les Pook Says:

    I don’t try to value clocks. Prices achieved for Temco clocks on eBay vary widely. A present there are five listed on eBay at prices varying from a starting bid of £6.98, including postage, to a buy it now price of £90.04, including postage. I can’t add to the information on Temco clocks on my website at present, but hope to be able to do so in the future.

  10. John Stewart Says:

    Hello Les.
    I have a big interest in these Temco clocks since I was a boy.
    I reside in NEW ZEALAND and these clocks were fairly common here from just prior to WW2.
    My folks and an old Uncle & Aunt had one each from about 1944-1945 around the time Dad returned from WW2 service in Europe and North Africa in the RAF/RNZAF bomber squadrons.
    I actually have around 6 on these clocks that I bought from England and wales recently as the original one my folks had was damaged beyond repair…I don’t know what happened to it after that episode as I was about 12 years old around the time?
    Both my folks passed away recently and I must admit that clock had been featuring a lot in my memories of times long ago.
    It was the same as the S122 Temco A in your list here.
    I have 3 of them plus some others with the same face type but differing wood case styles. 4 of the clocks work perfectly and I am bidding on eBay UK for a 4th Temco clock.
    Question ..Do you know where I can purchase the power cord plugs that are on the “clock” end of the cords please as a couple of my clocks including the one I’m bidding on the cords/plugs etc are missing.
    Pretty sure all my clocks are Mark 5 models and one is a Mark 4?
    Your website here is very informative and comprehensive, totally absorbing and keeps the interest in these type of clocks rather high for me.
    Thanks for your wonderful work here it’s much appreciated and keep up the good work.

    Many kind regards from New Zealand ..
    Cheers John Stewart

  11. Les Pook Says:

    John

    I know from my traffic statistics that there’s quite a lot of interest in Temco synchronous clocks in New Zealand. The first Temco clock I saw was in a relative’s house in about 1960. Eventually my wife inherited it.

    The two pin connectors used on Temco clocks, and by some other makers, are based on what used to be British Standard 2 pin 2 Amp plugs and sockets. There is no current British Standard for them and, as far as I know, new female connectors to fit the pins on a clock are not available. Modern single 4 mm sockets, available from electronics dealers (Maplin in the UK), are a snug fit on the pins. I have used these to make connectors, but the result isn’t very neat.

    Over the past few weeks I’ve being doing research on Temco clocks, and the Telephone Manufacturing Company, with a view to writing an article on Temco clocks for publication.

    Best regards

    Les

  12. Anna Says:

    I have a TEMCO clock I inherited from my grandfather. I know nothing about it and unfortunately the original electric fittings have been removed. It is similar to some of your pictures, but happy to email picture of it. Thanks for the info on your site which has helped me know more about it. My grandfatherwas an electrical engineer during the war, so there may be a connection.

  13. Astrid Wilkins Says:

    I have a TEMCO clock type Mark 5 that I inherited form my mother that does not have an electric lead can you suggest anywhere I might be able to purcnase one from. Many thanks

  14. Les Pook Says:

    The connectors were used by several manufacturers, but are to a now obsolete British Standard, so are not now available new. They turn up occasionally on eBay. The easiest work around is to use terminal strip with a 12 mm spacing. The strip needs to be trimmed so that the pins on the back of the clock are gripped by the terminal screws. Caution is needed in view fthe presence of mains voltage.

  15. Astrid Wilkins Says:

    I do have the orginal connector but no cable can this be overcomeso the clock can be put back into use?

  16. Les Pook Says:

    Yes, the original connector can be wired to a 13 amp plug using 2 core ligting cable. This is a straightforward job for anyone who knows how to wire a plug. Sorry I misunderstood your original comment.

  17. Chris Bunce Says:

    Les, I have an interesting and rather nice Blue glass clock with a Temco movement and I read with some excitement that you only knew of one clock with a Mark II because that is what mine is! I have searched in vain to find another clock like it on the internet. It is a lovely piece of really thick industrial blue glass formed into a U shape. The face of the clock is etched into the glass. I would like to send you an image and be interested to hear what you make of it.
    I have a couple of less exciting Temco clocks as well, each slightly different to the images I have found elsewhere. Have you any idea how many different models they produced because there seem to be loads.

  18. Mrs Taylor Says:

    Hi my parents have a temco mark v movement in a long case approx 137 cm high, could you please tell me any information you can about this clock as they are interested, we can’t find one like it. The movement is currently not working and in need of repair, could you maybe advise us where to go in Hampshire.

    Many thanks

  19. Les Pook Says:

    The clock is a couple of inches taller so it is not the granddaughter clock described on this page. Since it has a Mark V movement it cannot be earlier than 1938. I regret that I do not know of any professional repairers of synchronous clocks in general and Temco clocks in particular. The difficulty is that current electrical regulations make it uneconomic.

  20. neville chapman Says:

    hi we have bought a temco electric clock , its brass with frosted green glass face with brass numerals and hands can anyone give us more details on the date and when this type of clock was made and a rough value please, its very heavy

  21. Heather Rowland Says:

    Hi. I have a Temco S196 Synchronous Mantel Clock (no. 28 in your images). I remember it on my grandmother’s mantlepiece and then on my father’s. I love it but although it can go happily for several weeks without a problem it has now developed an incredibly loud whirring noise and after a few painful hours of this, it stops! I can get it going again by turning the wheel at the back but it often doesn’t go for long. My question is, where can I get it repaired – not sure I trust it to a local watchmaker! Can you advise please?

  22. Les Pook Says:

    Where to get synchronous clocks repaired is a question that keeps coming up. The difficulty is that current electrical regulations mean that professional clockmakers are reluctant to do this, so unfortunately I cannot answer your question. This is a pity because the clock probably needs little more than cleaning and oiling, which is a straightforward job.

  23. Lisa Greenhalgh Says:

    Hi there, I have acquired a Temco synchronous mantel clock (28) S 196 Temco with a with a green and black surround. Would you be able to give me an idea of the value please? I know this will be difficult as you cannot see it but any help or info would be much appreciated.

  24. Les Pook Says:

    It’s difficult to say. Prices achieved on eBay vary widely for similar clocks so I would rather not give an opinion. A lot depends on condition. Temco clocks are worth more if they have the original female connector.

  25. Julian Martin Says:

    Hi Les,I have found your web site very useful having coming across a Temco S106 in a local charity shop over the weekend for the barging price of £4.50.The said clock has now received some TLC, the case treated with a mixture of meths,turps & linseed oil which will be followed by the application of some good quality furniture polish. The clock face has been cleaned with a slightly damp cloth, the glass washed ( both sides) & the chrome bezel treated to some chrome polish. The only none standard items to the Mark V mechanism are a soldered on knob to adjustment the hands & the female plug is missing but a section from a electrical block has been used, I hope to amend the hand knob which will enable access to the mechanism for oiling etc.Incidentally there are 4 clocks a ebay an S100 in a very sorry state,an S146 & an S177 there is also an advertising sign,prices range from £28.96 to £99.00.Had it not been for your web site I would not have purchased the clock as I have a number of Smiths both electrical & mechanical.For that I thank you.Regards, Julian

  26. jack gretton Says:

    I have just acquired Temco model CA electric alarm clock in perfect working order, I wonder if you could tell me anything about it

  27. Nick Arnold Says:

    Dear Les,

    I have just purchased a blue glass clock identical to the one pictured above (35).

    But mine’s fitted with a Temco MkIV movement, and has the (serial?) number 11032 engraved on the movement cover. This is paradoxical in a way, as it’s a lower number than the one you picture which is fitted with a MkII movement. Maybe the serial numbers went back down to zero when a new style of movement was introduced.

    I’m informed by the vendor that my clock was a wedding present for a couple who married just before the second war, which seems valid in view of the MkIV movement fitted. Sadly, she also told me that the groom was killed during the war during a bombing raid on Southampton.

    Regards,

    Nick.

  28. Les Pook Says:

    Nick

    All the Temco movement serial numbers I have come across have 5 digits, which suggests that Temco used serial number blocks. Since the Mark II and Mark IV movements are very different it is possible that the same block was used for both types of movement, hence the apparent paradox.

    This the first example I have come across where a Temco case is known to have been fitted with two different types of movement.

    Les

  29. Nick Arnold. Says:

    Thanks, Les.

    Just found an image of what I believe to be the former Temco works in Dulwich. Nice to see it’s still standing, and retains its original windows and railings to the roof: http://www.workspace.co.uk/images/properties/touchdowns/large/KKKXEXLJGT.jpg

    Nick.

  30. Nick Edwards Says:

    I have a Temco Mark 5 movement wall clock, with a knob underneath the clock face for adjustments. Looks style wise to be late 1930s, walnut or mahogany veneer. Main body is square with rounded shoulders attached to each side, slightly inset to create that classic deco layered look. Exposed hands which are thin and painted white. White painted brass numbers which are not well aligned.

    Haven’t been able to find any images of the clock. I was wondering whether it was a custom job or if it’s recognisable to anyone?

  31. John Abbott Says:

    I have got a clock earlier then the mark 1
    the name on the face is TMC made in USA
    the rear label has THE TELEPHONE MFG CO 1929 LTD LONDON
    The clock is a Hammond with a sealed motor unit
    production ran from 1929 to 1931

  32. David Rudge Says:

    Hello Les, I have a Temco mantle clock mark v incorporating a main body of Connemara marble and Perspex scrolls that was my parents pride and joy. The mechanism stopped when I had to change to British Summer Time and although I can feel the motor moving, the serrated starter knob does not initiate the mechanism. I have removed the two screws holding the mechanism to the Bakelite but the mechanism refuses to free itself. Do you have any idea how I may free it up. Thanking you for a very interesting service .

  33. Peter Smith Says:

    I have a temco wall clock that looks like a ship steering wheel made by Telephone MFG company. do you perhaps have any photo of such

  34. Les Pook Says:

    No, I have never seen one like this. What movement is fitted?

  35. Rodney S Sweetnam Says:

    I have just rediscovered a Temco clock I have had for perhaps 40 years. I think it was in a house that I bought in 1976. It is identical to your No. 42 specimen, and in similar condition. My question is – would cleaning it up affect the value or desirability of the clock? Many thanks – Rodney S Sweetnam

    • Les Pook Says:

      Difficult to say since it is a matter of opinion. I prefer to lightly clean clocks or leave them as they are. I have seen clocks spoiled by aggressive cleaning.

  36. Jenny Melton Says:

    I have just acquired a TEMCO 17 Jewels Convertible X1 Watch Set in the original box. Any idea if this was made by the same clock maker? I can’t find any information on it. Any information would be helpful. Thank you, Jen

  37. Les Pook Says:

    Jen
    I don’t think your watch was made by the Telephone Manufacturing Company. None of their publicity material for synchronous clocks mentions watches. Googling hasn’t turned up anything useful.
    Les

  38. Pete Says:

    Hi Hope you can help we have just move house and lost the cable to our Mk V clock where can we buy a cable from?

  39. Les Pook Says:

    Pete
    This is a frequently asked question. The female connectors are obsolete and not available. The best work around I know is 4 mm banana sockets available from Maplin.

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