Presented is an outstanding example of a Seth
Thomas chart housed and/or radio room clock made for U.S. Shipping Board which was the predecessor
to the U.S. Maritime Commission. The Shipping Board only had a brief life span operating between January, 1917, and 1933
when it was replaced by the U.S. Maritime Commission. During WW I it revitalized the U.S. merchant fleet. It built some
1,000 cargo ships, commandeered more than 2 million tons of shipping from private yards and owners, and operated the German
ships seized by the U.S. government when it declared war on Germany in 1917. Very few of U.S. Shipping Board memorabilia
have found their way to market which makes this clock a special find. It is running and keeping good time compared to a quartz
time piece. Any change can be adjusted by the “fast slow” lever which is effective.
This clock complies with the International Maritime
Organization’s color and silent period regulations adopted after the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 for 2182 MHz which
were not modified until after WW II. Clocks of this type were built to the rigid specifications of the military and tested
for accuracy by the Naval Observatory so there is no difference in quality between the two major manufacturers, Chelsea and
Seth Thomas. It weighs a heavy 4 pounds, 4 ounces.FROM THE SETH THOMAS CATALOG: “CHART” 1938:
8 day, 7- jeweled fine lever movement having a non-magnetic escapement and compensated balance………Hour hand makes
one revolution in 12 hours.SHOWN BELOW is the clock mounted on a Chelsea Admiral’s stand which is
available at extra cost.
The clock is in a Mil-Spec forged bronze case with three mounting
holes as was typical of the majority of war time clocks. On its back is a label from the Geo. E. Butler Co. of San
Francisco, showing it was last cleaned in 11/34. A maker’s imprint of H789 is also stamped in the bronze. The movement
is engraved with Seth Thomas, Thomaston, CT in old English style type.
The face has black Roman numerals using the 12 hour system on a silver background. The
case has seen service at sea and shows some minor nicks and wear which is evidence of its age and use. The
recently refinished dial is in “Fine” condition, and the silent periods of 3 minute red colored intervals
alternating at 0300 and 0900 on the quarter hours have been repainted. The hands are spade type.
For those seeking more information, here is a link to the history of radio room clocks which
came as an aftermath to the RMS Titanic sinking in 1912.
Newly refinished face
Highest quality Mil-Spec movement
Serviced in San Francisco 11/34 DIMENSIONS:Diameter of Dial 4″5 3/4″ Diameter at baseDepth 2 1/2″Weight 4lbs 4oz.