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Canadian Neon-Ray Clock Company

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Based on our research to date, mainly through reading the old business directories at the National Library in Ottawa, this business was in operation from ca. 1942 to the mid 1960s at 371 Dowd Street in Montreal.  The first President was Walter Pam.  There probably is a connection between Mr. Pam and the Pam Clock Company located in Brooklyn and New Rochelle, New York during the same period of time.  The latter company started shortly after Mr. Pam left Montreal in the late 1940s, and made the same styles of back-lit advertising clocks!

The main product was "Bulb Illuminated" advertising clocks.  The common types found today have round (15" diameter) or square (15" by 15") frames set in pressed-aluminum cases with flat glass faces and shallow-domed glass covers.  The advertising design was painted on the glass face.  Most faces have the following company name across the bottom under the 6: "CANADIAN NEON-RAY CLOCK CO., LTD., MONTREAL, QUE., CANADA".

All kinds of companies purchased these clocks to advertise their products.  Examples include soft drinks, beer, service station items such as motor oil and spark plugs, ice cream, paints, meats, and mattresses.  French-language as well as English advertising clocks are common.

The clocks used a simple electric motor to turn the hour, minute and second hands, and two light bulbs to illuminate the advertising dial from behind.  The instructions on the label usually found on the back of the case recommend 15 watt light bulbs.  Unfortunately, clocks are often found today with higher wattage bulbs, and the resultant damage to the painted design caused by the excessive heat.

This company also produced true neon clocks in the early years.  Some were about 12" in diameter, but much larger versions are known.  The Museum has two examples, both with original labels.   One is the smallest version with a circular orange neon-gas tube around the 7" dial and a scalloped greenish white tube (argon gas?) outside the dial.  The second has a 22" diameter face and the company name on the dial above the 6.  A circular, white-painted tube (filled with argon gas?) illuminates the face, and a larger, clear glass tube filled with neon gas provides an orange glow when the clock is operating.

A new addition to the museum collection of true neon clocks in 2008 is a small version with FOUR colour sections (blue, yellow, green, and white) in the round central tube, pink in the outer scalloped tube, and a Moire effect created by the rotating disc that holds the seconds hand.  This deluxe clock was located in a Halifax shop for more than forty years until 2007.