Q: My small electric mantel clock has a metal embossed design under the dial. The design includes a seaplane with a propeller that rotates when the clock is running. There’s also a sailing ship, a man standing near a tepee and the words “Polar Bird.” The case is Bakelite and like new. I can’t find a manufacturer’s name. Do you know who made it and what it’s worth today?
A: A clock matching yours auctioned last year for $119. Clocks like it, with extra parts that move when the clock is running, are called “animated clocks.” Yours probably dates from the 1930s, the decade following Admiral Richard Byrd’s first flights to both the North and South poles. Some sources say the clock was manufactured by the New Jersey Clock Co. of Newark, N.J., with an electric motor made by the Hammond Clock Co. of Chicago. Others say it’s a Chronart clock, which may have been a trade name used by the New Jersey Clock Co.