Jefferson 500

By Roger Russell

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Catalog Number 580-221. 

This was perhaps the most popular of the desk or paperweight clocks. The design was the result of the combined efforts of the Jefferson clock engineering section and Mr. Dave Chapman’s organization. They have given Jefferson clocks a style and distinctiveness unequaled in this field.. Mr. Chapman’s design firm was respected internationally and served such clients as Alcoa, The Parker Pen co., The Hamilton Beach Co., The Corning Glass Co., Johnson Sea Horse Motors, International Harvester and Montgomery Ward.

Jefferson literature describes the design as patterned after a ship's compass. Because of the weight and color of the clock, it could be thought of as being made of plated brass or steel. However it is made of the same die cast zinc alloy as the Golden Hour. See my page showing a cross section and a metal analysis. The case is polished chrome plate on the outer surfaces and satin chrome plate in the area immediately surrounding the dial. The base is high-impact plastic (Cycolac) with a satin black surface.

The glass diameter is 3-1/2". The numerals are on back of a single strength glass lens in a gold color. Numerals are at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock and gold colored radial accent lines are for all of the hours. The dial face is a patterned black metal foil. I have found two different variations. One is a true black and the other has a slight purplish cast when held at a certain angle. The hands are brass with a brushed satin finish and lacquered. The second hand is finished with red enamel.

The plastic base raises the clock 7/16" above the mounting surface. Excess cord storage is provided within the base. The retractor “propeller” provided assists in winding any unused line cord into a slot around the inside of the base. A notch in the rear of the base allows the line cord to exit so the clock will not rest on it and preserves the trim appearance of the clock. The cord and plug are black plastic. A time set knob is also located in the base of the clock. The 500 has a conventional clock movement with a sweep second hand. A second version became a available later with a shiny 24 kt gold plated case.

First production of the 500 was on July 18, 1958. It is AC line powered using a synchronous motor. The rating is 115V.A.C 60 CY 3 watts. A UL listed symbol is on the base. Size is 5-1/4"H and 4-11/16" in diameter at the widest part near the base. It weighs 2.4 lbs. It initially retailed for $19.95. In the mid 1970's it was $40.00. The Lady Marion, Intermezzo, Integer and 880 have a similar size and shape.

Another version of the 500 has been found but might not be authentic. The only differences are the face and hands. The face is white instead of black. The hands are fluorescent orange. The minute hand is glossy red as in the common 500. The base plate says Jefferson "500".


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More text and pictures about Jefferson will be added as my research continues. Any comments, corrections, or additions are welcome.



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