My parents had one of these cool wall clocks when I was back in the early 1970′s. That thing was very cool and even retro at the time. It was one of the old plug-in versions with the glow in the dark eyes and though I look back at it now and think fondly of it, I distinctly remember that the glowing eyes moving back and forth late at night terrified me back then. Ours was hung at the end of the hallway and I had to walk towards it to get to the bathroom. I remember running to the bathroom a lot back then.
Most people look back at this cool retro wall clock with a nostalgic feeling and they are just as popular today as they were back then.
Kit-Cat Clock History
The Kit-Cat Wall Clock or Kit-Cat Klock was originally released in 1932, during the height of the depression by a small west coast clock company based in Portland, Oregon called the California Clock Company. Although the original design was quite similar there were a few differences, for example it had paws only at the bottom of the clock, no bow tie and a hole in the clock face to wind it with a key like most clocks of that era.
In the late 40′s and 50′s, the winding mechanism was replaced by a cord you could plug directly into the wall. Later models added the two top paws and bow tie and in the 1980s the word Kit Cat was added to the face. Aside from that, the iconic art-deco look and the animated eyes and tail of the Kit-Cat Clock is largely unchanged.
The new Kit-Cat Wall Clock
By the 1980s, the iconic Retro Kit-Kat Clock had lost the cord and moved mainly to battery power, but this advancement was very nearly its demise. You see, the new battery power works available was not powerful enough to power the small motor which kept up the animation of the eyes and tail. Rising prices of the American made clock motor looked as if it may drive production of this American Icon overseas.
When faced with the possibility of moving production overseas, the California Clock Company undertook a major redesign of the inner workings. The result was a battery-powered Kit-Cat Wall Clock with enough power to move the “one second” cat animation and still keep production of this classic retro wall clock in America. Just be sure that you hang the newer clocks level so the new mechanistic, which uses gravity to maintain the movement works correctly. If the animation does stop, a gentle nudge of the tail will usually get it going again.
The Kit-Cat Wall Clock comes mainly in black, although there have been special editions and limited productions of other colors and styles. These limited runs send Kit-Cat collectors into a frenzy and usually sell out pretty quickly. Personally, I like the original black cat version myself but that is just my personal preference. It is kind of like painting a Model-T some other color than black, you could, but why would you.
You can usually find these classic retro clocks at specialty clock stores and cool vintage stores or if you are really lucky, a vintage clock might turn up at a local garage sale. I have seen them priced online for around $54 to about $65 but the best price I could locate was $49.98 from ClockStyle.com.