The Snider Clock Company of Canada

Canadian clock collectors familiar with companies such as Arthur Pequegnat, the Canada Clock Company, the Hamilton Clock Company, Forestville, and Fleet seldom consider the Snider Clock company clocks for their collections yet for a quarter of a century this home-grown Canadian company made mantel and wall clocks designed and manufactured in Toronto, Ontario.

Starburst clock in a boutique hotel, Quebec City

Harry Snider began making clocks in 1950 under the name Snider Clock Corporation. The name then changed to the Snider Clock Manufacturing Company Limited in 1957. Throughout its history it continued as a family venture until the last clock was made in 1976.

A master clock surrounded by Snider clocks, Canadian Clock Museum, Deep River Canada

Some say they only made fashion and novelty clocks and to some extent that is true. The Snider Clock company’s response to the trends and fashions encapsulated a healthy design philosophy that kept pace with the times. Innovation, quirkiness with fanciful designs are the hallmarks of their approach to clock manufacture.

Snider Clock Company
Former Snider Clock Company location in Toronto as it appeared in 2007

The company began by making mantel clocks with mechanical versions supplied by Ingraham, and later, mantel clocks with electric motors imported unassembled from the Lanshire company in Chicago. In 1960 Snider shifted focus to wall clocks which were in great demand at the time, a demand likely brought on by the Sputnik satellite, the interest in space adventure and the dawn of the “Atomic age”. Models with starburst and molecular patterns attracted new buyers.

Most models were corded electric clocks but in order to do away with the cord Snider offered an upgrade to electromechanical models with battery movements. The advantage of a battery movement was the flexibly in placement anywhere in the home.

The longest running style of clock was the starburst clock. When I think of a Snider clock the first image that comes to mind is an electric kitchen wall clock in a starburst or sunburst pattern. These were very popular and Snider sold thousands.

Telephone clock

However, Snider made unusual and fanciful lamp clocks, telephone clocks, in china, metal cast, brass-plated metal and many colours such as in brown, pink, turquoise and black.

Snider Novelty clocks, Canadian Clock Museum

In the peak years, the company made 50,000 clocks, had 20 employees, and used mainly Canadian components. Throughout its history, it strove to constantly adjust to a constantly changing market.

In 1976 when Caravelle clocks (a subsidiary of Bulova) arranged licensing agreements with retailers in Canada, Snider could not compete and ended its business after 26 profitable years. A sad end to a company ultimately pushed aside by an American competitor.


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