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American Decorative Arts
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Designer: George Nelson & Co., Inc., American, founded 1947
Manufacturer: Howard Miller Clock Company, American, founded 1926

Ball Wall Clock, Model no. 4755

designed 1947; manufactured by 1948–69

Brass, steel, maple

14 × 14 × 2 1/4 in. (35.6 × 35.6 × 5.7 cm)
Bequest of Doris M. Brixey, by exchange
Beginning in 1947, the Nelson design office developed a series of new clocks for the Howard Miller Company. Having no traditional clockface or numbers, the clocks were considered radically modern. The wall was the ground, and the clock became part of the architecture rather than an unrelated hanging object. This model is often referred to as the “Atomic Clock” because the rods and balls evoke the familiar emblem of atomic structure.
Manufactured in Zeeland, Michigan
On view
20th century

Mode Moderne, Philadelphia, by 2001

This clock was exhibited in the dealers' booth at the Triple Pier Antiques Show, New York City, 3/17/01.


“Triple Pier Antiques Show,” Antiques and the Arts Weekly (April 13, 2001): 82.

“Acquisitions 2001,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2002): 115, ill.

Christina Borger, “Hidden Treasures,” New Haven Register (December 13, 2009), E1, ill.

John Stuart Gordon et al., A Modern World: American Design from the Yale University Art Gallery, 1920–1950 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2011), 383–84, no. 268.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.