Antique Kitchen Clock Timer

Michelle Radcliff
vintage kitchen timer

An antique kitchen clock timer can be a great addition to your antique collection. Antique kitchen clocks were the first step in the evolution towards modern kitchen clock timers.

Keeping Time in the Kitchen

Most modern cooking appliances like stoves and microwave ovens have built-in digital clocks and timers you can set for precise cooking times. Antique kitchen stoves in the 1800s were not equipped with timers. Stoves would not appear with built in clock timers until the mid 1900s.

Have you ever wondered when the concept for keeping track of time in the kitchen began? While it could have started with a glass sand timer, it seems that clocks were the inspiration for the modern kitchen timer.

Gingerbread Kitchen Clocks

In the late 1800s through the early 1900s, an inexpensive shelf clock was designed to sit in the kitchens of lower and middle class American homes. These clocks were usually made out of oak or walnut and featured ornate press-molded designs and brass pendulums. They would strike on every hour and half hour. The clocks became known as gingerbread clocks and were the earliest kind of kitchen clock timers.

Having a kitchen clock alert you when every hour and half hour had passed allowed women who were cooking to give their attention to other household chores.

Antique Kitchen Clock Timers in the Twentieth Century

Some of the earliest kitchen clock timers were built in to vintage gas and electric stoves in the 1940s and 1950s. This list has images of vintage kitchen clock timers found on gas and electric stoves:

There were also kitchen clock timers that were designed with an extra outlet so that an electric appliance could be plugged into the timer. When the time was up, the timer would shut off the current to the appliance. Some examples of this type of clock timer are:

Max Bill

One of the first and most notable kitchen clocks that was made with a built-in timer was designed by Max Bill in the early 1950s. This upside-down, tear-drop shaped kitchen clock featured a timer at the bottom. Bill designed this collectible antique kitchen clock timer while he was the director of the German experimental design school, Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG Ulm). Another vintage clock timer by this Swiss artist and designer is the white ATO-MAT kitchen clock with a sixty minute timer.


Westclox was another famous clock making company that came up with their own styles of kitchen timers. Many of the vintage Westclox kitchen timers you can find online come in bright colors and are in great working condition.

International Register Co.

You can find vintage kitchen clock timers from International Register Co. from Chicago, Illinois. These 1960s era timers have instructions for use printed on their backs. The timer will set for up to sixty minutes.

Pricing for Antique Kitchen Clocks and Kitchen Clock Timers

The early antique kitchen clocks known as gingerbread clocks can cost hundreds of dollars if they are restored and in good working condition. You can bid for one at an auction site but be prepared to start the bidding at $200 or more.

The kitchen clocks with timers designed by Max Bill in the 1950s are currently valued between $500-$900.

An antique kitchen clock timer might be just what you're looking for if you're on a tight budget but would love to add a vintage collectible to your kitchen. Many antique kitchen timers that are for sale online are under $30. Kitchen clock timers are vintage items that fall into many different price ranges, making them a more accessible collectible for antique lovers.

Antique Kitchen Clock Timer