Model 11 Clock

Model 11d, "lunch-pail series", completed July 2002

Model 11c, "Bud Box series", completed November 1999, no longer available

Model 11b completed August 1999, no longer available

Model 11a completed July 1998, no longer available

Model 11 Nixie Clocks are the most straightforward instruments in the WPS lineup, beautiful and exotic, obsolete yet completely practical. They are built around the wonderfully obsolete Burroughs Corp. "NIXIE" numeric display device. Introduced in 1952, they quickly became the most common numeric display device in laboratory/industrial equipment until they were instantly forgotten in the early 1970's.

(They are far more attractive and easy to read than indicated by even the high-resolution photos.)

Nixies, essentially gas-filled electron tubes, produce their own light, their orange color close to the human eye's most sensitive range. The digits are beautifully and fully formed, ten gossamer-metal symbols (0 through 9) stacked on top of each other inside a glass envelope; though utterly silent, there is a sense of motion as the incrementing digits jump forward and backward in their gas-filled bottles.

The current (August 2002) clocks, top photo, four each Model 11d, were built into late 1950's/early 1960's "googie" curvaceous stamped aluminum cases intended for some long-forgotten scientific instrument; I added deep-etched brass panels ("engraved"), enamel filled in bright colors and bright plated, oh some 40 years ago, aged and patina'd -- or so they appear, being part of my obsolete forgery aesthetic.

Each Model 11d is slightly different; black, grey, blue, green metallic hammertone, each have different coordinated knobs and enamel colors (blue shown above).

The Model 11d's are likely to be the last batch for a while; they were difficult to produce due to the aesthetic but difficult to fabricate mechanical design. They just take too much effort to make.

Internally, the Model 11's use state-of-the-art microcontroller technology, with a lifetime battery-powered clock/calendar. The customarily hot and power hungry Nixie high-voltage power supply is of modern design; the whole clock consumes a tenth the power of a 1952 clock, if there ever was such a thing, generates almost no heat, and retains the time and date after power failures.

(Model 11 clocks are built into "found" cabinets. Models 11a, left, and model 11b, not shown, are built into solid wood instrument cases, rugged and beautiful, with covers and carrying handles, shellacked and oiled, with front panels are made from etched brass and new-old-stock period micarta. Models 11c were fitted in squat, compact late 1950's steel cabinets, finished in wrinkle-black, front and rear in silver-grey hammertone; four nearly-identical copies of Model 11c exist (serial numbers 4, 5, 6, 7), because I found that many cabinets.)

Design features

Model 11d was a real bear to wrestle into existence; read about the tribulations here. Model 11c, the "Bud Box series", so named after the cabinet it is built in, produced by Bud Radio Incorporated in the 1950's, was reasonably documented, visible here. Model 11b was sold before I had a chance to have it photographed; you can see it here under construction.

Model 11d: Mixed media (aluminum, electronic components), 10"w x 5"h x 5"d, approx. 8 lb.
Model 11c: Mixed media (steel, electronic components), 8"w x 5"h x 7"d, approx. 8 lb.
Model 11b: Mixed media (wood, brass, phenolic, electronic components), 7"w x 5"h x 7"d, approx. 7 lb;
Model 11a: Mixed media (wood, brass, phenolic, electronic components), 12"w x 8"h x 6"d, approx. 6 lb;

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