A clock in the wild. Exterior clock at Sharrett's Liquors, University & Raymond, St. Paul, MN, 2018.
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Clocks in the Wild

Now that I’ve worked through History’s Hiearchy of Purpose, it’s time for a lighthearted post.

Since starting The Pragmatic Historian with its clock-themed photos, I’ve become obsessed with finding clocks out in the wild.

Naturally, I started by taking glamour shots of the clocks we have in our house. We have a lot of clocks, most of them nonfunctioning, but that matters not at all for my purposes. Of course, eventually I was bound to run out of clocks at home.¬†And I have, so I’ve turned my attention to finding clocks in the wild.

What is a clock in the wild? It’s a clock I find in someone else’s business or house, really anywhere I don’t necessarily expect to find a clock. Often, when I find a clock in the wild, I don’t have my smartphone on my person, so I run back to the car to get it or borrow my hubby’s phone. (My hubby lovingly laughs at me when I point out a new clock in the wild to him.)

A clock in the wild. Exterior clock at Sharrett's Liquors, University & Raymond, St. Paul, MN, 2018.
A clock in the wild. Exterior clock at Sharrett’s Liquors, University & Raymond, St. Paul, MN, 2018.

Here’s what I’ve discovered about clocks in the wild. People reeeeeeeally like clocks and they prefer analog ones over digital ones. In fact, other than outdoor signs with scrolling words and images, smart phones and computers, and clocks inside cars, I rarely see digital clocks. Hands down, people want clocks with a traditional face and hands. I’m not sure if it’s the romance of an “old-fashioned” clock or a visual preference for the style of analog clocks that attracts people to them, but these traditional clocks are in no danger of going extinct anytime soon. (Unlike poor music CDs, which were dropped from Best Buy stores on July 1, 2018.)

Through my new obsession I’ve also observed that clocks come in such a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles that it is difficult to find much duplication when I’m finding them in the wild. That’s a good thing because it will keep my busy for a long time. I dare say I won’t run out of clocks to photograph for years and years.

While I typically only find one or two in-the-wild clocks in business establishments or in the public areas of people’s homes, I’ve discovered a few places that offer bonanzas of clocks. Estate sales and auction houses serve up plenty of clocks, plus, if I’m in a pinch for a clock pic, I can visit the housewares or jewelry departments of major retailers and shoot clocks to my heart’s content. Of course, with the latter clocks I’m usually stuck with photographing the packaging, so these clocks aren’t as wild as the ones I discover elsewhere.

How many clocks do you have in your house? Are they analog or digital?

Clocks for sale at a department store. Note the not-so-attractive packaging of these "captive" clocks. 2018.
Clocks for sale at a department store. Note the not-so-attractive packaging of these “captive” clocks. 2018.