The Sunflower Clock designed by George Nelson is considered by many to be one of the most classic retro clocks. With its sleekly retro designed hands and almost mesmerizing petals spreading out from the center, it is a clock that looks great in nearly any room of a home or office.
One of the most famous American Modernism designers (also known as Midcentury Modern), George Nelson designed a variety of innovative and striking household accessories. He was born in 1908 and after attending Yale and receiving degrees in both Architecture and Fine Arts; he traveled to Europe and was introduced to the design concepts of the European Modernists. These experiences had a strong influence on his soon to be famous designs when he returned to the United States.
During the 1930s George Nelson wrote "Tomorrow's House: A Complete Guide for the Home Builder" retro outlining his thoughts on design. He also wrote articles for a number of magazines and was hired as an editor for the Architectural Forum. As he became well known throughout the design word, his fame grew (although there were a number of traditional designers who did not agree with Nelson's ideas).
In the 1946 George Nelson was hired by the Howard Miller Company as a top designer. He remained at the company for 25 years (although he also ran his own design company), and during that time designed or assisted in the design of a wide variety of innovative household appliances and furniture, including nearly 300 clocks. The majority of the clocks he designed were wall clocks, although he did design some smaller clocks.
In 1958 he designed one of his most famous clocks, the Sunflower Clock. This clock consisted of molded plywood with a laminated veneer inside each petal. The parts were joined together with small metal pins. The original clock (Howard Miller Model 2261) measured about 30 inches across and plugged into a wall socket, but the majority of current models and replicas have battery operated clock mechanisms. Current replicas range from models built from George Nelson's original documents and specifications to models with the overall similar appearance, but made from more modern retro materials (that are much less expensive). The prices on these current Sunflower Clocks range from over a thousand dollars for the most accurate reproductions to less than fifty dollars for clocks inspired by the Sunflower Clock design, so if you're looking for a classic retro clock to hang on your wall, you can find one that will fit your budget.