James Remind-O-Clock Timer

Description
The brainchild of cab driver Henry C. James, Jr., the James Remind-O-Clock was a useful innovation for people in various industries, from hotels to taxi services to laboratories. The electric clock’s unique feature is its mechanism for allowing multiple alarms for a single event, such as a laboratory experiment that requires the timing of various steps. The 48 small keys located around the face of the clock could be set to ring a maximum of 48 alarms or ‘reminders’ at one setting. James established the James Clock Manufacturing Co. in Oakland in 1933, and produced and patented this model in 1937 (Patent number 2,098,965).
Enologist Andre Tchelistcheff used this Bakelite-housed “Remind-O-Clock,” to time various experiments and processes in his winery laboratories in California’s Napa Valley. Tchelistcheff made significant contributions to the wine industry, helping to improve techniques and raise standards for winemaking in the postwar period. He helped many winemakers improve their operations by adopting the practices of sterile filtration, cold fermentation, and attention to yeasts.
Andre Tchelistcheff was born in Moscow in 1901; he and his family fled the country at the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917. After receiving his degree in agricultural science at the University of Brno in Czechoslovakia, he moved to Paris, where he was employed at the Institute of National Agronomy outside the city. While there he was contacted in 1937 by Georges de Latour, of Napa Valley’s Beaulieu Vineyards (BV). Latour was searching for a highly qualified wine chemist to help improve the stability and quality of BV’s premium wines, which had recently suffered the disastrous effects of microbiological spoilage and volatile acidity.
When he arrived in Napa in 1938, just five years after the repeal of Prohibition, Tchelistcheff was struck by the primitive conditions of winegrowing and winemaking. It took him several years to improve the winemaking at BV by upgrading equipment and controlling fermentation processes. He also worked in the vineyards, with, in his words, “the voice of nature.” Tchelistcheff was committed to the idea of community and promoted the sharing of both technical data and philosophical musings among the people trying to rebuild the wine industry. He also maintained close relationships with the scientists and scholars of viticulture and enology at the University of California at Davis.
After he left BV in 1973, Tchelistcheff became a consultant, serving dozens of California wineries old and new. He also played a key role in developing the modern wine industry in Washington State. In 1991 Tchelistcheff rejoined Beaulieu as consulting enologist. He died in the Napa Valley in 1994.
Object Name
timer
maker
James Clock Mfg. Co.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (bakelite, plexiglass) (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 8 3/4 in x 8 in x 4 in; 22.225 cm x 20.32 cm x 10.16 cm
place made
United States: California, Oakland
ID Number
2011.0131.02
catalog number
2011.0131.02
accession number
2011.0131
patent number
2098965
subject
Food
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
See more items in
Work and Industry: Agriculture
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Exhibition
Food: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. Darrell F. Corti

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