An Inside Look of Design Inspirations, Creation & Stories From Klockit's 40 Year History
Klockit’s beginnings start back in 1970 as a small mail order business. The company was actually called The Geneva Co. that sold all kinds of consumer products, not clocks. The first catalog that was sent out only acquired one or two orders and was then considered a failure. The founders of Klockit had been living in Germany for 3 years near the Black Forest, which is famous for its cuckoo clocks. So clocks had become a new idea for a business. The founder had also worked for an automobile clockmaker, so the business of clock components came easily.
Initially Klockit did not sell kits, but only clock components to build clocks. The company sold components, clock motors, hands, pendulum movements, dials and numerals. The very first Klockit catalog was a very small catalog of 7 or 8 pages. It was mimeographed, a process that works by forcing ink through a stencil onto paper, and stapled together. The first “color” catalog was actually just printed on different colored paper. Yellow paper on one page, then pink on the next page. The catalog proof was created using an old Remington Rand typewriter and if there was a mistake, it had to be erased and then typed over again. Photographs were glued onto the pages.
Klockit first advertised in Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Handyman and American Handyman. The first ads were three or four line ads in the classified sections. After receiving 180 responses from the ad, the founders knew that Klockit would be a success.
Klockit’s first office was in Williams Bay, Wisconsin on the second floor of a bank. The first distribution building was also in Williams Bay. Lake Geneva was later considered the location of the office because the city name sounded nicer and could be related to Geneva, Switzerland which is famous for their clocks and watches.
Quartz technology came in during the late 1970s and then in the 1980s, Klockit decided to start a joint venture in making quartz movements in town and started another company called Quartex. And so Klockit became not only a distribution business, but a manufacturing business. Klockit eventually evolved into adding kits in the 1980s.
Good distribution, mail order and marketing and prices have always been Klockit’s objective. Klockit’s first customers were those that wanted to make extra income by building and then selling their clocks. A lot of people had become successful as small entrepreneurs with Klockit. Schools were also one of Klockit’s major buyers as several thousand children learned how to build smaller desk clocks, mantel clocks, wall clocks and even grandfather clocks. With Klockit, people build heirlooms. With a kit or plan from Klockit, people can be proud of what they make and if receiving a clock made from Klockit components, they will always remember the folks that gave it to them.