The “Wonderful Clock” of Auburn, NY – The Rest of My Story

The Bundy Manufacturing Company of Binghamton, NY was an immensely successful business. Harlow Bundy established accounts with the United States Post Office and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad.  The time clock created an international revolution in the way that businesses managed their employees. Harlow Bundy managed the company while his brother Willard created more patents and improvements to their time recording clocks.

The Bundy Mfg. Co. moved to Endicott, NY in 1906 (click here). After consolidating with several other companies in 1907, it became known as the International Time Recording Company of Endicott, NY or ITR. Harlow Bundy retired from the Company in 1915, shortly thereafter Thomas Watson was hired to manage ITR.

In 1924, the name of the Company was changed to International Business Machines (IBM) which produced master clocks, time clocks, and other recording machines. The production of the time clocks continued until IBM sold that division to Simplex Recorder Company in 1958.

And now for the rest of my story: I started work at IBM in Endicott, NY on Sept. 30 of 1968, and continued my professional career there for another 30 years until I retired. I am grateful for the invention of the time recorder by Willard Bundy and the business savvy of his brother Harlow Bundy since they began a long thread of recording businesses which enabled me to make a living for myself and my family. Why did it all start in the Finger Lakes? Why not?

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Why did Willard Bundy invent a 1000 year clock? It seems like there would be no use for such a clock. I know that it is a bit late to respond to this article but I am just curios John Surgent

    1. John Surgent,
      I don’t recall writing about a 1000 year clock invented by Willard Bundy. Willard H. Bundy owned a jewelry store in Auburn, NY in 1879. In order to track his employees, he did invent a time clock which recorded the time of arrival and departure of his employees by imprinting the employees key number on a paper roll next to the time. It was his brother Harlow Bundy who recognized the potential of such a device. They opened a business in Syracuse named the Bundy Time Recording Co. The business was later moved to Binghamton, NY.

  2. James Bupp

    The 1000 year clock I believe is in a museum somewhere in NYS. Pictures of it exist. Jeff Bezos owner of Amazon is building a 10,000 year clock. Why the interest is such clocks?

    I became interested in the Bundy brothers as they are the forerunners of IBM which I worked at and grew up with. One of the Bundy nephews worked at the local grade school in Johnson city NY back in the 1950’s..

    1. John, I did a little more research. I think that we are talking about two different Willard Bundys. Willard Legrand Bunday was born on Dec. 8, 1845. In 1871 Willard Legrand Bundy married Ester Decatur Sweet. They had two sons: Willard H. (1872 – 1941) and Royal D. (1875 – 1940) Bundy.

      Willard L. Bundy ( the father) built a Thousand Year Clock.

      Willard H. Bunday (the son) built a “Wonderful Clock” to demonstrate his skills as a clock maker and put it into the window of his jewelry store in Auburn, NY. This clock is now located in the Cayuga Museum of History and Art and Case Research Lab Historic Site located at 203 Genesee St., Auburn, NY. I have pictures of it in my private collection.

      It was Willard H. Bundy who patented the first time clock which used a numbered key which was issued to each employee.

      1. John Sargent,

        The more I read about the Bundy’s,the more confusion I seem to create for my self. As of this writing, I am citing an article on History-Computer (https://history-computer.com). First, it seems that Willard Legrand Bundy is credited with the invention of the first time recorder in the 1880’s and it was patented in 1888 (US Patent 394205). In the above reference, there is a picture of Willard Legrand Bundy and his Thousand Year Clock. This clock may be seen in the Cayuga Museum of History. There is another clock, a mechanical marvel which had all kinds of dials, and two men sawing a log, and even a stream running through the face of the clock. It was about 3 feet by 4 feet. It would certainly make a great advertising piece for a jewelry store. But I don’t know which Bundy gets credit for making this clock! I must return to the Cayuga Museum of History and clarify this point.

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