Rockwell Files: “Those Were Different Times”

This cover from 1945 plays on one of Norman Rockwell's favorite themes: unexpected meetings of opposites.

The Correct Time, November 3, 1945

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This 1945 cover might remind some of our readers of the days when clocks and watches were only expected to tell time, when they weren’t also a telephone and television, and when people were grateful for large public clocks that helped them keep appointments or meet deadlines.

Two of America’s most famous public clocks stand at the corners of Macy’s (née Marshall Field’s) on Chicago’s State Street at Randolph and at Washington. For well over a century, these 7 ½-ton timepieces, designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, loomed 17 ½ feet over the sidewalk. In Rockwell’s day a master clock inside the store kept these outdoor clocks on accurate time. But after a power failure, the clocks had to be reset manually.

This cover from 1945 plays on one of Norman Rockwell’s favorite themes: unexpected meetings of opposites. His covers have juxtaposed the old and the new (a TV antenna on the roof of an old house), the fast and the slow (a Model T passing a luxury car), the formal and informal (a prom couple in the diner), and, here, an ornate, massive clock being corrected through the use of  a modest pocket watch.

Norman Rockwell’s The Correct Time, from the cover of the November 3, 1945 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

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  1. Fascinating back story of a true Rockwell classic, that’s certainly stood the test of time. I only wonder if the correcting gentleman’s pocket watch here had the second hand.


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