Howard Miller Clock History
Incomparable workmanship. Unsurpassed quality. A quest for perfection. It’s what Howard C. Miller insisted on when he founded the company back in 1926, at the age of 21.
Even then, Howard Miller understood the need to create products that would be steeped in quality and value. He expected nothing less than the best. And it was only under those strict conditions that he allowed his name to grace every clock manufactured at our sprawling facility in Zeeland, Michigan.
Howard Miller was schooled in the fine art of clockmaking by his father, Herman, in the Black Forest region of Germany. Howard developed into a visionary whose keen sense of innovation spawned a tradition of excellence that has been uncompromised through three generations.
While the early years focused on the manufacture of chiming wall and mantel clocks, Howard Miller also produced trend-setting avant garde clocks that stand today in collectors’ galleries. During World War II, Howard Miller joined forces with the Ford Motor Co. to produce anti-aircraft covers. In the 1960s, the company turned its attention to grandfather clocks, eventually earning the company the title of “World’s Largest Grandfather Clock Manufacturer.”
In 1989, Howard Miller began creating collectors cabinets with the same attention to detail and craftsmanship inherent in their clockmaking. Fashioned from glass and hardwoods, the cabinets are ideal for displaying heirlooms, plates, glassware and other collectibles.
Born in 1905, Howard Miller followed in his father’s footsteps in the skilled craft of clockmaking. Hailing from the famed clockmaking area of the Black Forest region of Germany, Howard brought his clockmaking skills to the United States and founded his own clock company in Zeeland, Michigan in 1926 at the early age of just 21 years. From the beginning Howard Miller developed a focus on quality and innovation in his clocks.
The company’s first products were a line of chiming mantel and wall clocks. While the first clocks were made in traditional American designs, after 1933 they introduced original clocks which won awards for their design. Many of these early clocks are prized by clock collectors and are displayed in clock museums due to the innovation of their design.
Like other American clock manufacturers, the H M clock company gave up their clock business during World War II to produce materials to support the war. Since the company was located in Michigan, Miller joined with Ford Motor Company in the production of anti-aircraft covers. The Howard Miller Company was one of only a few American clock companies to flourish after World War II when the government allowed the companies to return to clockmaking.
In the 1960’s the company expanded its product line by introducing floor clocks that most of us call grandfather clocks. In 1964, they built a new factory; since then, the company has become not only the largest clock company in the United States but the largest producer of grandfather clocks in the world. Howard Miller died in 1995 at the age of 90 and the company that bears his name continues to manufacture quality clocks.
From the outset, the company focus was on quality and the fact that a clock is more than a utilitarian device. To quote Miller, “Our focus is not only on building a product that is dependable and has quality; we’re building a product that is going to be passed on from one generation to the next.” To that end the company provides a paper heirloom record that documents the original owners of the clock with a place for their picture as well. Some of the H M clocks are sold with free engraving of a brass heirloom plate to commemorate the sentiments of the original owners. These extra touches are part of the philosophy of Howard Miller that a fine grandfather clock is a family heirloom piece.
In 1989, the Howard Miller Company began expanding its product lines to include wooden and upholstered furniture. In addition, they included the manufacture of clock movements by acquiring the Kieninger Company of Germany.
Part of being the largest manufacturer of grandfather clocks in the world is the extensive selection of H M grandfather clocks; there is a floor clock suitable for every taste and style of home. Elegant traditional grandfather clocks are made in dozens of cabinet styles and a variety of fine hardwoods and custom limited edition clocks are available to those who are looking for the finest. Words cannot describe the styling and variety of the floor clocks in the Furniture Trend Designs collection. There are also several models of combination heirloom pieces that incorporate the clock with a grandfather-size curio cabinet.
Besides grandfather clocks, the company offers a full line of wall, mantel and table clocks. The Moment in Time™ collection features antique wall clock reproductions with modern movements. Additionally, there is a full line of weather and maritime clocks. Weather clocks include barometers while maritime clocks range from maritime case styling, for example a ship’s wheel, to working tide clocks. Howard Miller clocks are sold through authorized dealers. One additional line of clocks is called Memorial Clocks that are sold exclusively through funeral homes.
People cherish a fine clock, especially the grandfather clocks that Howard Miller envisioned as family heirlooms. Anyone who loves clocks for their beauty, both in the exterior appearance and the technology of the movement, will agree with this statement from Howard Miller, “It’s more than just making something. You’re making something that has life. It has chimes. You go into a house and hear those chimes every fifteen minutes, that house has life that another house doesn’t have.”
Key to the success of the Howard Miller clock Company is its focus on providing products that are the result of extracting workmanship and the finest quality materials. Driven by a constant quest for perfection that is the legacy of the company’s founder, the Howard Miller Clock Company’s present incarnation is just as dedicated to providing the buying public with world-class timekeeping solutions that combine the very best in solid, reliable performance with stunning good looks. Few products on the market work just as well as they look, and these are two qualities that the Howard Miller Company can deliver with equal competence.
Fewer still are the products that can stand the test of time, and it seems that everything you buy today is destined to be headed toward a landfill in as little as a few months. Not so the Howard Miller wall clock–or any other clock in the Howard Miller line for that matter–which have more than proven their worth as far as durability and reliability goes.
One thing is for sure; when you invest in any product that bears the name of the master of the clock Howard Miller, you can be confident in the fact that you’re taking home a precision timepiece that will provide you with steady and reliable service for many years to come. And with a wealth of features such as the Howard Miller Westminster chime on board many of the company’s models, you don’t have to give up innovation and cutting edge technology for the sake of traditional design. With a Howard Miller clock, you get the best of both worlds…classic good looks and modern timekeeping technology!