Talking clock

Objectnumber: RA 0210

Length: 27.5 cm

Width:  25,5 cm

Height: 68 cm

Materials: oak box, dial in yellow metal

On the desk in Amundsen’s study is a special clock.

The clock is now still and many years have passed since the built-in German voice last announced the time. Photo: Follo museum, MiA. RA.0210

We don’t know how Amundsen acquired this talking clock or when, but the model was produced in the years around 1910–12 by the German inventor and clockmaker Bernhard Hiller. Inside was a belt of 35 mm celluloid film engraved with recordings of a German voice used to announce the time every quarter hour.

In 2015, the sound reels belonging to the clock were discovered at Amundsen’s home. Photo: Follo Museum, MiA.
The sound rolls were analyzed and digitized in collaboration with the National Library of Norway in 2015. Photo: Follo museum, MiA

In 2015, the clock’s sound rolls were discovered in the bedside drawer in Roald Amundsen’s bedroom. In collaboration with the National Library of Norway, the scrolls were examined and digitized. You can hear how the clock sounded here: