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The History of the Howard Miller Clock Company

The History of the Howard Miller Clock Company

Incomparable workmanship. Unsurpassed quality. A quest for perfection. It’s what Howard C. Miller insisted on when he founded the company back in 1926.  Find a full selection of Howard Miller Clocks here.

The Early Years of Howard C. Miller

Howard C. Miller was born in 1905, only two years after the Wright Brothers flew at Kitty Hawk. Mr. Miller was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and moved with his family to Zeeland as a boy. 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. Founder and namesake Howard Miller learned the business from his father, Herman, who in the early 1900s took advantage of the booming furniture industry in West Michigan to start a new company while simultaneously (and successfully) running another. 

Howard C. Miller the founder of Howard Miller Clock Company - Premier Clocks

The Beginning of the Howard Miller Clock Company

The Howard Miller Clock Company officially opened its doors in 1926 but its roots in American manufacturing run even deeper. Howard inherited his father’s ambition and business acumen and would draw heavily on both to make his own company. 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.

While originally in the early years, the company only made chiming wall clocks and mantel clocks, in 1933 Howard Miller also began producing trend-setting avant garde clocks with modern design that stand today in collectors' galleries. The company won numerous awards for its design leadership. During World War II, Howard Miller joined forces with the Ford Motor Co. to produce anti-aircraft covers. After the war, Herman utilized the design skills of George Nelson, the Director of Design at Herman Miller Furniture, and introduced the Ball, Spike and Spindle clocks and a line of ceramic wall clocks. Grandfather clocks became a part of the product line in the 1960s when the company completed the building of a modern factory. The Howard Miller Company began its domination of the grandfather clock market, worldwide. And eventually earning the company the title of "World's Largest Grandfather Clock Manufacturer."

Howard Miller Grandfather Clock Factory - Premier Clocks

The Legacy of Howard Miller

Although Howard C. Miller died in 1995, his company is committed to continuing his vision. Today, the Howard Miller Company is still family owned and operated in its third generation. Howard Miller Clock Company is the largest clock company in the United States and the largest manufacturer of grandfather clocks in the world. To Howard C. Miller, however, what mattered most was something more than just size. "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." Mr. Miller's vision also encompassed the idea that a clock is much more than just a piece of furniture. He also said: "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."

The Howard Miller Company believes that grandfather clocks are designed the way they should be: for initial ease of setup, for interim maintenance of the works, for later packing up and/or moving. Only a clock company, as opposed to a kit company, knows how to design beautiful cabinets around the characteristics of a complicated chiming timepiece. And with Kieninger movements, Howard Miller's grandfather clocks' durability over decades is ensured, as long as they are properly maintained. Always buy a grandfather clock from knowledgeable professionals. Only they can honestly explain the different features of the clock, how they are utilized, and also how they add to your investment.

Howard Miller Legacy in Howard Miller Clock Company - Premier Clocks

The Development of the Howard Miller Company

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.

As part of the company's continuing effort to bring customers only the best in handcrafted products, Howard Miller recently acquired three companies: The Hekman Furniture Company produces a strong cadre of carefully sculpted hardwood pieces that range from 18th and 19th Century reproductions, to contemporary products featuring fine metals and exotic woods. The Woodmark Company makes fine upholstered pieces. And the exquisite movement in many clocks that is made by Old World craftsmen employed by the Kieninger Company of Germany.

While Howard Miller products might once have been primarily considered as gifts for weddings, anniversaries and retirements, the company's expanded line of offerings is enticing more and more buyers who simply desire quality timepieces and furniture in their homes and businesses - no occasion required.

Howard Miller offers hundreds of items to complement any decor ranging from portable alarm clocks to wall and mantel clocks to limited edition grandfather clocks. And there are price ranges that are suitable for any budget. No matter the price of the purchase, you have the same assurance that Howard C. Miller provided when he began offering clocks more than 70 years ago: That quality be reflected both in the products the company creates, and in the people whose artistic talents are relied on to manufacture them.

Development of the Howard Miller Company Total Home - Premier Clocks

Ultimately, the story of Howard Miller is one of innovation, adaptability and the unending pursuit of perfection. 

 




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