Vintage Las Vegas Baby! It was 1968 when ‘The Strip’ sparkled with casinos like Stardust and The Flamingo, when you could pull up at the opening of Circus Circus and have the valet park your black Cadillac Eldorado. Only in America right? Well not only did they give the world this incredible piece of historic flavour, it also gave us classic souvenirs like the Las Vegas Dice Clock.
Las Vegas still overwhelms us with gift shops throughout the many casinos, but back then these shops used to create and sell their own merchandise. Sin City produced some of the best well known classic souvenir designs like gambling chips, the ever famous ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign and memorabilia and of course the Las Vegas Dice Clock.
Whilst no one is certain who actually came up with the clock design, there’s a story told that in the 60’s Harold ‘Hal’ Miller, owner of the souvenir company Miller Novelty Co. challenged his son to come up with something new to capitalize on the booming souvenir market.
So with an old battery block motor, a few gold clock hands and some casino dice on the face, the Las Vegas Dice Clock prototype emerged.
Miller Snr reportedly sneered at the idea as something that would offend the customers, but his son believed in his product and took the clock out to sell the idea to various gift shop owners in Vegas casinos. Shortly after, these casinos were exchanging their misspent die for orders of the finished timepieces. Some of the purchasing deals of these die were allegedly made under the cover of darkness with employees of the casinos! Miller created an assembly line of people putting the clocks together to fulfil their growing orders.
All of Miller’s originals featured black or white 9” square backgrounds, with second hand red casino dice as the numbers on the clock and the hands made of gold leaf. Since the original clocks were made, a number of variations were produced using different coloured dice and marble coloured backgrounds.
By the early 70‘s there were a few companies manufacturing these clocks and it’s estimated that the dice clock hustle lasted from the 1960s right through to the 1980s with more than one million clocks sold.
The Las Vegas Dice Clock is a quirky piece of vintage that makes you smile and reflect on a time full of neon signs, colourful stage shows and lots of fun had by all. It’s a true collector’s piece.
Anna is selling the Las Vegas Dice clock along with other quirky vintage and retro pieces on the Vintage & Retro website.
Images courtesy: Wikimedia Commons; Great Gatsby Book Cover image originally posted on Flickr by Allan Trotter.