Radium Dial Company
The Radium Dial Company, was one of a few now defunct United States companies along with the United States Radium Corporation, involved in the painting of clocks, watches and other instrument dials using radioluminescent paint containing radium. The resulting dials are now collectively known as radium dials. The luminous paint used on the dials contained a mixture of phosphorus and radium, a product that the Radium Dial Company named Luna. However, unlike the US Radium Corporation, Radium Dial Company was specifically set up to only paint dials, no other radium processing took place at the premises.
The Radium Dial Company was started in 1917 and was in full production of painted dials by 1918. The company was a division of the Standard Chemical Company based in the Marshall Field Annex building in Chicago. In 1920 the company relocated to Peru, Illinois to closer proximity to the clock manufacturer and major customer, Westclox.
By 1922 the company had moved to a former high school building in Ottawa, Illinois where it remained until the mid-1930s. At the highest point in production (around 1925), the Radium Dial Company employed around 1,000 young women who turned out around 4,300 dials each day.
The company was headed by Joseph A. Kelly Sr.. Kelly opened up a new corporation called Luminous Processes Inc. a few blocks away from the Radium Dial Company in Ottawa, Illinois shortly after closing down the Radium Dial Company. Luminous Processes Inc. continued producing fluorescent watch dials powered by radium radioactivity.
- "The documentary film 'Radium City'".
- "From a NY Times article concerning Kelly: "High Radiation Found in Plant On East 44th St." - Radium Chemical, headed by Joseph A. Kelly Jr., 69 years old, of Manhattan, has been under pressure by State Attorney General Robert Abrams to empty and decontaminate its highly radioactive plant at 60-06 27th Avenue in Woodside, Queens. Mr. Kelly's father operated the Radium Dial Company of Ottawa, Ill., whose practices were blamed for the cancer deaths of scores of young watch-dial painters in the 1920's and 30's.".