Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!

Learn about mechanical timepieces and how they work, the history of the American watch industry and especially all about the Elgin National Watch Company! Check back for new content daily.

Although this is technically a blog, the content is not generally in a time-based sequence. You can find interesting items throughout. Down the page some is an alphabetical word cloud of keywords used here. A great way to dig in is to look through those topics and click anything you find interesting. You'll see all the relevant content.

Here are a few of my favorites!

There are some large images on some posts, so that might impact your load times, bit I think you will find it worth the wait. Thanks for visiting!

An Electric Clock Which Does Everything Except Think

From The American Horologist magazine, January 1942

An Electric Clock Which Does Everything Except Think

An electric clock which tells the time of the largest cities in the world, sounds chimes, plays a harp and an organ, predicts weather, sends a statue of Uncle Sam parading arm in arm with the Goddess of Liberty, recites Lincoln's Gettysburg address at the exact hour the EmancipatorPresident was laid to rest, and a host of other things, has made it appropriately called "the clock that does everything but think."

This clock is 12 feet tall, four feet wide and 32 inches deep and is made of 5000 pieces of wood taken from 32 different kinds of trees. Miles of wire regulate the intricate mechanism.  The material alone cost over $5000 and the clock is valued at $50,000. It is a practical timepiece, ingeniously contrived by electricity and is the fruit of patience, tenacity and time.

The clock was made by Marvin Shearer in his workshop in Akron, Ohio. He spent 15 months alone in drawing the blue prints for the master-piece and seven years in building it. Now he has thrown the blueprints away to make sure that there will not be another to match its marvel.

In more detail the clock does the following which are only a few of its accomplishments. It has 27 dials. At a quarter to the hour, the chimes ring out soft and low. At a quarter after, a harp sounds a sweet melody. On the hour and half hour, a reedless pipe organ peels out his music.

The clock pays honor not only to the memory of the Civil War president but also to the other martyr presidents, namely, William McKinley and James Garfield. At the hour of McKinley's funeral the organ plays softly the beautiful hymn "Lead Kindly Light." At the hour of Garfield's services it plays another hymn, "Gates Ajar."

The small figures of Uncle Sam and the Goddess of Liberty leave their pedestal once an hour, enter elevators on each side of the face of the clock, descend to a balcony, join hands and go for a stroll around the base of the timepiece. The base of the clock is a model of Akron's new passenger depot. It is encircled by a miniature train which stops in front of the station after completing seven laps on the tiny track. Above the station is an electrical water cascade in a moonlit mill scene. Sixteen lights in the waterfall change color constantly. Other lights of the clock change with the tones of the organ and the harp.

Revolving pictures on the front panel depict events in the world history from 1492 to the present year.  On the rear panels are portraits of the leaders of the five most important countries of the world. The clock is made in sections and can be taken down and put up again in less than an hour. It is truely a marvelous timepiece and justly merited to the title of "the clock that does everything but think."

Post a Comment

Click "Older Posts" just above for more, or use the archive links right here.

Blog Archive