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Signal Clocks Solve Emergency Guard Problem in West's Largest Hospital

From The American Horologist and Jeweler magazine, March, 1942

Signal Clocks Solve Emergency Guard Problem in West's Largest Hospital


At Los Angeles, California, County General& ;Hospital, one of the major& ;units in the city's entire hospital preparedness plan and one of the largest situations in the United States, electric clocks are playing a vital part in preparation against air raids and sabotage. One problem was how to summon guards to any given point in minimum time - a real problem in an institution covering 56 acres and having 135 different buildings.

Obviously it would be impossible to have a guard constantly available in every corner. Yet, in case an attempt was made to set fires or otherwise to sabotage the establishment, the lives of thousands, to say nothing of millions of dollars worth of property, would hinge on quick action.

Electric clocks, which are scattered through the building corridors, solved the call problem. These clocks have light bulbs behind the faces for illumination. By replacing white bulbs with red ones and re-wiring the sockets in series, connecting the special circuits with a single pushpull on switch in the telephone operator's booth, the management had an almost instantaneous call system.

The hospital is normally equipped with hundreds of telephones. Since the war emergency arose, scores of additional ones have been installed-some out on the grounds, some on the building roofs and others at equally strategic locations. Thus, should need for a guard arise, the operator, being informed, has only to push a switch which turns on the red light in every clock in the hospital. In a matter of seconds one guard would come within visual range of a clock.

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