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Saturday, December 30, 2006

The face of time

union_station_clock_tower.jpg Downtown, Springfield, Illinois.

Shot this past Wednesday around 4:30 in the afternoon. The light cast on the clock by the setting sun was just beautiful. You had to be there.

Anyway, the face of the new old clock Union Station clock tower has been installed and is now operational. The State Journal-Register reports that, "a clock last ticked at Union Station in the 1930s, when it was dismantled. The tower itself was removed in the 1940s." Elgin Watch Company manufactured the first clock. This one was made by Electric Time Co., of Medfield, Massachusetts. The old one ran on gears. This one runs on electricity and keeps time via GPS.

Also from the SJR:

* Each of the four faces weighs 300 pounds.

* The minute hands are more than 5.5 feet long. The hour hands measure roughly 4.5 feet. Each number measures 13.5 inches in length.

* The clock uses Arabic numerals. Had Roman numerals been used, the IV probably would have been represented as IIII, which is customary for large, public clocks.

* According to one clock-making tradition, shared with us by the folks at the Springfield Clock Co., clocks that have been repaired or that aren't currently keeping time are supposed to be set at 8:22. Shop owner Ben McCormick pointed out that Union Station's clock, before Tuesday, was stuck at noon. Brandie Morris, director of marketing for the Electric Time Co., which made the clock, said all her firm's clocks are preset to noon to establish a constant from which the clock's synchronization system can correct its own time.

* The clock is set to chime every half hour. It comes programmed with 33 different chimes.

* The clock keeps time by receiving signals from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

* The cost of the new clock: $42,000. (SJR: Union Station telling time (link goes dead in a week).)

A few photos of the clock project in progress can be found at:

  • Jerome Prophet [1] and [2]
  • Photos Et Cetera [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] and [6]

Some other noteworthy clocktowers:

Time keeps on slippin' into the future. And other songs about time that are going through my mind right now.

Posted by Marie at December 30, 2006 12:34 AM



Don't forget Dearborn Station in Chicago!

I used to be able to see this clock from my window when I lived there.

Posted by: Dave at December 30, 2006 1:52 AM

Dave, love that clock. Here's an unusual view of the same one.

Posted by: Marie at December 30, 2006 9:34 AM

I submitted a photo of the tower w/clock several weeks ago, but I missed deadline by just a few hours, so it hasn't run.

It will though - tomorrow - in IT.

I've held off posting any photos until IT publishes what I sent.

In the meantime I've been scooped by the SJ-R - and all because I missed a deadline.


Your post is most excellent, and contains much of the info I obtained from the Halverson crew who installed, and set the clock.

Good work!


Posted by: JeromeProphet at January 3, 2007 6:30 PM