New York: W. S. Webb & Co., Publishers, 49 & 51 Park Place, 1884.
(PART III, Ansonia section, Page 391)
Chas. D. Warner, Watchmaker and Jeweler, Main Street, opposite National Bank.---The most noticeable of the stores on Main Street is the one occupied by Mr. Chas. D. Warner. The large plate-glass show-windows, filled with beautiful works of art and vertu attract the eye of every passer-by, and the metropolitan appearance of the interior causes the visitor to imagine himself in some of the pretentious establishments of the larger cities. The fittings of the store add to its fine appearance, and the flood of light which penetrates to every portion of the room shows off to good advantage the large and choice stock of musical instruments, watches, clocks, jewelry, stationery and fancy articles which are carried. The dimensions of the store are in keeping with the surroundings, being 30 x 60 feet. Here is located the main central station of the Ansonia electrical time service for the town of Derby, by which many of the principal clocks of the town are regulated. This is the first time system that has been worked on systematic principles, and the failure of others has been principally on this point. Mr. Warner has now nearly one hundred electric time dials, located in nearly all the prominent residences and offices, which are giving the best satisfaction. Mr. Warner is also the inventor of an ingenious instrument for measuring the strength of current which acts as an electric gauge, as the currents of electricity are measured something after the manner of measuring steam in a boiler. Mr. Warner is a native of Suffield, Conn., and is thirty-one years of age. He has been in this business here for the past five years, and is one of the rising representative men of the town. He is a member of the Knights of Honor, also the Jewelers' Security Alliance of New York.
Who He Is, Where He Lives, and How He Does It
To begin with, who among you knew that Father Time ever had a right hand man? Well, he has, and his name is Mr. George L. Riggs. He can sometimes be found at 192 Dunmoreland Street, Springfield, but more often at 89 Logan Street, where a good sized factory does nothing except manufacture clocks, bells, whistles, horns, and buzzers to make a noise when Old Man Time wants his presence known anywhere in the country, town, or city. Mr. Riggs is president and general manager of the Standard Electric Time Company, as Father Time pleases to call his establishment.
If Mr. George L. Riggs wasn't on his job the school children wouldn't know when recess came or school let out; the workmen who punch the clock for overtime wouldn't hear the bell tinkle its golden answer; the faithful stenographer with her eyes glued to the time piece on the wall wouldn't hear the electric whistle outside blow for supper; the love sick swain waiting for the last car home would wonder why the hands on the illuminated town clock didn't tell the truth. But Mr. Riggs and his helpers are on the job every second, and that is how they keep in the good graces of the Old Reaper. How they got there in the first place is another story.
Back in 1884 the Standard Electric Time Company started business. Four years later the firm was incorporated. At the Panama-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, 1915, the highest award for electric clock systems went to this Springfield concern. Most people think the gold medal award is the highest given, but there is one better called the medal of honor. Sometimes the grand prize is given for a very unique exhibit, but without special regard for the merit of the product. The standard master clocks and secondary clocks were installed and used in the great educational building at the fair. Thirty-five years of successful existence is the proud record of this company now located in our community.
The principal output of the Standard Electric Time Company is in the form of electric master clocks and their secondary clocks, equipped with automatic bell ringing systems. These are used in schools, factories, banks, hospitals and other institutions everywhere. In addition are manufactured recording time clocks, electric time stamps, fire-alarm systems, automatic calling devices, electric horns and whistles, yard gongs, illuminated tower and street post clocks, automatic chime clocks, etc. All of these interesting mechanisms can be connected with electric master clocks.
A few of the Springfield institutions using the Standard systems are the High School of Commerce, Chestnut Street school, Howard Street school, Buckingham school, Forest Park school, Hooker school, and Indian Orchard school. Outside of our city might be mentioned the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., and the Perkins Institute for the Blind at Watertown, Mass. These are a small per cent. of the places where Father Time's chief announcer is always on the job.
The treasurer of the Standard Electric Time Company is Mr. Charles B. Fitts, 53 Albemarle Street. Mr. J. J. Estabrook, vice-president, and Mr. C. M. Whiteford, secretary, are not residents of Springfield. Branches have been established in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, and Birmingham, Alabama.
People in this community who pride themselves in being on time, and those who don't, had better make the acquaintance of President Riggs and his busy helpers.
George L. Riggs Rose From Bookkeeper to Head Electric Time Concern
George L. Riggs, 54, of 140 Kimberly avenue, president of the Standard Electric Time Company, died yesterday morning in his home. Mr. Riggs was born at Union City, Ct., January 14, 1874. In early youth he was apprenticed on a farm in Michigan and ran away when he was older and returned to New England, educated himself until he became bookkeeper of the company and climbed to the presidency when on June 1, 1895, he bought the controlling interest in the company, which manufactures electric time systems for schools, banks and public buildings and which has 15 branches in cities in the United States and Canada.
In 1912 the business moved to Springfield from Waterbury, Ct., and the business grew rapidly under his able management.
Mr. Riggs after buying the business gradually built it up to the present standard. He was a member of the Springfield Rotary club of which he was a former vice-president, Chamber of Commerce, Springfield Country club, Nayasset club and the First church of Christ, Scientist. He was a former director of the Chapin National bank. He was also a director of the Atlas Trust company.
He married Clara W. Wood in Waterbury, Ct., in 1901, and she died in Springfield in 1921. In 1923 he married Frances W. Wakefield, daughter of Maj. Frank Wakefield. He leaves a 10-months-old son, George L. Riggs, Jr.; a brother, Harvey Riggs of Waterbury, and a sister, Mrs. Mary Peck of Brooklyn, N. Y.
The funeral will be held tomorrow afternoon at 3 at the Dickinson-Streeter funeral parlors and will be private, Frank W. Knox, Christian Science reader, officiating.
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The head of one of Springfield's larger industrial concerns is a woman and she doesn't feel that being a woman handicaps her "one bit" in her job.
She is Mrs. Francis W. Riggs, president of the Standard Electric Time Co., a concern which employs about 400 and the products of which are known throughout this country and Canada.
Mrs. Riggs, who has been president of the concern since 1940, has so much confidence in women executives that she has placed women in several key positions in the plant. The office manager is a woman as is one of the purchasing agents. The head of the payroll division is also a woman. However, Mrs. Riggs, herself, has a man assistant.
"I think that women can meet the challenge of modern industry as well as men," she said. "There are times, however, when a man can handle some types of situations perhaps better than a woman. Because of this we have both men and women in our key spots."
Mrs. Riggs, who took over the business upon the death of her husband, George L. Riggs, attributes the greater part of the success which she has had to the loyalty of her employees.
"They are a wonderful group," she said.
Keeping ahead of the times is the great problem facing business executives today, said Mrs. Riggs. During the time she has been president of Standard Electric Time Co. she has added a number of new devices.
One of the newest productions of the concern is an electric analyzer, a contraption somewhat similar to the "electric brain." It is used by some of the larger utility companies in the country to help in the solution of some of their tougher problems, said Mrs. Riggs.
A large West Coast electric power company has installed one to aid it in determining water pressures in the various sections of the large area it serves.
"It is almost uncanny to see how it comes up with the answer to difficult problems," she commented.
The concern has a number of different lines including all kinds of electric timers, clocks, fire alarms and communications systems such as are used in hospitals.
The company did $1,000,000 worth of business annually when Mrs. Riggs took it over and now it does an annual business of more than $5,000,000.
Mrs. Riggs is at the office of the company from 8 to 5 daily and says that she, "thoroughly enjoys" her job.
She is a graduate of the High School of Commerce and worked at the concern as a private secretary for some years.
Her two grandchildren are the greatest interests she has outside of the Standard Electric Time Company, she says.
Mrs Riggs makes her home at 4 Brookside Drive, Wilbraham.
Herbert P. Blake went with the Standard Electric Time Company in 1921 from the Ley Construction Company (at that time the largest contractors in New England) where he had been head of the purchasing department.
Started with Standard as a salesman (1 of 3 working out of the Springfield office.)
In 1927 became sales promotion Manager, operating in the field over the entire United States -- working with individual salesmen on specific jobs, building morale amongst their men and customers, introducing new products of Standard, such as "Hospital Signal Systems," "Precision Timers", "Laboratory Panels", etc.
In 1939 made Sales Manager, but still spent a great deal of time in the field.
In 1943 made Vice President (and incidentally, has charge of advertising.)
For 17 years has done most of his traveling by air -- being a pioneer of commercial flying.
Is an Admiral of the American Airlines Flagship Fleet, and has recently been awarded his 7th star in the 100,000 Mile Club of United, meaning he has flown 700,000 miles.
He still gets a kick out of grabbing the old bag and going out on especially difficult selling jobs, wherever they may be in the country.
He has traveled the entire country, up and down and across many, many times, with probably few people equaling it.
Is father of Curtis and Prestley Blake, co-founders of the Friendly Ice Cream Corporation.
(Retired from Standard November 30, 1956)
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Jeffrey R. Wood, creator of the Standard Electric Time Co. (SETCO) pages of clockhistory.com, passed away in August of 2018. I will maintain the SETCO web pages in honor of Jeff, but will not be making any additions or changes, or answering any questions. It is hard to express how much I miss Jeff, his friendship, and his wonderful contributions to Standard Electric and Westclox research.
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