From THE JEWELERS' CIRCULAR AND HOROLOGICAL REVIEW, Dec. 27, 1893
A COMPLETE STRIKING TOWER CLOCK.
The electric motor has been made to perform a great variety of work formerly done by manual labor. Among recent uses is that made by the Standard Electric Time Co., New Haven, Conn., in operating their tower clocks. A motor not only operates the hands, but also the striking apparatus for tolling off the hours of night. The mechanism which has now been brought out by this company is a complete striking tower clock, a cut of which is shown herewith.
Two electric motors are used to operate this clock. The motor used for driving the hands is connected by a gear and worm to an upright shaft, on the top of which is the usual gearing for the dial works. The motor circuit is closed every minute by a pair of magnets connected to a fine self-winding regulator, and after making the required number of revolutions to move the hands through a space of one minute on the dials, breaks its own circuit and there rests until the regulator closes the circuit on the next minute. A larger size motor is used to operate the striking mechanism; its size varies according to the weight of the hammer to be used. In this case the circuit is closed once an hour, and after striking the required number of blows breaks its own circuit, where it rests until the circuit is again closed.
Some appreciation of the labor saved by this arrangement may be gained when it is understood that the ordinary tower clock operating four pair of 6 foot pointers, and striking the hours on a 1,000 pound bell, requires from 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of weight, that must be wound up every eight days, besides the regulating necessary to keep it correct. One of the most important features of this arrangement is the use of the ordinary open-circuit batteries for operating the motors. The motors are so wound that but a small amount of current is used, and the motors will last from one to two years without renewing the elements, which are only sal ammoniac and zinc; and only ten cells are required for operating the hands of four 6 foot dials. The number used for operating the striking mechanism varies according to the weight of the hammer used. The speed of these motors is very slow, the efficiency high and so arranged that they will always start, even with a dead load
The electric tower clock complete, as shown, will weigh about 400 pounds. Besides the advantage of weight is the fact that secondary dials may be operated throughout the building from the same regulator. Both the time and striking machinery is very simple, and being operated directly by gears it is not liable to become disarranged in any way.
As the 20th Century began, Schenectady, New York, home of General Electric, was probably the most electrically-oriented city in the United States. Thus, the choice of an electric movement for this then-new new tower clock installation was a logical choice. The motors of this movement are wound for 50 volts DC. Note the bulb sockets. The 4-dial clock probably ran on a 110 volt DC lighting circuit using lamp resistance. A stock 72 beat Standard Electric self-winding regulator was used as a master.
These photos were taken in the early 1990's by the late Andy DuBois, former president of Tower Clock Chapter 134, NAWCC.
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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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