Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Blinking 12:00, 12:00, 12:00 ...

Click on the image for a larger version.

These are the instructions for "The Care of a Tower Clock" from the E. Howard Clock Company. Our tower clock is original to the building, although it has been modified twice.

The clock had pulleys and weights that had to be reset once a week. The shafts for the weights still exist in the Cathedral's "attic." They were accessible by climbing up into the central tower. This task is fairly easy and comfortable in the Spring and Fall. In Summer, the temperature is at least 20 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature outdoors. Resetting the clock in winter sounds rather unpleasant.

At some point it was modified to run on electricity, rather than the weights. The electric motors were compatible with the 50 Hz electricity of the day. Later on, when the United States shifted to 60 Hz electricity, we found that our clocks ran fast - very fast. Our tower clock gained an extra 12 minutes every hour.

Another modification fixed that.

The clock mechanism is protected by a metal structure that shields it from anything that might fall from above.

Today, the clock is showing its age. John Dzurilla, one of our maintenance men, is repairing a gear that has come loose. The minute hand climbs to the :00 position, then promptly falls to the :20 position. The hands will be repaired and back in good running order soon.

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