Clock Front Cover September 1998-V19N09-Puddledock Press


Clock Front Cover September 1998-V19N09-Puddledock Press


Clock Front Cover September 1998-V19N09-Puddledock Press

Photo by George Meyer _

— The Farmington News, 1882 -

The clock was manufactured and placed in position by E. Howard & CO, of
Boston, whose productions are considered to stand foremost in this country.
The following dimensions, while some of them may not be exact, are sufficiently
correct for the purpose: Height of clock frame- 6 feet; length of clock frame-5 feet;
width-22 inches; Diameter of main wheel-16 inches; Length of striking line-140 feet;
length of pendulum- 8 1/2 feet; weight of pendulum ball-75 lbs; and weight of
striking hammer-60 lbs.
continued on page 2

The striking weight weighs 1200 pounds. The hands are moved by four horizontal
shafts connected by bevel gearing to the main shaft, which extends perpendicularly
to the clock below, a distance of some thirty five feet. "What is the matter with the
clock?" is a question for which there has been an occasional reason for asking, more
particularly of late. One cause during the winter is the lodgment of snow and ice on
the dial and hands, but the chief trouble is, and always has been, from the moisture
contained in the warm air which rises from the church below; this condenses and
forms frost and ice on the walls of the tower, and in the shaft box; during warm
days it melts and not withstanding all the means taken to prevent it, will sometimes
find its way to the hangings and gearings connected to the shaft; this afterward
becoming again frozen, stops the clock.

An occasional stoppage from the above caused during the winter season is
unavoidable. The only exception to this was that last autumn, some of the numerous
sets of gearing connected with the shafting in the steeple, became bound in
consequence of the springing of a timber. Being absent from town, the clock
remained at a standstill.

It has also failed to strike a few times, by reason of the breaking of the wire rope
which draws back the striking hammer.

There are three main areas to the tower. There is the clock itself, which is
uppermost. Below it is the bellhousing and below that is the gear room, which
houses the 4*X2! gear assemt%—fhe bell housing contains the giant bell itself,
approximately five feet across at its base. There are three separate clapper motions
to the bell.

A clapper on the outside, driven by the gears, automatically hits the bell to chime
the hours. The inside clapper is attached to two ropes. One moves only the clapper
and arouses a series of short intonations. The second moves the whole bell, and
continuous pulling on this rope causes the tolling sound.

It is not an easy climb into the tower, but a fascinating one. Names of those who
made it to the top are etched on the walls.

In the mid 1940*s Farmington almost lost it's Town Clock, when lightening struck
the bell tower.

continued on page 3

August 6, 1943's Farmington News reported: Farmington and vicinity was the
chief target for the bombardment in the midafternoon last Saturday, when almost
from a clear sky, the lightening, accompanied by deafening thunder, flashed out and
caused considerable damage over a wide area. Damage of major importance was
inflicted on the Farmington Congregational Church when a bolt of lightning struck
the tip of the weathervane and ripped open the tall spire for a distance of over
twenty feet downward, then crossed the space and crashed out through the rear side
of the steeple. Fortunately, it passed out before reaching the clock, so that the
timepiece was not disturbed. No fire resulted, but the damage is not yet estimated.
However, the building was well covered by insurance.

August 20, 1943 Farmington News went on to say: Work is underway in the
repair of the spire on the Congregational Church which was damaged to the amount
of $1350 by lightning which struck during a storm on the afternoon of August 1.
Examination by contractors and adjusters disclosed that the bolt destroyed some of
the supporting timbers for a distance of about sixty feet and had torn open the
steeple to considerable extent. The full amount of the estimated cost of replacement
was granted by the insurance and no time was lost in preparing to restore the spire.
The Hall Brothers of Berwick, experienced steeple workers, are the contractors in
charge of the repairs, and the men working on their lofty rigging have fascinated all
who had the opportunity to observe them.

Operations are progressing rapidly and soon this portion of the church will be
restored to its former appearance.

The Farmington News, Sept. 3, 1943: Everyone within hearing distance of the
Town Clock, welcomed the sound of its striking the hour on Wednesday evening
after a silence since operations started to repair the steeple of the brick church
which was damaged by lightning. The large dials of the clock were removed to the
repair shop of Andrew Foss, chief engineer of the precinct, where they were newly
painted black with gold letters. This completed the restoration work on the spire
which has been in progress for several weeks.

This is a digital file and also resides in the physical collection.

FHS-Kyle Leach


Puddledock Press


Puddledock Press



Date Created




Puddledock Press, “Clock Front Cover September 1998-V19N09-Puddledock Press,” Farmington Historical Society-Museum of Farmington History, accessed July 25, 2024,