Thursday, August 16, 2007
The Clocktower was built as part of the Great Northern Railroad Station in 1902. An outline is visible where the rest of the building extended east and west of the tower. The tower is brick outside, and plaster inside. Maintenance personnel must climb two vertical ladders, three steep flights of stairs, and a section is twenty to thirty feet high.
The clock is simply a giant grandfather clock, with four faces. The clockworks are enclosed in a small room on an upper level of the tower. Maintenance personnel actually stand inside the clock to wind or set it. The pendulum is a metal ball that weighs approximately two hundred pounds, and is suspended on a thin strip of metal. The counterweights descend approximately forty feet, between windings. The clock is an "eight day" clock, and is wound once each week. Instead of a key, a crank (similar to a tire iron) is used for winding. It winds a cable around a spool that is approximately two feet long. The clock is set from inside the clockworks room. The hands are attached to shafts which extend from U-joints from the clockworks. The face is lit from inside.
The chimes are electronic. A small organ is used to program rolls (similar to piano player rolls) with tunes. As the rolls play, fine chords (similar to piano strings) are tapped, and the sound is amplified to speakers in the top of the tower.