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Behind the Scenes: A View from the Clocktower

August 12, 2015 Think THF

Fig 1

I have a cool job here at The Henry Ford. Once a month I climb 75 steps up to Henry Ford Museum's Tower Clock to inspect and lubricate the Seth Thomas clock. Above is my view of the Greenfield Village entrance from opening week in April of this year.

And here’s what it looked like now with the trees leafed-out in July. These shots are from a “porthole” window about 15 steps up from the clock itself.

Fig 2

Built to order for Henry Ford, the clock was delivered from Connecticut just in time for the grand opening of the museum in October of 1929.

Fig 3

The clock is a top-of-the-line Model #16 Seth Thomas Tower Clock with an automatic silencing device for the bell strike. The mechanism drives four clock dials on the museum tower.

Fig 4

The hands move via this nifty mechanism with four universal joints.

Fig 5

This clock has been working valiantly, without stopping, since 1929. Currently we're working with a specialist, Phil Wright, to repair minor damage to the bell-striking switch.

Fig 6

The next time you hear the Tower Clock bells, think about what it might be like to have my perspective of our campus as I take care of this well-known artifact.

Clara Deck is Senior Conservator at The Henry Ford.

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