- Why do you use clear tempered glass crystals instead of acrylic or polycarbonate ?
We find acrylic scratches easily and polycarbonate will yellow with time. A tower clock or
street clock is meant to be a center of attention for decades if not centuries. Glass does not deteriorate with time. Tempered glass is relatively strong and will only break if hit with a sharp object. It then breaks into small pieces. This is the same material used in the side window in cars. If not properly installed acrylic and polycarbonate will warp. If required in areas prone to vandalism polycarbonate and/or special acrylics crystals are available.
Left - aged crystal removed during clock renovation. Right - warped & scratched crystal.
- Are your products listed to UL standards?
Yes our tower, street clocks and automatic controls are listed in the entirety under various UL standards.
- Is UL recognized the same as UL listed?
No. Manufacturers often claim that products containing UL recognized components and UL listed parts have been properly certified as safe. This is not the case, in order for a product to be "UL Listed" it needs to be evaluated in the entirety under the applicable UL standard. Electric Time Tower & Street clocks and controls are listed under UL standards applicable to the specific product.
- Are parts available on older products?
We still carry parts for 95% of the products we have made since 1928.
- What are the advantages of aluminum over fiberglass ?
Fiberglass can be molded into shapes or forms that are not practical in metals. Aluminum however will not develop cracks with age and will not deteriorate when exposed to the elements without a protective finish.
Photograph of inside of fiberglass post clock with crack.
- How accurate is your automatic control, style 99B?
Without GPS: Yearly, when control located indoors +- 1 minute, outdoors +- 3 minutes.
With GPS: 1 microsecond 1x10-6
- What is typical delivery time ?
Standard size clock movement and controls are stock items, other products are made to your specification in our manufacturing facility in Medfield, Massachusetts USA. Lead time vary based on the product and scope of design. We will work with you to meet your requirements and will make delivery required for your deadline.
- How do you light clocks dials ?
We use a variety of different methods to light both our tower and street clocks. Typically backlighting and edge Lighting, but also halo and surface mount lighting on clock hands and dial markings (see products & specs - 1000/1100 Silhouette - Illuminated ). Our backlighting is even and light sources are back from the clock face. Depending on the product backlighting is high efficiency fluorescent, LEDs or Neon . Edge lighting uses a neon tube to halo light the clock dial. This gives a traditional look. Typical lamp life for neon is 100,000 hours and for fluorescent 29,000 hours. This means on the average neon will have to be serviced in 20+ years, LEDs ever 10 years and fluorescent lamps every 6 years.
Left - edge lighted street clock. Right - backlighted street clock.
- What is the motion of your clock movements ?
Our tower clock movements are "Pulse" driven - they run 6 seconds of every minute. The motion is smooth and not jerky and used on clocks up to 35' in diameter. This tower clock movement design is backwards compatible both electrically and physically with tower clock movements we have been making for the last 70+ years. Synchronous movements are still available from our firm but they can drift when they start up or stop.
- Do you use drainage holes ?
Per UL 48 & UL 863 specifications we provide drain holes in our products.
- How do you attach your clock hands to the shaft ?
All of our clock products use split hand hubs to attach the clock hands to the shafts. We do not use set screws as they will loosen with time. This prevents the hands from becoming loose in strong winds and/or adverse weather.
Animated Hub Image
- Post clock controller where do you mount it ?
The howard and seth thomas street clocks have a controller mounted in the base. This control will automatically reset for daylight savings time changes and power failures and kept accurate with a GPS receiver. It is listed under UL standard 863. It is not necessary to have a large industrial exterior cabinet to house the control.
- Why is the Roman Numeral four represented by IIII rather than IV?
Why is the Roman Numeral four represented by IIII rather than IV? There does not seemed to be a definitive reason but it is how the dials on tower clocks have been done for centuries. Wikipedia has the most readable commentary.
- What are Castings and Why do we use them?
Our aluminum castings are made here in the New England area at local foundries. The foundries use our wooden patterns to make the castings. Pictured below is the progression of the process. At far left is our original Howard Company wooden pattern used exclusively for the post in Electric Time Company’s Large Howard Replica Post Clocks. The photo second from left shows the post as it arrives in our factory from the foundry. After going through a number of processes in the factory the finished results are shown on the two photos at right.
The casting process starts with the wooden molds which are pressed into wet sand that will hold the mold’s shape. The molten aluminum is poured into the mold – which is also modified using a core box for the inner shape of the cast piece. These cast pieces are manufactured to our strict specifications for purity, thickness and strength.
Electric Time Company uses aluminum rather than fiberglass for its street clocks. Aluminum provides a stronger, sturdier clock – not likely to need any repairs or upkeep. Fiberglass is a less expensive medium, but not one we prefer for our post clocks.
Casting process: (left to right) original pattern - casting - finished results
- What does ElTimeCo stand for ?
ElTimeCo is a trade name used by Electric Time Company on clocks in the middle part of the 20th century. ElTimeCo clocks can be restored or recreated and parts are still available.
Photograph below of a reproduction 3600 design ElTimeCo Clock.
- What is a Black Smalt Tower Clock dial ?
One of our clients requested a black smalt tower clock dial. This is a traditional process; the background of the dial is finished with a "black smalt". Specifically, ground black glass is attached to the clock dial with a binder. If the dial markings and hands are finished with gold leaf, the contrast with the black can be very striking.
Photograph below of a black smalt Style 1100 design Tower Clock.