Clocks of Pratt Institute, Brooklyn

Discussion in 'Tower, Monumental & Street Clocks' started by Jeremy Woodoff, Nov 6, 2016.

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  1. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Jun 30, 2002
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    A few of us from Save America's Clocks and the 346 Broadway tower clock lawsuit coalition (see earlier posts) visited Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY today to see what was left of the original Self-Winding Clock Co. installations. Pratt Institute was founded by Charles Pratt about the same year as he co-founded the Self-Winding Clock Co., whose factory and offices were on Willoughby Street across from the Pratt campus. Naturally, all the clocks at Pratt were Self-Winding models. The system has been almost completely removed, but there are a couple of interesting remnants, shown to us by Conrad Milster, chief engineer at Pratt since 1958, until recently.

    The first group of pictures shows a public clock whose dial is on the wall of the old Engineering Building dating from the 1920s (the engineering program was dropped some years ago in favor of art and architecture programs) and whose original Self-Winding movement is in the room behind the dial. Self-Winding's system for tower clocks was to provide a typical 120-beat domestic-style movement with a twice-per-minute pulse sent to a special tower clock movement that drives the hands. This movement uses a battery-operated vibrating motor, similar to the winding motor in their style F movements, to move a worm gear which advances the hands half a minute at a time. A short video showing this movement operating is here: The whole setup is tiny compared to a typical tower clock movement. Some time ago the pendulum-operated "master" movement was electrified, and the battery source for the "slave" movement was replaced with mains power, but the setup is essentially original.
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    A second tower clock is high up on the Main (Library) building. It was not possible to fully access the movement, but this picture shows what looks like the original Self-Winding movement, now powered by a small electric motor. I'm not sure if the set-up was the same as for the previous clock or if it has been altered in the same or a different way.

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    There are a couple of interior Self-Winding clocks remaining on campus, including one in the chief engineer's old office that may have been the original master clock for the campus.

    Finally, in the museum-like mechanical building (East Building), is the original tower clock movement from the Ruppert (formerly Ehret) Brewery building in the German-immigrant neighborhood of Yorkville in Manhattan. This clock movement was salvaged by Conrad, the building engineer, and is displayed, working, above the engine room. The steam boiler still heats all the campus buildings and once provided electricity. You can see the dynamos in one of the pictures. The last photo shows the original Ruppert clock tower after being salvaged from the demolished brewery. It was to have been restored on the grounds of the new development but was destroyed by vandals. Fortunately, the clock mechanism had been removed. I believe it is a Howard No. 2 (photo is from the NY Times).

    IMG_8505.JPG IMG_8504.JPG IMG_8503.JPG IMG_8502.JPG IMG_8499.JPG IMG_8498.JPG IMG_8508.JPG Ruppert (Ehret) Brewery mov't (NY Times).jpg

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