Orange, Virginia .. Howard Tower Clock

Discussion in 'Tower, Monumental & Street Clocks' started by Brian Smith, Mar 6, 2020.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. Brian Smith

    Brian Smith Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 16, 2009
    515
    6
    18
    Building Official
    Manassas, VA
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    I have inserted myself into the public discourse in my home town. I want to get our Courthouse tower clock ticking again. I got a chance to climb up into the clock room and found an E. Howard which powers three faces and strikes our tower bell. First thing is to find its history. The courthouse was built in 1857. The clock serial number which is stenciled onto the frame is 3652. I am guessing that the tower was designed to house a tower clock but that this clock was not installed until after 1920. Input please.
     
    scootermcrad and Rick Alhadeff like this.
  2. jjsantos

    jjsantos Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    May 7, 2017
    16
    8
    3
    Country Flag:
    Place to start is on this site - check the pinned post to find the E Howard record finding aid; they are also on the Smithsonian website. If you are lucky, you'll get the billing and shipping invoices, names of who paid, and who installed. Noticing your 1920 date, I believe that was at the upper end of the records. You may find that you have a clock that was resold and moved, so you'll get the records for the original purchaser and location. That happened to one of mine that I researched. Good luck!
     
    Rick Alhadeff likes this.
  3. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
    NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Member Sponsor

    Mar 3, 2006
    1,654
    16
    38
    Male
    Restorer of antique clocks.
    Rhode Island
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Pictures will be very helpful.
     
  4. Michael Tyler

    Michael Tyler Registered User
    NAWCC Life Member NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Member

    Oct 13, 2005
    36
    3
    8
    Central Virginia
    Region Flag:
    Brian, I assisted Bob Draucker with the last major repair performed in the early 1990's. The main focus was replacement of broken gear in the strike train, but several new bushings were fabricated and installed.

    The gear failed from a stress fracture due to a gas bubble inclusion in the outer radius. Unfortunately, I do not have pics of the failed gear, but I do have pics of the clock after reassembly.

    Also, a number of years before that, the cable on the strike train failed dropping the weight box, causing damage to a wall at the bottom of the weight run.

    Orange CH 01.jpg Orange CH 02.jpg Orange CH 03.jpg Orange CH 04.jpg Orange CH 05.jpg Orange CH 06.jpg
     
    Rick Alhadeff, PatH and Jim DuBois like this.
  5. Michael Tyler

    Michael Tyler Registered User
    NAWCC Life Member NAWCC Fellow NAWCC Member

    Oct 13, 2005
    36
    3
    8
    Central Virginia
    Region Flag:
    One more thing, I believe the Orange County Historical Society was given documentation of the repairs and has some history of the clock.
     
  6. Judy Draucker

    Judy Draucker Registered User
    NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Member

    May 31, 2007
    3
    3
    3
    Bob Draucker was my former husband. He worked on the Orange County Courthouse tower clock several times – in the 1980s (possibly 1970s as well) and 1990s as Michael mentioned. Bob passed away in September 2019 – hence, I can’t give him a call.

    I grew up in Orange County and we were both interested in the clock running again. I remember it being quite a hassle, but Bob was finally given permission to look at the clock. Then a local businessman became involved and lobbied for its repair. I believe Bob donated his time. He did have to purchase some materials and pay for some outside services. The charges were nominal (around $400, I think) but it took forever to be reimbursed.

    There is a book “A History of Orange County, Virginia” (From its Formation in 1734 to the end of Reconstruction in 1870; compiled mainly from Original Records With a Brief Sketch of the Beginnings of Virginia, a Summary of Local Events to 1907, and a Map). The book is by W. W. Scott, State Librarian of Virginia for ten years. In Chapter XVII From 1848 to 1861, it states: In 1857 the present courthouse was ordered, with permission to the Masons to add a third story for use as a lodge, they pay one third of the insurance on the building. The Masons did not accept. The court held its first session in the new building in July,1859.

    As I recall, the clock was added in about the 1920s. I believe there was a fundraising effort to purchase the clock. I may be wrong, but it seems it was led by either a women’s organization or a children’s organization.

    As Michael suggested, I would contact the Orange County Historical Society. I do belong to the society but have never used it for research. I understand their records are pretty thorough and they have been working on digitizing them over the last few years.

    Another option would be to contact the Orange County Review, the local weekly newspaper. They did an article on Bob and the clock. I believe the newspaper has back issues available for research. I don’t know whether they have been digitized or not.

    Good luck on this project.

    Judy Draucker
     
  7. Brian Smith

    Brian Smith Registered User
    NAWCC Member

    Oct 16, 2009
    515
    6
    18
    Building Official
    Manassas, VA
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Thanks so much for this needed info. I will pass everything onto Orange County Public Works. I expect that all this clock needs is lubrication and a push. It looks in great shape. I will recommend that we not use the chime side since it would compete with the electronic chime from the nearby Methodist Church.
     
    Michael Tyler likes this.

Share This Page