Clocks of New York

An Illustrated History


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About the Book

The phrase “in a New York minute” is virtually synonymous with all that is fast-paced and technologically advanced. One of the first cities founded on the eastern seaboard, New York has been a horological trendsetter for almost four hundred years. When the first Dutch settlers came to Manhattan in the early years of the 17th century, they established America’s first stronghold of capitalism. Over the next few centuries, precise schedules became an inescapable reality of modernization and precision timepieces became an art form in Europe and America. As the center of commercial and industrial activity, New York City developed a particular preoccupation with time, and hence became a showplace for an astonishing array of timepieces.
From tower clocks to time balls, this richly illustrated work chronicles the history of public clocks in New York City. It discusses the premiere clock-makers of the 19th century such as the Ansonia Clock Company and the Self Winding Clock Company, the heyday of American public clock making and the ever-increasing importance of clocks. Post clocks, church clocks, sundials, and labor timepieces are all discussed herein. Photographs of subject pieces and an index are included.

About the Author(s)

Chris DeSantis lives in New York. Vinit Parmar lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Bibliographic Details

Chris DeSantis with photography by Vinit Parmar
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 263
Bibliographic Info: 201 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011 [2006]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6087-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0450-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Preface      1

1. Winding Up in New York City      5

2. Making Time for New York City      23

3. New York City Power Towers      50

4. The Bellwether Post Clocks: Stalwart Timekeepers      91

5. Timepieces as Building Ornaments      106

6. Timepieces on Landmarks: The Icing on the Cake      129

7. Community Clocks      176

8. Changing the Face of Time      205

9. New York Minutes      218

Appendix: Clock and Watch Makers of New Amsterdam and Early New York City      237

Chapter Notes      241

Bibliography      245

Index      253

Book Reviews & Awards

“fascinating”—C&RL News; “incredibly ambitious work. The author is to be commended for the commitment of time and energy this volume reflects. It stands as a singular historic record of public timekeeping…provides a valuable historic service”—NAWCC Bulletin.