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Frequently Asked Questions:

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 large 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.


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 that have been 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.


How accurate is your automatic control, style 99B?

Without GPS: When the controller is located indoors +- 1 minute/year, outdoors +- 3 minutes/year. With GPS: +- 1 minute/billion years.



What is the 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 varies based on the product and scope of design. We will work with you to meet your requirements and will make the delivery required for your deadline.


How do you light clock dials?

We use a variety of different methods to light both our tower and street clocks. Typically backlighting and edge lighting are used, but also halo and surface mount lighting on clock hands and dial markings can be used in special cases. Our backlighting is even and lamps light the clock face. Typically backlighting is fluorescent but on smaller clocks, and on special order, neon can be used. Edge lighting uses a neon tube to halo light the clock dial. This yields a traditional look. Typical lamp life for neon is 100,000 hours and for fluorescent 9,000-12,000 hours. This means the average neon light will have to be serviced every 20+ years, and fluorescent every 2 to 2-1/2 years.


What is the motion of your clock movements?

Our 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 movement design is backward compatible both electrically, and physically, with clock movements that are 70+ years old. 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.


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, power failures, and is 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.

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