Focus on Fostoria - June_22_03

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Fostoria Focus
June 22, 2003

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Time to Chime in on Clock Article
By Leonard Skonecki


Good old John Montgomery.

You know, these Focus writers are a sharp bunch, they are. Last September, John wrote an article on the repair of the McClintock clock above Fostoria Art & Frame in the Foster Block (Ash Building) on the southeast corner of the intersection of Main and Tiffin Streets.

About a month ago, I was nosing around the Kaubisch Memorial Public Library and ran across a 1928 article in the Fostoria Daily Review describing the clock when it was installed. I remembered John's article and went scrambling through the library's Fostoria Focus index until I located it.

Lloyd Larrish of The House of Clocks in Fairbault, Minn., who did the repair work, was correct when he pegged the clock's installation between 1925 and 1949. The clock was installed in December 1928

In 1928, the Commercial Bank occupied the corner of the Foster Block. Charles Ash, whose name was added to the building was the president of the bank. He explained to Fostoria why he installed such an elaborate clock.

"As a home institution serving the people of this locality – enjoying your good will and business favors, we have in the past endeavored to show our appreciation by presenting our patrons with calendars and novelties and otherwise recognizing your cooperation in making this a serviceable and successful banking house.

"Years of prosperous banking have been made possible only by your support. We wanted to show our appreciation in some big substantial way and have therefore purchased of the manufacturers of the O.B. McClintock Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota, a large, handsome clock combined with a set of the softest and most beautiful chimes ever heard in any city of the old or new world."

The clock is larger than you might think, measuring 12 feet from top to bottom. Its frame is made of steel covered with cop

I looked very closely and there is no stem so there's no way to wind it up. Who'd crawl up there to do it anyhow? So how does it work?

It's controlled electrically by a master clock within the building. The original master clock was contained in a mahogany and plate glass structure with a 12-inch dial. At some time, that mechanism was replaced by one in a metal box.

In September, Mr. Larrish installed an entirely new master clock.
The clock chimes four times on the quarter hour, eight times on the half hour, and 12 times at three-quarters. At the top of the hour, it chimes 16 times and then tolls the hour.

At one time, approximately 1,000 American communities had McClintock clocks like the one on the Ash Building. Today, there are less than 50.

Mr. Ash was proud of the Westminster chimes. They reproduce the chimes of "Big Ben," the bell in Great Britain's Parliament Tower, also known as Westminster Palace.

"May we hope that the chimes will mean something to all of the people – that they will have a message for the youngster on his way to school – a thought for the business man who hastens through his day; a solace for the old; an inspiration to all," Mr. Ash said.

Long ago, "Big Ben" came to refer to the clock as well as the bell and is named for Benjamin Wells, London's commissioner of works when the bell was installed in 1856. Incidentally, that's the same year the elder Charles Foster built the first Foster Block on the corner now occupied by the City Building.

There is a poem about Big Ben's tolling of the hours. It's called "The Chimes."
"Lord, through this hour / Be Thou our guide / So, by thy power / No foot shall slide."


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