TOWN CLOCKS.—I see no good reason why a Town-Clock should be so very large, so expensive, and, especially, why it should be placed so high in the air! The wind has so much influence on most church towers and steeples, as to affect, very sensibly, the motion of the clock placed in them, at a high elevation. Why not put a good common house-clock, in the town-house, say on the lower story, and let its striking apparatus, for the hour, be aloft, connected with the bell and the motion of the clock, and have a better time-keeper, at much less expensce? I could fix you an automaton, to ring the bell, or strike the hour, by clock, more accurately than most town-clocks give the time, and for less than half the expence. The chief object of a town-clock is public convenience, for which we want accurate time, a result very desirable, but very rarely attained. In what town, of your acquaintance, have they a “town-clock,” that keeps as good time as very many of their house-clocks, or even their watches! The reason is, town-clocks are made inaccurate in their motion, by being elevated too far above terra firma, a mishap that afflicts many things besides town-clocks.
Lansingburgh Gazette. August 23, 1825: 3 col 1.
In 1831, the Trustees of the Village received permission to place a town clock in the belfry of the [Episcopal] Church.
“Lansingburgh: Its Early History.” Historical Magazine 9(6). June 1871. 387-391.
MR. EDITOR:—What has got into the town clock now? From not striking at all, it has taken to striking with a perfect looseness, and with a liberality which we might admire if the article dispensed (said to be equivalent to money) belonged to the clock itself. Does the old thing suppose it has accumulated such a stock of time by not running for a week that it may strike a dozen for six? ONE OF THE SMALL HOURS.
Lansingburgh Gazette. January 30, 1845: 2 col 6.
MR. EDITOR.—I am glad that the interests of our town Clock have so far revived in the minds of our citizens as to elicit from any of them a notice, if of nothing else, of a discrepancy in its movements.
One of the small hours complains most bitterly through your columns of the want of attention on the part of the [?] in making his flight. This fact I am sure need not be wondered at, when we consider that it resulted rather from the misfortune than fault of the clock. Being an old and intimate friend of this piece of village furniture I cannot help sympathizing with it in all its woes. Feeling thus interested in its behalf, I happened one day to visit the appartment of my friend rather unexpectedly.—Surprised by the cessation of its usual loud sonorous tick, I paused and unperceived, heard him venting his griefs in the following soliloquy—“Oh miserable me! what an unhappy thing I am!! Here I stand as silent and as still, as though the pulse of life never beat in my veins. Pretty soon, my master will appear and then I shall be upbraided for stopping—and he will blame me, for troubling him so much—But how can I help it.—I’m sure I do the very best that I can—Here the people have placed me away up in this old, rickety steeple, when every wind that blows, swings and sways me about until my head is made so completely dizzy that I really know not what I am about—whether I am going right or not, or even going at all. And then they have given me but one hand to work with, when every body knows that two hands are necessary for a perfect workman. Why did they want to give me any hands at all, if they would give me only one, thus making me profess to be able to point out the time when they know I can’t do it. They had much better have saved the money my faces costs, than to have so wasted it for nothing. I often feel very much abashed, when I see the passers-by stop and gaze on my face with an anxious glance, but after a vain attempt to decipher the time, turn away with a disappointed look, promising never to be caught in such a foolish trick again. So they blame me when I’m sure it can’t be my fault! But suppose, as a good many think, if I would only strike right and regularly, they would pardon me for my bungling work with my hands. But alas! how can I ever promise this with safety. My master scolds me and tells me I am so at fault in this part of my work, that he dares not trust me a minute out of his sight. He says in his impatience that I never was worth much, and he is sadly afraid I never will be.
I am very cruelly treated. I am sure I am not to blame.
If I should fail to strike, why then, I may run ever so well tick; ever so loud, but nobody is the wiser for it or is profited by my diligence—I have tried it a great many times, but yet it does me no credit—and after all my efforts I am called hard names. But suppose I should strike regularly, none except my nearest neighbors, perhaps, hear me, and not then half the time unless they are admonished by their own time pieces that it is my duty to strike. Unhappy wretch! here I am like a man shut up in a box, we know he is there but we cannot perceive it—who will pity me. Who will take my part?
Just at this moment I appeared in sight and thus put an end to its complaints.
Having adjusted the machinery I left it again to its thankless task. On my way here I was forcibly reminded of the old fable of the man whose goose laid each day a golden egg; and I could not but think that the expectations of the people in our town clock, must perish just as his when he saw the inside of the goose. Thoughtless men! who instead of blaming the unfortunate clock for not running well, should in fact be thankful for its performance at all.
Lansingburgh Gazette. February 27, 1845: 2 col 3.
☞ What is the matter with our town clock? Can any body tell.
Lansingburgh Democrat. February 15, 1849: 2 col 4.
☞ SMART.—The town clock has stood still only about four days the past week. Where’s the doctor?
Lansingburgh Democrat. March 22, 1849: col 3.
☞ The man who won a “patent lever gold watch” at an Art-Union lately, says that our town clock doesn’t keep good time.
Lansingburgh Democrat. February 5, 1852: 2 col 4.
ANOTHER STRIKE EXPECTED.—Repairs are now being made to the Town Clock, and we expect soon to hear of its following the fashion of the day, and go on a regular “strike.”
Lansingburgh Democrat. June 2, 1853: 2 col 3.
On motion, Thomas W. Brooks was appointed to take charge of the two village clocks, and keep the same in good running order; at the salary of $50 per year.
Lansingburgh Democrat. March 13, 1856: 2 col 5.
☞ The dial of our town clock on the Olivet Church has been receiving sundry improvements at the hands of officer Remington. The point which indicates the hour has upon its outer end a gilded star, whether this is intended to designate the “lone starry hours,” or the “golden hours,” we do not know, but in either case, it is equally suggestive. The minute hand is tipped with red, which, for want of other light, we will presume to be emblematical of the bloody times which made up the hours of our country’s history. Who will say now that poetry cannot enter into the most ordinary matters of every day life.
Semi-Weekly Chronicle. November 16, 1864: 3 col 1.
—Some public-spirited individual ought to start a subscription to keep the town clock running. To be sure the clock is now the property, by virtue of the rental of Concert Hall of the Free Reading room, but we know that the thing could be accomplished. Start the ball, somebody.
Lansingburgh Courier. May 30, 1879: 3 col 1.
—The town clock, reference to which was made in the COURIER last week, has been set in running order by Chas. Wood esq., of th firm of E. & C. Wood.
Lansingburgh Courier. June 6, 1879: 3 col 1.