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Boston Custom House Tower Clock Hands

“At noon on April 6, 1916, the clock tower stationed on the top of the Boston Custom house ticked for the first time. One hundred years later, it stands as an iconic landmark for the city, still ticking 24 hours a day.”

However, a hundred years of withstanding the rough weather conditions that New England has to offer does take its toll. In 1987, a restoration was conducted on the clock tower to bring the landmark back to its original glory. Boston Edison donated the repair/restoration and they asked their vendor to offer assistance.

One of the focal points of the restoration was the clock mechanism. For this job they asked David Hochstrasser, who owns a clock shop in Hanover, MA, and his brother to assist. In an article written by J.D. Capelouto from the Boston Globe, Hochstrasser was quoted saying “In the 10 years prior to that, the clock hadn’t run at all”. In order to repair the clock, components would need to be replaced on the internal mechanism, as well as all 4 of the 14-foot-tall minute hands on each face of the clock.

ARCOR was asked to construct new hands for the clock, using an epoxy to minimize the weight of the hands to reduce stress to the clock mechanism. ARCOR devised a method of molding the original hands, and then refining the shape using a clay build, creating a master mold for casting new minute hands. A combination of fibreglass cloth, and a custom designed ARCOR epoxy, was then used to develop the new hands. The newly cast hands were then sent off to a local artist to receive 24- karat gold leaf prior to their final installation.

The result were hands that weighed 60% less than the original hands, at 25 pounds each, substantially lightening the load on the internal mechanism. In addition, the new composite hands were incredibly durable, and designed to withstand whatever weather Boston had to offer.

It has been 31 years since the installation of the new ARCOR epoxy fabricated minute hands, and to date they have withstood the tests of time. Currently, more work is being conducted on the Custom house tower, with the hands showing some moderate wear to the gold flake, but otherwise the ARCOR epoxy is holding up strong.

 

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