Factory Wall Clock

Description
Benjamin Hanks and his son Truman (1782-1846) designed this wall clock for use in a mill. Within the clock’s white dial are five subsidiary indicators for both time of day and mill machinery operations.
Made sometime between 1808 and 1824, perhaps as an experimental timepiece, the clock is a very early example of factory time control. At the time this clock was made, keeping track of workers’ hours was mainly the job of clerks. By the late 1880s, though, time accounting was mechanized in factories. Then the time clock, introduced to record automatically the times a worker entered and left the workplace, came to symbolize industrialization itself.
Benjamin Hanks (1755-1824) worked in Mansfield, Conn., as a clock- and watchmaker and in 1785 established a foundry there for casting bells and cannons. About 1808 he moved to the area near Troy, N.Y., and set up an iron foundry. His brother Rodney established the first water-powered silk mill in the United States in 1810.
Reference: David Todd and Richard Perlman, “An Early Factory Clock by Benjamin & Truman Hanks,” Bulletin of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (February 1997): 21-29.
Object Name
clock, wall, factory
date made
ca 1808-1824
ca 1808
maker
Hanks, Benjamin
Measurements
overall: 66 in x 21 in x 9 5/8 in; 167.64 cm x 53.34 cm x 24.4602 cm
ID Number
1994.0163.01
catalog number
1994.0163.01
accession number
1994.0163
subject
Measuring & Mapping
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanisms
Exhibition
On Time
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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