|  Chapter 149 Web Site |  Kirx Klox Special Project |  CH 149 MENTORS | 
CHAPTER 149, THE LEADING COLLECTOR'S HOROLOGICAL CLUB, ASSISTS AND EDUCATES ITS MEMBERS>>KEEP UP WITH CURRENT RESEARCH!
WORLDWIDE Chapter 149 Message Board

The original NAWCC internet chapter
established July 8th, 1990
President & Admin; Jon Hanson
Admin: John LaCambria

Chapter 149, protecting our passion one watch at a time!


Read our Standards of Conduct

login.php?sid=0555ef69d693a2f48756af1e6743ef16 profile.php?mode=register&sid=0555ef69d693a2f48756af1e6743ef16 faq.php?sid=0555ef69d693a2f48756af1e6743ef16 search.php?sid=0555ef69d693a2f48756af1e6743ef16

WORLDWIDE Chapter 149 Message Board Forum Index » The Watch Collectors' Journal » magnificent clock at Newburgh
Post new topic  Reply to topic View previous topic :: View next topic 
magnificent clock at Newburgh
PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:52 am Reply with quote
Jon
Chapter President
Joined: 02 Dec 2002
Posts: 24887
Location: Boston, Ma




On the corner of Montgomery and First streets in the City of Newburgh, where both streets meet and end above the Hudson River, there’s a wonderful late 19th-century Gothic church. Designed by E.K. Shaw and dedicated in 1872, the church is brick with two towers of different heights. The east tower, the taller of the two, has a wonderful clock — a Charles Fasoldt tower clock.


Fasoldt was a native of Dresden, Germany. Born there in 1819, he emigrated to the United States in 1848, and from 1849 to 1861 he lived in Rome, N.Y. He moved to Albany in 1861 and lived there for the rest of his life, dying in 1898. Simple and straightforward — Dresden to Rome, N.Y., to Albany. But as simple and direct as his choice of cities to live in was, his method of designing and building clocks was much more complex.


Fasoldt was a true artist. The clocks and scientific instruments he created were of the highest quality, and he bordered on reinventing each piece he made.


The church on the corner of Montgomery and First was built as the Union Church, and the Fasoldt Clock was built and installed in the east tower in 1872. The clock has been a part of the church since the church was finished. Fasoldt made the clock in Albany and installed it himself.


The clock has four faces — north, south, east and west — and newspaper articles from 1872 refer to it as “the town clock.” An article in the Newburgh Daily Journal of Nov. 25, 1872, told about the clock arriving from Albany and said that work to install the clock in the tower had begun. And the Newburgh Daily Journal of Nov. 30, 1872, stated: “The new clock placed in the eastern spire on Union Church was set in motion today. The convenience of the clock has been needed for a long time, and its accommodation now will be welcomed.”


The Fasoldt Clock was actually bought by the City of Newburgh as a town clock. The city paid Fasoldt $1,750 for the clock, and the Union Church received rent of $50 per month for allowing the clock to be installed in its eastern tower, at the time the tallest and most central structure in Newburgh.


Fasoldt installed the clock in November 1872, and November in Newburgh can be frigid. Especially at the top of a six-story brick tower with no heat and a brisk wind off the Hudson. Fasoldt caught what is described as a “heavy cold,” and his eyesight was affected to the extent of restricting his clock-making activities for a few years. But, in 1876, Fasoldt tap-danced back onto the clock-making stage with a masterpiece — a large tower clock that took first prize at the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876.


The Newburgh clock ran with little trouble until the mid-20th century. In the 1950s, the clock was damaged by a fierce storm — one of the glass dials fell in and stopped the mechanism. And the mechanism stayed stopped until members of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors heard of the clock at a lecture and came to Newburgh to examine it.


The members were so impressed and fascinated by the clock that they offered to repair it for free. It took two years, but they restored the clock perfectly. Restoration began in February 1996 and was completed in January 1998.


A member of the NAWCC, James Storrow, said, “It was an honor to work on that beautiful clock, Don. Nothing had to be replaced. It was just really, really filthy. Pigeons had gotten into the tower and had been nesting there for 50 years or more. Some had even laid eggs in the machinery, but the machinery was in really fine shape. The greatest amount of work was in restoring or replacing the dials, frames for the dials and the clock hands. And, of course, cleaning the place up. Two of the large glass dials were broken when we started, and a third developed a crack during restoration, so we replaced all four dials with etched laminated safety glass — much stronger, considering the strong wind off the Hudson River that the tower gets. And part of the floor was rotted — that had to be fixed. But the machinery itself — it needed nothing except cleaning.”


The clock is wound by turning a crank located on the third floor of the tower beneath the open balcony where the bells are located. A long metal rod runs from the clockworks on the third floor through the fourth, or bell floor, to the four clock faces on the fifth floor of the tower. The clock must be wound once a week.


Three different machines have to be wound separately to complete the winding of the clock — one that controls the striking mechanism, one that is, in effect, the “brain” of the clock, and one that is the clock’s “muscle.” The total time it takes to wind the clock is about 20 minutes — and that’s 20 energetic minutes.


Fasoldt made pocket watches as well as tower clocks, and there are about 550 known to exist. And a very few private collectors and museums have examples of Fasoldt regulator clocks. But the tower clocks are the real rarity, There are only four Fasoldt tower clocks still in existence, and the church tower in Newburgh is the only one that has a Fasoldt clock as it was originally installed — still in its original tower and in working order.


Horology is the science of clock-making, and Christopher Bailey, the horologist at the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, Conn., has called Charles Fasoldt “a genius ... whose work has not been surpassed.” The NAWCC brochure “Notes on the Fasoldt Tower Clock,” to which I owe much of the information in this article, refers to a clock authority who spoke of Fasoldt as “the man who never did the same thing twice.”


In a way, I suppose a true genius is just that ?someone who never does the same thing twice. Someone to whom the joy of creating is in the discovery, not in the result.


Newburgh has had its share of genius: Downing, Vaux, Niven, A.J. Davis, Withers, Estabrook, all of whom were leaders of 19th-century architecture and landscape, and now we have Charles Fasoldt, a genius of horology.


Newburgh isn’t exactly top-heavy with examples of genius as we wander into the 21st century — the recent attempt to use Newburgh as a transfer point for New York City garbage, the destruction of the Rogers Mansion and the ongoing squabbling among our city officials prove that. But I hope that we at least have the intelligence to protect and preserve what the city has as a result of the genius of our past — the Dutch Reformed Church, the old Courthouse, a wide variety of beautiful residences, the Robinson Egyptian Tomb, and an excellent array of top-quality 19th-century church architecture. And the Fasoldt Clock.


Maintenance is the key to survival. Whether it’s buildings or clocks or the environment, if we don’t care for our treasures, we’ll lose them. And if we’re foolish enough to lose Newburgh’s wonderful treasures, then we never deserved them in the first place.

Don Herron

_________________
Jon "the truth" Hanson
Founder and President of Chapter 149--the leading horological collectors' club!
American Horologe Co -- America's Most Respected Name
SUPPORT ETHICAL PRACTICES IN HOROLOGY--Keep watches original--DO NOT SWITCH, PART OUT OR "CREATE" PW abortions!
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:36 am Reply with quote
KennyHabeeb
Chapter Member
Joined: 22 Jan 2015
Posts: 962




Excellent article. I see that two Fasoldt watches will be up at auction shortly. He's on my radar now.

KH
View user's profile Send private message
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:38 pm Reply with quote
Neilywatch
Chapter Member
Joined: 16 Oct 2010
Posts: 4943




KennyHabeeb wrote:
Excellent article. I see that two Fasoldt watches will be up at auction shortly. He's on my radar now.

KH


Which Auction is that? I just like to look, not to buy!

_________________
Neil - Crazy for Walthams!
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:09 pm Reply with quote
KennyHabeeb
Chapter Member
Joined: 22 Jan 2015
Posts: 962




Someone here with the means to bid on those two lots might not like me to reveal that, so I probably shouldn't. The auction is not in the 'States.

-- auction hound ;}
View user's profile Send private message
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:34 pm Reply with quote
Jon
Chapter President
Joined: 02 Dec 2002
Posts: 24887
Location: Boston, Ma




Hong Kong for one

_________________
Jon "the truth" Hanson
Founder and President of Chapter 149--the leading horological collectors' club!
American Horologe Co -- America's Most Respected Name
SUPPORT ETHICAL PRACTICES IN HOROLOGY--Keep watches original--DO NOT SWITCH, PART OUT OR "CREATE" PW abortions!
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:19 pm Reply with quote
interstatetime
Chapter Officer
Joined: 03 Dec 2002
Posts: 3101
Location: Indiana




Jon,

Thanks for posting Don's article. What a great read. I am going to have to see this clock.

_________________
John Cote (Member #105)
Membership Chairman - Ch-149
Past President - Ch-18
http://www.interstatetime.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
magnificent clock at Newburgh
WORLDWIDE Chapter 149 Message Board Forum Index » The Watch Collectors' Journal
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You cannot download files in this forum
All times are GMT - 6 Hours  
Page 1 of 1  

  
  
 Post new topic  Reply to topic  


Contact Us
©2006 NAWCC Chapter 149 "Early American Watch Club". OWNER.
FREE Web Hosting and Web Design provided by Web Horology

Powered by phpBB © 2001-2004 phpBB Group
phpBB Style by Vjacheslav Trushkin