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Grades and Classes of Clocks

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Fred Frick's Electric Program Clocks came in two Grades. Grade 1 and Grade 2. The following information is taken from an advertising brochure of Fred. Frick, MFG'R., of Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. The original document is located at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Grade 1

Grade 1 clocks were many used in schools, colleges and industry were there was a need for keeping accurate time. The brochure states that it could be taken care of by "any one of ordinary intelligence." The clock had a Graham dead beat escapement and was considered a first class regulator. Among the features stated for this grade were the durability, simplicity, precision time keeping, ease of operation in setting and changing programs and the ability to automatically change or silence the bells as required. The program apparatus was independent of the regulator and was mounted below the clock dial where it could be easily reached to set or change the programs. The program apparatus had it own power so the regulator was not impaired in its ability to keep acurate time. There were two classes of clocks that made up the Grade 1 offering: Class A and Class B.

Class A Clocks

These clocks were also called Multa-Program Clocks, could have a different program or series of bells rung in different buildings or rooms. The programs set up on these clocks would be completely independent of each other so that classes could begin and end in different parts of a school at different times as needed. Different bells or sets of bells would be placed in the areas where they would be heard.

An automatic "cut-out" would silence the bells at night or on the weekends. But, the clock's program could be set to silence the bells on any day or night of the week as needed. If the purchaser desired they could receive a hand "cut-out" which was used manually and had to be moved every morning and evening in order to silence the bells. The manual version could be placed in each teacher's room in a school if desired. In addition to the classroom or inside bells, this clock could ring large gongs on a play ground or outside area. The outside bells were set and worked independently from those which rang inside.

The programs which could be set up on these clocks would ring bells on any time period divisible by 5.

Class B clocks

These clocks were also called the Automatic Calendar Switch Clock, was used in colleges and other businesses where programs for some days and nights of the week were different from other days and nights. Programs could be set up independent of each other for any time period divisible by 5. The programs could be changed whenever the user desired and the changes would not affect any other set program. Saturdays and Sundays could be set up differently from days during the week as well. A hand switch could be furnished instead of the automatic switch. The hand switch had to be moved every day in order to keep the program advancing to the next day's settings.

For an additional cost both Class A and Class B clocks could be set up to ring bells on a time period divisible by 2 and one-half minutes so that warning signals before or after any given time could be added to the programs.

Grade 1 clocks came in key or self-winding versions. There was an extra charge for the self-winding.

Grade 1 clocks could be made to run one or more secondary clocks if needed.

Grade 1 clock cases came in two sizes, 78 inches with the seconds beat regulator or 52 inches fitted with the 80 beat regulator. All cases were solid, polished antique oak unless they were ordered in another finish.

Grade 2 Clocks

Details regarding Grade 2 Clocks were not given in the brochure. The only indication of them was in a final comment, "If interested in a cheaper grade Program Clock, write for circular and prices on Grade 2 Program Clock."

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Carla Schutte, Mike Lipinski, Susan Silverman
Gail Watson, Tammy Payton
March 2000