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Announcement in the Franklin Museum Journal

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This announcement is the one that appeared in the Franklin Institute Journal August 1899 regarding the Frick Electric Program Clock.


of the




Electric Program Clock - Frederick Frick, Waynesboro, Pa.

ABSTRACT - The invention is patented to applicant by letters-patent of the United States, No. 534,948, March 19, 1895 and No. 551,375, December 17, 1895.

The purpose of the invention is the production of efficient mechanism by means of which certain predetermined signals may be automatically brought into action, by electrical devices, at times and places desired. This is useful especially in schools, colleges and institutions, in announcing time for studies, recreation, rising, retiring, etc., and for analogous service in manufacturing and business establishments, where regularity is a necessity, according to a prearranged program.

The mechanism consists of a clock or timepiece of good construction for keeping correct time, and of a spring motor operating to revolve a disc of metal a portion of a turn at short intervals of time, the disc having a series of perforations arranged in concentric circles and in radial rows with pins fitting in certain spaces of the same, which make contact through a spring contact-piece, forming an electric current and ringing a bell or bells.

The mechanical details could not be explained without illustrations.

The report finds the meritorious features of this apparatus to consist: (1) in the relieving of the time-keeping mechanisms of almost all labor, the lifting of the lever and the operation of the starting spring being all that is required of it; (2) the substitution of a flat disc of metal to carry the pins of the program contacts, which are seen and inserted with great facility; and (3) the improved form of the calendar switch in which the pins are readily changed, and which are not in any electric circuit. These the investigators believe, constitute an advance in the art.

Also, the investigators report the satisfactory operation of these clocks in actual service, one of them having been under personal observation of one of the members of the Committee for four months, and to confirmatory evidence from a member of those having the apparatus in use. It relieves the head of the school institution of annoyance in not having signals given promptly it all the attendant confusion resulting from the want of a reliable signaling device.

The inventor is given the Edward Longstreth Medal of Merit in recognition of the merits of his program clock. [Sub-Committee-J.Logan Fitts, Louis Breitinger, Hugo Bilgram, Wm. T. Lewis]

(Note: The objects pictured above are part of The Franklin Institute's protected collection of objects. The images are The Franklin Institute. All rights are reserved.)

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