Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Steam Clock


This steam powered clock is posted at the Canal entrance 
of the Indiana State Museum. It was percolatin'
along when I walked by, but the whistles did not play while I was there.
Damn! I wanted pictures of it spewing as it sang its greeting.


This from the plaque on its base:
"The Indiana Steam Clock was designed for the
Indiana State Museum by horologist Raymond L. Saunders.
... [The] clock is made of stainless steel, with brass trim,
is 17 feet high, and weighs 1.5.tons. High pressure steam,
that heats the museum, is reduced to 20 PSI for the 8 brass whistles.
The steam whistles play 'Back Home Again in Indiana' on the 
quarter hourThe four clock dials are operated by the weight driven
mechanism which has a 'pinwheel' escapement and is wound
by an electric motor and loop chain system.
A model of the Earth, rotating at 3RPM, is illuminated
by a miniature 'sun' lamp."


Below is a short video of the clock playing its tune.
There were others, all of which sounded worse.
I think the clock needs some attention paid to it as
I've heard it sound better.


7 comments:

dive said...

Woohoo! That is so cool, Speedway. A beautifully made work of art that is totally bonkers. Every city should have one.

Valladolid Daily Photo said...

A very interesting post. I knew nothing about steam clocks.

Speedway said...

Yeh, it is cool. I just wish it sounded better in its videos. It's a beautifully done piece.

I added a couple links for more info about steam clocks since I first posted these photos this morning. I would like to know more about the clock's maker, Raymond Saunders, but there isn't much on line.

f1f368ee-9cda-11e0-87da-000bcdcb471e said...

I am sorry Saunders did not program in the Indiana State Song ("Banks of the Wabash")for the entrance to the Indiana State Museum, instead of its popular knock-off.

Speedway said...

I like "Banks of the Wabash" because of its association with my home town, Terre Haute, which is on the Wabash River. Paul Dresser and his younger brother, Theodore Dreiser, were also from TH.

indianastatemuseum said...

You are correct that the steam clock still needs some more calibration. It is a plumbing issue and we may need to have Mr. Saunders himself come down to fix it, which is costly and has not been in our budget. Sadly, it is slightly off key at times...but still compelling!

Speedway said...

Hello, ISM, and thank you for chiming in. I'd heard the clock before and knew it could sound great, but was dismayed that it sounded both weak and off-key.

I'd looked for more information on-line about Mr. Saunders and his work, but found virtually none. Does he have a website?