Tuesday, March 10, 2009

USS New Ironsides Engine Room Clock

Currently on display in our Civil War gallery is the engine room clock from the ironclad USS New Ironsides. The clock face is silver and the numbers and script were hand etech into the metal. Notice how the clock says "USS Ironsides." That was the original name of the ship until somebody decided that the public might confuse her with "Old Ironsides" a.k.a. the frigate Constitution. Thus her name was changed. The clock maker apparently decided he had already put enough hard work into it and kept the original name.

The clock was restore by a museum volunteer and it does work if properly wound. It uses four small precious stones (two clear sapphires, a diamond, and a ruby) to keep the gears running accurately. As it was hardwired to the engine, the clock also kept track of the number of revolutions the ship's shaft spun (the number "1862" is the counter). By looking at the clock and the shaft speed, an engineer could tell how fast his ship was moving.

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