New Boston Historical Society
New Boston, New Hampshire
New Boston Town Hall
The Town Hall ClockIf you live within a mile of the village center, and you listen very carefully on a clear, cold night, you may hear the Town Hall clock ring the hour.
When our Town Hall was rebuilt after the Fire of 1887, it did not have a clock at first (see photo to the left). A ladies' group called the "New Century Club" raised $750 for a clock to be installed in time for New Boston's 150th anniversary, celebrated in 1913. The clock mechanism was made by the E. Howard Clock Company, and the big bell was cast in Troy, New York.
One hundred years later the clock still keeps good time. We went upstairs to see the clock mechanism, which is the machine that counts the minutes — we did not dare go higher to visit the bell and the four clock faces.
On our way upstairs, we passed an old ticket booth. The second floor of the Town Hall once served as a theater for plays and movies; later it was a lunchroom and gymnasium for Central School students. It is now used by the Joe English Grange for their meetings.
Left: Our ticket-taker was Jim Federer, the town's official clockwinder. Right: The pendulum!
E. Howard of Boston MA was one of two famous "tower clock" makers; Seth Thomas was the other.
The reddish wood pole in the left-hand photo is the top of the long pendulum.
The big paddles whirl around when the hour is struck; you can adjust them to make the bell ring more quickly.
The cable in front of Jim's nose goes upstairs to the bell.
Jim talked Mary into winding the bell-ringer mechanism for him.
The plywood hour and minute hands on each of the four clock faces can be adjusted independently if moved by ice or wind. Jim cannot see the hands when he is inside the clock tower, so he communicates with an assistant down below by shouting loudly. The assistant is often Jim's son Jay Federer, the apprentice clockwinder, who is learning all of Jim's secrets about maintaining this historic clock.
At 3 o'clock, the machinery makes so much noise that you can't hear the big bell which is just overhead.