Old Main clocks removed for restoration

July 22, 2011

University Park, Pa. -- The clock in the Old Main bell tower is getting a facelift – or, more precisely, four facelifts. The clock, with a face on each side of the bell tower, was presented to the University by the class of 1904 and was salvaged from the first Old Main and installed in the new Old Main. Over the past 107 years, all of the glass has cracked and broken and must now be replaced.

The renovation project will replace the broken glass and hands, and will reuse the original cast iron frames with its Roman numerals. As much of the glass as possible will be salvaged and archived. New Vibrations Audio and Video, the company that restored the Old Main bell in 2009-10, is doing the restoration of the Old Main clocks.

The restored faces will be custom-laminated glass. The original clock mechanism will be replaced with a new automated system controlled remotely by the Office of Physical Plant to ensure all four faces display the correct time.

In addition, a new bell-ringing carillon system will be installed and will play a digital recording of the original Old Main bell along with bells of similar tonal quality. When the Old Main bell was restored, the sounds of the bell being rung were digitally recorded so that the original ringing of the bell could be heard again.

The restoration of the clocks will be complete in mid-October. The project will cost an estimated $115,000, and is being funded by the Office of Physical Plant’s Major Maintenance Program.

For photos, visit http://live.psu.edu/flickrset/72157627256006852 online.

  • Nathan Crook, left, and Brian Michaels bring the final Old Main clock face inside the Old Main bell tower on Penn State's University Park campus on Friday, July 22, as Jeff Lockard steadies it from the outside. For more photos, click on the image above.

    IMAGE: Annemarie Mountz
Last Updated July 27, 2011