E. Howard Clock Company. Boston Massachusetts. The Model No. 89. Railroad Regulator. Fitted up on June 6th, 1905.

The E. Howard Clock Company claimed that Railroad Regulators are, as a rule, subjected to more exposure to the changes of weather than almost any other regulator in use, and it is important that they be as accurate and reliable as those in service in less exposed positions. The construction of this oak cased example is designed to have minimal effect due to changes as expansion, contraction and wrapping, caused by wet and dry, warm and cold weather. These changes of elements will have little effect on the clock’s time-keeping ability. This model was specially designed for commercial applications and was used extensively by jewelers, watchmakers and train dispatchers. It was advertised by the E. Howard firm as ."… the best regulator value on the market."

This model was first introduced in January of 1888 when 68 clocks were ordered by the Erie Railroad. These clocks were to be set up in the stations that were on their New York Line, the Erie, PA Line and the Western Railroad Line. At first they were referred to as "Erie Regulators." The name changed in July of 1888 when they were referred to as the "No. 89."

The model 89’s ability to keep very good time was tested in August of 1889. The ten regulators were tested and observed. They were located on the following railroad line that included the Buffalo, B. & S. W., the Niagara Falls division of the New York line, The Lake Erie line and Western Railroads. These ten clocks had an average variation from the mean of only 8.9 seconds over the period of one months time. The greatest variation was measured at 24 seconds. A clock located in the Wabash Station in Moberly, Missouri ran 18 days right on time and 30 days with only three seconds of variation. A clock at the Union Depot in Cleveland, Ohio ran 16 weeks with an extreme variation of only 3 seconds in any one week. As a result, it has developed a reputation of being a very sound time keeper.

This is a good example and has evidence of having a long life in a commercial application. The backboard has had numerous holes drilled through it. Many of which have now been filled. The holes suggest that the clock was moved and remounted several times in its history. The case is constructed in oak. Most of which features a quarter sawn grain pattern which is fiery and lively. The recent refinished promotes the features of the grain. The case design incorporates a number of decorative details in its construction including the used of long reeded moldings and turned finials. The large door, located on the front of the case, is fitted with a large piece of clear glass. Through this door, one can view the painted 12 inch diameter zinc dial which is signed by the Maker in block lettering. It features Roman hour numerals and a subsidiary seconds dial. The area inside the seconds ring is cut out so one can view part of the brass mechanism. This dial is trimmed with an oak bezel or ring and mounts directly to the movement via four posts in a design that does not allow it to come in contact with the case. The pendulum rod is made of seasoned cherry. This rod supports the large brass covered bob that is filled with zinc for compensation. The brass facing is decorated with an intricate engine turned design. The Clockmaker’s setup label can be found in the bottom of the case. It is now protected in plastic.

The weight driven movement is very good quality. It is framed with two large brass rectangular shaped plates. The front plate is die-stamped by the Maker in the upper left hand corner. There is also evidence that this clock was fitted with a electrical contact at one time. The great wheel is engraved on the inside with the following information. "Fitted up by / C. A. Hinckley / June 6th, 1905." The movement is designed to run for eight-days on a single wind. It features a Graham dead-beat escapement and maintaining power. The movement is wound with a crank key. A Geneva Stop prevents one from over winding this clock. The weight falls directly below the movement. It is hidden from view by the wooden channel constructed inside the case.

This is a large and impressive looking clock. The case measures 66 inches long by 19 and 5/8 inches wide and 6 and 7/8 inches deep. It was made circa 1905.


About Edward Howard of Boston, Massachusetts.

The E. Howard & Company succeeded the Howard & Davis firm in 1857. The Howard and Davis firm was comprised of Edward Howard and David P. Davis and was established in 1842. Both men served their clock apprenticeship under the guidance of Aaron Willard Jr in Boston. The Howard & Davis firm made high-grade clocks, precision balances, sewing machines, fire engines, watches. After the dissolution of Howard and Davis, Edward Howard became Boston’s leading manufacturer of weight-driven residential, commercial, and tower clocks. Howard also sold a large number of watchman and salve clock systems. These sold well in the late 1800s.

It has been said that the E. Howard Clock company never made an inexpensive clock, and everything they made was of very good quality. As a result, Howard clocks have become very collectible and are prized by their owners. Today, the E. Howard clock name enjoys outstanding name recognition.

For a more in-depth reading of Edward Howard and his various businesses, please read “Willard’s Patent Time Pieces” written by Paul Foley.


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