Steward Delaney’s New Clock

“A very valuable Howard clock has recently been placed in the Steward’s office. It is regulated by Ladd Observatory standard time, and is thus kept as near correct as possible. The clock is connected with the bell-ringer’s room, so that now the college bell will be rung at exactly the right time, doing away with the nuisance and inconvenience often caused last year by the bell being rung too soon.”

“In appearance the clock is very attractive. The case is of handsome oak, and is about three and one-half feet high. It will undoubtedly be a great convenience to the students and will be used by many for regulating their own time pieces.”

– “Steward Delaney’s New Clock.” Brown Daily Herald, September 30, 1895

Archibald G. Delaney, 1884
Steward Delaney in his office, circa 1884. This photograph was taken before the new clock was installed.

Ladd Observatory placed an order on behalf of Brown University for one #89 Regulator on Sept. 13, 1895 . The clock was manufactured by E. Howard & Co. at a cost of $100 and was shipped to Providence on Sept. 25 where it was installed in the office of the Steward. The position of Steward was held by Archibald Grant Delaney from 1884-1904. His office was 1 University Hall. A telegraph break circuit connected the clock to the college bell in the tower of the building. It was regulated to the correct time by comparing it to the precision timepieces at the Observatory.

Prior to this a student was employed to ring the college bell, a practice that began in 1792. One student who earned his way through college as a bell-ringer was Nathan Bishop, class of 1837.

Nathan Bishop
Nathan Bishop (1808-1880)

“He rang the college bell, and received pay for that. Unable, as he himself told me, to own a watch, President Wayland loaned him one, in order that he might fill the position. ‘Go to my house,’ said the president, when he found the young man lacked a timepiece, ‘and tell Mrs. Wayland to give you the old English watch, which lies in the top bureau drawer.’ He did so, and thus received the appointment of bell-ringer. If richer students laughed, that made no difference to him. They who laughed are unheard of to-day. God seldom honors those who ridicule His struggling children.”

– Rev. J. B. Simmons, “Memorial Service for Nathan Bishop.” The Sunday Magazine, February, 1881

Bishop went on to become superintendent of public schools in Providence and then in Boston.

Howard #89 Regulator
The movement of the restored #89 Regulator during installation at Ladd. The wires at top left were once connected to the college bell at University Hall.

The #89 Regulator was eventually moved to Ladd Observatory and it has recently been restored. It no longer has the break circuit but the wires can still be seen inside the case. The college bell at University Hall is now automated.

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