Historical clock donated to Heritage Center
LINDA KOEHLER/TIMES NEWS This old Stromberg Electric clock once hung in the Standards' lab of the New Jersey Zinc Co. since 1917 and was responsible for the noon and 4:30 p.m. whistle. It kept accurate time within a second. It is being donated to the Palmerton Historical Society (PHS) and after being refurbished will be hung at the Palmerton Area Heritage Center. On hand for the presentation was: Left to right- Ali Alavi, Vice President-Corporate Administration, General Counsel and Secretary of Horsehead Corporation, Mike Foster, Horsehead Site Manager, the clock, Robert Cuba, Horsehead consultant, George Ashman, (PHS), John Aulenbach, member of PHS's board of directors, Dr. Howard Cyr, president of PHS. Sitting, left to right is Betsy Burnhauser, PHS secretary and Jane Borbe PHS vice president.
Time marches on. Each ticking of the clock marks every moment of history. And soon, a clock with Palmerton historical value, will mark time at the Palmerton Heritage Center, thanks to the generosity of the Horsehead Corporation.
On Monday, Oct. 19, representing Horsehead, Ali Alavi, Vice President-Corporate Administration, General Counsel and Secretary, officially donated a clock that hung in the Central Lab of the New Jersey Zinc Company beginning in 1917 but is currently in the office building located at the East Plant.
"We're pleased to make this donation. This company has been an integral member of this community since the late 1800s. This antique clock has great historical value. I was not aware of that. It was just a clock on the wall. Then the Palmerton Historical Society reached out to us about it, making me aware of it's historical value to this community," said Alavi.
Robert Cuba of Lehighton began working for the company in 1967 as an electrical engineer. He advanced to plant manager to Vice President of Operations for HRD, the predecessor to Horsehead. He retired from the company nine months ago and serves as a consultant for Horsehead. He shared his knowledge of the clock with some of his friends who are members of the Palmerton Historical Society. They expressed to him their interest in obtaining the clock for the Heritage Center because of its historical value to the community. He passed on this request.
In 1917, the clock was in the Standard's Lab, where time, temperature, weight and pressure was measured for research. "The clock was tied in to the National Bureau of Standards located in Washington, D.C. It operated the noon and 4:30 p.m. whistle/siren. It was accurate to a second," said Cuba.
He assumes that the clock was built for the company circa 1917. The large wall hanging clock, about 4 1/2 feet tall by 2 1/2 feet wide, was made by Stromberg Electric Co. in Chicago, U.S.A. It has a glass door that displays a long, and still swinging, pendulum, but it was built to run on a DC battery.
"It's a very unusual combination," said Cuba.
The clock was later converted to regular electric power and was tied into all the other clocks in the company.
Dr. Howard Cyr, the president of the Palmerton Historical Society, said, "We're very grateful to get this hallmark of the company. I use to hear the sirens. My father worked in research for the company for 42 years and I remember seeing this clock as a child. We're absolutely delighted to receive it.""
A lot of people in town will also remember this clock. "When it went off at noon, it was noon,"said Cuba. Once the clock is removed, which Hager Furniture Co. has generously offered to do so, it will transport it to a clockmaker, Bradford Clocks in Weatherly, to be refurbished. It will then be transported and hung with pride in its new home at the Palmerton Area Heritage Center, located at 410 Delaware Ave.
This is landmark. We're very grateful," said Cyr.