Clocks and Clock Towers
The 24-hour Greenwich Royal Observatory Clock at Shepherd's Gate built in 1851 was the world's first electric clock It is accurate to within a small fraction of a second and marks the zero line (longitude) for the world's time zones (Greenwich Mean Time). However, it is inside the walls of the observatory and a visitor to Greenwich has to climb to the top of the observatory to read it. The Greenwich Clock Tower, by contrast, displays a 12-hour analog clock high on all four sides of the column and can be seen from many points in the city. It isn't much to look at in that it is purely functional. This will come as a shock to those who somehow got the idea that Greenwich was a district of London and thought that the Greenwich Clock Tower was another name for the magnificent clock tower in the Palace of Westminster at Westminster Station that houses Big Ben, the bell inside of the tower. It is an easy mistake to make for anyone who hasn't been to London. Even when you know the difference between the three clocks, it is difficult to think of one without thinking of the others.
It is probably no coincidence that an English author, H.G. Wells, wrote The Time Machine. It is
certainly no coincidence that filmmakers use the sight and sound of the Palace of Westminster Clock Tower in London like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
to give their productions an immediate sense of place.
The Palace of Westminster Clock remained the largest four-faced clock in the world until Halloween 1962 when the Allen-Bradley Clock Tower, twice its size, was dedicate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Big Ben, by the way, was cracked by a hammer that was twice as heavy as the Whitechapel manufacturer of the bell specified. Milwaukee is where Hammerin' Hank Aaron played baseball for the Braves and the Brewers. Milwaukee is also the former home town of Michael McClinton, the Las Vegas resident since 1992 who owned both guns that were brought into a Palace Station Hotel room on September 17, 2008. --Jasper