Allen-Bradley Clock Tower - Atlas Obscura

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Allen-Bradley Clock Tower

Rockwell Automation Headquarters

This was once the largest four-sided clock in the world (yes, even bigger than Big Ben).  

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The Allen-Bradley Clock Tower is a historic landmark located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Standing 283 feet tall, the clock tower was dedicated on Halloween Eve in 1962. For 38 years,  it was the largest four-sided clock in the world until 2010 when a clock in Saudi Arabia surpassed it. It is located at the Rockwell Automation world headquarters, formerly the Allen-Bradley Company. Another tower on a neighboring building on the campus displays the current temperature.

The clocktower features four illuminated clock faces, each 40 feet in diameter, and each face is powered independently and is run by a system of gears and motors. The Allen-Bradley Clock Tower has an hour hand that is 15.8 feet long and weighs 490 pounds and a minute hand that is 20 feet long and weighs 550 pounds. The hour markings are 4 feet high.

The clock tower has become an iconic symbol of Milwaukee. It holds a special place in the city’s lore, and its top-floor bar has drawn visits from such personalities as Vice President George Bush, Sr., and actor Paul Newman. It was even once referred to as the “Polish Moon,” as it once stood tall over a predominantly Polish section of the city.

Additionally, the tower serves as a navigational beacon. It’s visible from all over the city, and it’s reported that one can see the clock tower on Lake Michigan from nearly 50 miles away on clear days. It can also be seen from Holy Hill, 30 miles northwest of the city. Visitors can sometimes tour the clock tower and learn about its history and significance to the city during the annual Doors Open Milwaukee event. The tower remains an integral part of the Milwaukee skyline and a testament to the city’s industrial heritage.

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