In 1881, William Hadwen Starbuck presented the Town of Nantucket with an E. Howard No. 3 flatbed striking clock. Manufactured by the E. Howard Watch & Clock Co. of Boston, it was installed in the tower of the Unitarian Church and began operating on May 28, 1881. It powered the four clock faces of the south Tower and the church’s familiar bell, 52 chimes, three times a day, until 1957, when the dials were electrified.
The Howard clock was donated by the Town to the NHA in April 1972 and was moved to the Peter Foulger Museum. It was restored in 2004–2005 to be installed in the glass-enclosed three-story stairwell of the Whaling Museum for its grand reopening in 2005, a location that displays the clock and its intricate mechanism in full view. Today, from the lobby to the museum’s rooftop belvedere, visitors can closely observe the clockworks chime the hours.
Banner photograph by Peter Vanderwarker, 2005.