Allen-Bradley Clock turns 50

Rockwell Automation’s Allen-Bradley Clock Tower will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Oct. 31.

The Milwaukee landmark, nicknamed the Polish Moon for the south side’s historic Polish community, is the largest four-faced clock in North America. Until recently, it was the largest four-faced clock in the world.

The clock was designed by architect Fitzhugh Scott in 1959 and dedicated in 1962 as part of a research building addition across the street from the main plant at Allen-Bradley’s global headquarters in the city’s Walker’s Point neighborhood.

Harry Bradley, one of Allen-Bradley’s founders, asked for the enormous clock to be included so his employees could read it from home, according to the company. It also served as a neighborhood clock and as a beacon for sailors.

Rockwell International purchased Allen-Bradley in 1985, but the clock kept the Allen-Bradley name.

In preparation for its big birthday, the clock has been frozen for a few façade touch ups since June 7. It is expected to be telling time again in late October.

The 17-story clock tower, which has a panoramic observation deck at the top, has undergone a few tweaks but has never experienced a facelift this extensive, said Darice Brown, external communications manager for Rockwell.

Rising 280 feet from street level, the clock weighs 2,672 pounds. The hour-hand is 15 feet, 9 inches long, and weighs 490 pounds, while the minute-hand is 20 feet long and weighs 530 pounds.

“There’s nothing wrong with the clock, it was just time for refurbishing and we just want to ensure that this clock survives for another 50 years,” Brown said.

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