Written by Marvin Schneider, 1985
Top Photo © Jim McIntosh, February 2001
Bottom Photo © Art Koch, February 2001
More photos of 346
346 Broadway Tower
The clock was manufactured and installed by the E. Howard Clock
Company of Boston, New York and Chicago for the New York Life
Insurance Company in 1897.
Prior to 1980 the clock had not worked for at least twenty
years and had not been lighted for night-time viewing for over
It was restored, as a gift to the City of New York, by Mr.
Marvin Schneider of Brooklyn and Mr. Eric Reiner of Spring Valley,
New York. Both are New York City employees who donated their
services, working on this restoration on their lunch hours and
days off for more than one year. The New York Daily News of
December 4, 1979 described their effort:
The clock is powered purely by a weight that can be raised
either manually by usage of a large key or by a 3/4 horsepower
electric motor. In the southeast corner cabinet is located a
1,000-pound weight which powers the time keeping part of the clock
off which the four dials run. In the double-width cabinet on the
northwest side are located two 800-pound weights which provide
power to activate a 70-pound hammer which strikes on the hour.
The hammer and the bell which it strikes are located in a
chamber above the clockwork. This chamber has louvers on all four
sides which allow the sound to go out while minimizing the entry
of rain and snow. The bell, weighing 5,000 pounds, is twice the
size of the Liberty Bell. It was cast for the Howard company by
the McShane Foundry of Baltimore in 1897. On the hour one can
observe how a lever, attached to the works, pulls on a cable which
activates the hammer in the room above.
The Howard Company, in a letter dated October 25, 1895,
described the clock as a "No. 4 Striking Tower clock made
extra large and heavy in all the parts where strength and size are
required of HARD HAMMERED COMPOSITION, arbors and pinions of best
OPEN HEARTH STEEL, frame and supports of CAST IRON, disconnecting
device for the dial works arranged so that the clock can be
readily set from inside the tower, cluster gear for...dial works
properly arranged so that the clock can be used...on the Broadway
end of the building, movement with Gravity Escapement,
compensating two seconds pendulum...and a twelve foot sectional
dial with hands, shafting, shafting and all material that will be
required to set up the clock...".
The Howard Clock Company, still in business, discontinued
manufacturing and servicing of tower clocks in 1964. They did,
however, provide a replacement pilot-face and small gear located
on the works.
This clock is unusual, especially in New York City, in that it
is completely original. Many clocks, including the New York City
Hall clock and the Jefferson Market Courthouse clock, have been
electrified. The 346 Broadway clock, in its original state, still
lives up to the Howard Company’s guarantee to run accurate to
within ten seconds a month.