When Green Mountain College's facilities director Glenn LaPlante
made a routine inspection of the College's Ames Tower a few weeks
ago, he made a startling discovery. Carefully scratching away paint
on the surface of the east side of the cupola, he discovered not an
ornamental wooden panel but a pane of glass.
The next day LaPlante made another visit to the tower on a
hydraulic lift-this time, equipped with a paint scraper. In a
matter of minutes he carefully removed a layer of white paint which
had obscured a glass clock face for about 50 years.
"It was like peeling back a layer of time, so to speak," said
LaPlante. "The face of the clock is in excellent condition."
LaPlante recently repainted the cupola dome and was assessing
necessary repairs to the tower when he made the discovery.
The College invited Joe Duffy of Poultney to inspect the clock.
Duffy and his brother Christopher operate Church Specialties, a
business concentrating on church bell and clock tower restoration.
Duffy determined the clock, a Telechron model, could be made
operable again with a new motor. The cost to repair the clock is
estimated to be $3700.
No one in town or at the College can recall precisely when the
clock was obscured. Photo records reveal the clock face was visible
as late as 1956-photos dating after 1961 show it painted over.
The Telechron company was established by the inventor Henry
Warren in Ashland, Mass. in 1912. He specialized in battery powered
clocks until 1915 when he invented a self-starting synchronous
motor consisting of a rotor and coil. When Warren retired in 1943,
General Electric gradually absorbed the business. Clocks labeled
"Telechron" or "General Electric" were both made in the Ashland,
Mass. factory. Photos of Ames tower taken shortly after the
building dedication in 1908 show a clock was in the tower. But the
Telechron clock must have been installed at a later date.
At noon on June 28 LaPlante removed the clock from the
tower-Duffy transported it to Massachusetts on Friday, June 29 for