Digital clock from 1933 weighed 15,000 Lbs

Check out this 15,000 pound belt-driven "digital clock" from the December, 1933 ish of Popular Science:
Moving numerals, three feet high, will tell Londoners the time when a monster clock now under construction in one of this British city’s railroad stations is completed. The big timepiece is believed the largest without hands ever built. Three endless belts of steel slats, driven by an electric motor, carry the numbers past a rectangular window high on the station wall where they are made visible. Each numeral is outlined by silvered disks of reflecting material, and floodlights play upon the figures to make them show up clearly at a distance. The movement of the belts is governed automatically from a control panel with an extremely accurate master clock, which in turn is constantly regulated from the observatory at Greenwich. The steel roller on which the hour numerals are shown is thirty-seven feet long and the blinds weigh about 15,000 pounds.
Link (via Watchismo)


  1. Is this why we have finally converted from analog to digital completely across the board in the last year or so? Just kidding…. That was an awesome invention in 1933 and it shows how difficult it has been to improve on gadgets in the digital realm. I take my hat off to inventors. Thank you for making my life a lot easier.

  2. What’s really intriguing is that although modern digital clocks are more accurate than analog clocks, this “digital” clock is being driven from an analog clock.

    If you look carefully in the original photograph, you can see an analog clock on the control panel, presumably the source time from which the digital time is determined.

    I’d love to see them try to re-set this thing. Or, for that matter, any photos or video of it when it was actually installed.

  3. Look at all of the technicians! Suit coats & ties or those great ‘Mr. Science’ lab-coats and yet again, ties. What a dress code. I remember the IBM technicians in the 80’s & early 90’s having that dress code. They would show up in the office in a coat and tie to fix the 5150…

    Ah, the good old days!

  4. I would love to have a wall clock version of this for my house including small scientists and engineers to maintain it and talk in 1950s talk. “hey there Jerry hows the old girl running today, have any problems with them newfangled steal gears?” “Naw Clyde shes running just swell, just swell I say”. I can’t wait for bonsai humans.

  5. Great advances in miniaturization were made the following year, when a wristwatch version weighing only 300 pounds was offered for sale.

  6. any idea which ‘british city’s railroad station’ this was/is in ? (assuming it was ever installed)

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