John McCaskey

1888: John L. McCaskey (Scotsman) arrived in Waynesboro, Pa. to take the job as supervising principal of the new Waynesboro High School. McCaskey wanted to be able to program and set the bell schedules from his office for the individual classrooms. This same year he first displayed his “Kosmic Clock” in the jewelry store window of Abraham and Amos Frick.

1889: Applied for a patent for an electrical program clock with a program disc to ring the classroom bells was on the face of the dial.

1890: A second patent was applied for and the Electrical Signal Clock Company was formed. The clocks were in the schoolhouse style and named Autocrat, Hazel and Empress. They contained Waterbury and Seth Thomas movements.

1891: Shop and offices were located at 6th and South Church St., Waynesboro, Pa.

1893: Electric Signal Clock Co. was sold. Machinery, stock and shop rights were sold to the Landis Bros., Geiser Co. and partners from Harrisburg, Pa.

****On this application was Fred Frick’s name. Frick was helping McCaskey to improve his program time clock. The McCaskey patent flaw was the hands of the clock with the contacts on them passed over projections on the dial. Thus the clock did not keep accurate time because of the friction caused.

Examples of surviving original McCaskey clocks are rare. The National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, Pa. has a nice original example. I have in my collection a Seth Thomas “World” model schoolhouse type clock with McCaskey’s advertising in the lower tablet glass. The provenance is the clock hung in McCaskey’s office. It was a model he used to convert to a programmable clock. This example has not been converted. There is an early example of an original McCaskey schoolhouse clock in a private Waynesboro home. I restored and repaired this clock to run on time only. It still retains the original metal rings attached to the dial and the original hands with the contact points attached.

McCaskey’s personal office clock from my collection.

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