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Day 73 (11.13.07) - Christmas & More Clocks

We finally left Gettysburg, drove through a small town of New Oxford, then visited another Clock Museum in Columbia.

sunny 65 °F


Miles Driven - 90
Weather - Sunny & Warm (mid 60's, but for November?)
Camped at Hershey Thousand Trails RV Park (yes, again we have gone in a circle)


I again was having delusions about visiting Philadelphia, so decided to drive back up to Hershey, thinking I'd rent a car, drive RT to Philly, then head south from there. It had rained hard all night, so we weren't expecting a very nice day, but as the day wore on the weather got nicer and nicer until it was more like spring then November.

The first place we stopped was in a small town called New Oxford. I saw a few old railroad cars by the road and a really cute little train depot. It looks like it is probably set up as a museum or a model train club meeting house, but it was closed so I couldn't really tell.


Right next door to this however was a Christmas Shop. We have been trying to avoid doing things that are just as easy to do back home, but it looked pretty interesting so we went on inside. The shop owner specializes in only christmas supplies and ornaments made in Germany. He had a lot of beautiful and interesting things, but what really caught Mom's attention was they way they made things out of wood. The tree cost $10/cm however, so Mom will just have to put a picture of it up for Christmas.


Knowing I wouldn't have time to make ornaments for folks this year, I bought some suitable Christmas Card stuff and we got back on the road. We had decided to take the scenic route today and enjoy some of the Pennsylvania countryside since up until now we'd been using highways to get to specific cities quickly. Southeastern PA is quite different that Western PA, which we drove through some time ago to visit Pittsburgh. In this area of PA, we saw a lot more farm country like this:


After crossing the Susquehanna river again at Columbia, we realized we were only a couple of blocks from another clock museum, "The National Watch & Clock Museum". While we'd already visited one, I thought we might as well check this one out also since it was right there. I liked the one in CT better, Mom liked this one better, so I guess different styles just appeal to different people. This one clearly has better funding. It has also built a "School of Horology" where students can learn traditional watch and clock making. (Horology is the study of Time and Timekeeping).


I learned a few more things about clocks (they explained this at the first museum, but sometimes it takes me a couple of times). In mechanical clocks, there are three basic components:

(1) A source of energy to power the clock. For 'tallcase' clocks, or grandfather clocks, this is a series of weights. Chains and pulley's allowed the weights to pull the clock for a fairly long time. In watches and smaller clocks, this was often accomplished by winding a spring.

(2) An 'escapement' - or a way to control how the energy is released (or 'escapes'). Various gears and lever's are used to prevent all the energy from being released at once and control the speed of the clock.

(3) Regulation. Pendulum's swing at a constant rate and are a good way to control the release of energy and also give clocks their characteristic tick-tock.

This museum also had a 'Monumental' clock called the "Engle Clock", completed in 1876. These were popular in the late 1800's as form of entertainment - you had to pay 25 cents to see this one. It was also the inspirition for the clock that we saw in the Hershey Museum.


Personally, I prefer the chimes and functionality of the grandfather clocks. But I guess if you lived in 1880 and didn't have radio or TV, this would be pretty interesting.

This clock museum also has a Jeweler's Shop exhibit to show how people purchased watches and clocks around the turn of the century and the types of products available to them.


So now having visited two clock museums, I think we're probably ready to clock out. (OK, who says I don't have a sense of humor?)

After leaving the clock museum, Mom wanted to look for a glass factory that was also in Columbia. We had a little trouble finding our way around, but finally located it in the middle of a block of row houses (as in it was in the alley, not on the streets). The Susquehanna Glass Factory does give tours, but wasn't doing so this week since they were having a big sale (20% off everything in the store). They had a lot of beautiful, but not cheap, cut glass - I indulged in a couple of pink wine glasses (I'm taking odds on whether they'll make it home without breaking). Mom elected not to go into the store since only the retail shop was open.

Continuing on with our scenic route, we got lost in Millersville and found out there is a hugh university there, part of Penn State we believe (and very hard to find your way out of once you get into it). We also passed a couple of really interesting old houses. These two are connected, which seems odd since they appear to have totally different styles of construction?


It was getting late, so I decided to quite the scenic route and head back up to the RV park. We check in and called the rental car company and set up a reservation for 8 AM, thinking it would take us a couple of hours to drive to Philly (each way), leaving us about 4 hours to sightsee. Early to bed to make that 8 AM rental car appt, and again in Hershey, no good internet signal - so I put off the blog entry for a couple of days...

Posted by jl98584 18:44 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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