South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

Columbia Town Clock — Columbia, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Richland County  |  Columbia Town Clock

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Columbia Town Clock

This clock, located on the corner of Main and Hampton Streets in downtown Columbia, is just one of two very similar town clocks in our state capital. The famous Sylvan Brothers had this clock installed in front of their historic jewelry store in 1906. It was designed by the Seth Thomas Clock Company.

Columbia Town Clock

Frederick Austin of Gilbert, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Seth Thomas was an American clockmaker who apprenticed for Eli Terry in 1807 and bought Terry’s clockmaking business in 1810. In 1813 Thomas acquired another clockmaking company owned by Heman Clark. Thomas flourished in the industry, finally incorporating the Seth Thomas Clock Company in 1853. Following Seth Thomas’ death in 1859, his sons continued in their father’s business until the company merged with Western Clock Company to form General Time Instruments in 1930.

Columbia SC Town Clock

Frederick Austin of Gilbert, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The other clock, pictured below, is located just one block awayon the corner of Main and Washington Streets. Though not a Seth Thomas clock, it is nearly identical in design to its neighbor.

Town Clock Columbia Main Street

Carol Gant of Rock Hill, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Reflections on the Columbia Town Clock

Contributor Frederick Austin has seen the clock in front of Sylvan Brothers opened and manually wound: “It was neat to see all the gears and the old fashioned equipment inside of a clock that size.”

Carol Gant, who captured the photo at the bottom of the page, shares: “It was a beautiful Saturday day. A street musician was playing an electric violin. I was there with my daughter to go to the art museum.”

Add your own reflections here.

Columbia Town Clock Info

Address: Main Street, Columbia, SC 29201
GPS Coordinates: 34.006156,-81.035084

Columbia Town Clock Map

Please Share Your Thoughts!

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2 Comments about Columbia Town Clock

Arthur L. Orsi says:
August 6th, 2015 at 2:32 pm

I live in Hammonton, NJ 08037. We have a Seth Thomas Town clock built in the early 1909. It has been working fine until a few days ago. I need help to try to fix the clock. The clock will turns one way and stops and then it will turn the other way and stop. I think that there is a problem at the top where all the clock arms turn. If you can help me I would appreciate it very much.

Arthur L. Orsi

sallie says:
June 22nd, 2011 at 9:00 am

Just makes me step back in time when we shopped on Main Street. A lady from our church worked at Sylvan Brother’s.


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