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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
December 13, 1922

First of Seven Structures, Gifts of Fifth Avenue Association, to Be Unveiled Tomorrow.


Dedicatory Exercises With Military Escort Will Follow Luncheon at Biltmore.

Big bronze bells in the new traffic signal towers being installed along Fifth Avenue will toll the hours, according to an announcement made yesterday by the Fifth Avenue Association, which will formally present to the Mayor and Board of Estimate and Apportionment at Forty-second Street and Fifth Avenue tomorrow afternoon at 2 o'clock the first of seven permanent towers which will govern traffic on the avenue.  The master tower on Forty-second Street will be put into operation immediately after its dedication and unveiling.  The towers are the gift of the Fifth Avenue Association.

The dedicatory exercises will follow a luncheon to be given at the Hotel Biltmore to the Mayor, Board of Estimate, and the Commissioners of Plant and Structures, Public Works, and Water Supply, Gas and Electricity by the Fifth Avenue Association, which will be represented by its officers, Directors and members of its Traffic Towers Committee.

From the luncheon the city officials and representatives of the association, under military and naval escort, will go to the corner of Forty-second Street and Fifth Avenue for the dedication of the first of the traffic towers to replace those erected and operated at the expense of Dr. John A. Harriss, Special Deputy Police Commissioner in charge of traffic, also a Director of the Fifth Avenue Association.  The towers given by the Fifth Avenue Association will replace five put up by Dr. Harriss, and two additional will be erected on new sites at Twenty-sixth and Fourteenth Streets in order to extend the electric signal system the entire length of Fifth Avenue from Washington Square northward.

The towers were designed by Joseph H. Freedlander and are being cast by the John Polachek Bronze and Iron Company of Long Island City.  Commenting on the new ornamental towers, Mr. Polachek said:

"I believe that these towers represent the largest bronze order in the history of the business.  Each tower weighs approximately five tons and is built of solid cast bronze on a heavy steel frame.  Each tower will stand about twenty-four feet above the pavement level and will be so constructed as to withstand every possible weather condition."

William J. Pedrick, General Manager of the Fifth Avenue Association, in describing further the equipment of the towers, said:

"Each tower will be equipped with electrical synchronized clocks on the north and south faces and 350-pound bronze bells will toll the hours.  The electrical equipment is intricate, and in each tower the materials and labor of installation are equivalent to what would be necessary to wire a twenty-room house."

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