Designed and built by Canadian horologist Raymond L. Saunders and located in Vancouver BC, Canada, the Gastown Steam Clock is the world's first steam powered clock and a must see for those in love with city clocks and horology. Situated at the northeast corner of Water Street and Cambie Street, this beautiful clock whistles the Westminster chimes every quarter hour and a single whistle every hour. One of the few steam powered clocks in the world, the antique-looking Gastown Steam Clock was inaugurated only 40 years ago on September 24th, 1977. Canadian clockmaker who has designed and built more than 150 customized clocks that mainly serve as tourist-attracting public artworks
Fully powered by a steam engine with a clock mechanism that includes a falling ball drive —engineered by Douglas L. Smith— and a chain system, the Gastown Steam Clock features five whistles at the top and weights over two tons. Every four and a half minutes, one steel weight —a 3" ball like those inside ball bearings— will travel by steam power to the top of the clock's mechanism and then fall all the way down to engage the gears and chain system keeping time with precision.
Never running out of steam as the supply comes from underground by the Central Heat Distributors Ltd. —a private district heating company in Vancouver that provides heat to the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, B.C. Place and GM Place amongst others—, the Gastown Steam Clock is now a key element within the wide array of sounds that fill the streets of one of the most important districts in this Canadian city.
Next time you are in Vancouver, make sure you stop by the Gastown Steam Clock and get ready to be marveled by its steam powered mechanism and its loud whistles blowing the Westminster chime.