The Kaufmann's Clock
Kaufmann's flagship store in downtown Pittsburgh was built in 1887 on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Smithfield Street. It soon became known as "The Big Store."
Attached to the corner of the building at Smithfield Street and Fifth Avenue is a device that has been informing people walking around Pittsburgh the precise time of day for over a hundred years. The Kaufmann’s clock and is an architectural masterpiece, providing all who see it with both the time and a unique art experience.
The clock has always been a well-known spot in the downtown area for people to meet before doing other things. "Meet me under the Kaufmann's Clock" became a common phrase for those who live in and around Pittsburgh. Begrudglingly known as the Macy's Clock since the store changed ownership in 2006, the clock continued to be a popular meeting place.
The present Kaufmann’s Clock was designed to replace the four-faced one that stood on a post located outside the building at the corner of Smithfield and Fifth Avenue beginning in 1884 (shown above in 1912). The current bronze clock, all 2500 pounds of it, was designed by the Coldwell Clock Company of New York and was installed in 1913.
Sixty-eight years later, in 1981, the bronze ornamental Kaufmann’s clock and the department store building received landmark status from the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. The clock was refurbished in 1987 at a cost of $30,000 by the Pittsburgh Clock Company.
After Macy's was sold in 2015, the clock became the possession of Core Realty, who promised to retain the clock outside the building during any planned renovation of the structure. Whatever the building becomes, whether a commercial or apartment complex, it is safe to say that the timepiece once again goes by it's original name, the "Kaufmann's Clock."
<Historical Facts> <> <Brookline History>