Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Sometimes, Time Does Stand Still

We’ve all heard about the long history of Murray Premises – the building but sometimes we forget that along with the building, there’s a long history of businesses that have operated here.  People who showed up at the door each and every morning, ready to put in a full days’ work.  

Occasionally, little things stand out as reminders though.  The other day, I was in a guest room and happened to glance at one of the beams and noticed that some counting hash marks were engraved into the wood – four vertical lines with a slash mark across the middle.  Rumour has it that this was a typical method of counting fish in the A.H. Murray Company was operating right down on the harbour.  

I wonder if any of you could guess what this is?  

A couple of years ago, we were lucky enough to be able to purchase the original time clock for the A.H. Murray Company dating back into the 1800’s.
The Dey’s Dial Recorder from W.A. Wood Company of Montreal, shows the number of each employee around the circumference of the large dial on the front of the machine.  The employee recorded their starting and stopping time by positioning the pivoted pointer arm to their own number and then pressing it into the guide hole, thereby printing the exact time opposite their number on a prepared sheet in the machine.  Remarkable!  

Do you know of any antiques or artifacts that you’d like to share with us?  We’re always eager to hear about anything that you might have that links to our past. We look forward to hearing from you.


  1. Very cool post, and great photo of your beautiful acquisition! Have you found a spot for its display?

    We've uncovered lots of 'interesting' items within our walls, and tucked away on high shelves. Beautiful ceramic and glass sherds often appear after a rain.

    You should snap a photo of the engraved numerals in the beam: many times, the construction elements of 17th & 18th C. buildings were prepared offsite, and roman numerals were engraved to indicate their proper positioning for installation!

  2. Thanks. We think it's kind of neat as well. It's currently on the 2nd floor of the hotel in the Beck's Cove Wing. You'll go by and find guests trying to figure out how it works which is fun. I'll try to get a picture of the numbers in the beams. They're kind of hard to see now.
    I bet it's so much fun to find some of the old things in the walls and tucked. It's like connecting with someone who was there before. I remember purchasing an antique dresser once and finding the old newspaper that was lining the drawers. What a great read.
    Thanks for the comment. Nice to know you're out there!