Colgate Clock (Indiana)

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Colgate-Palmolive factory, with the original Colgate Clock, in Clarksville, Indiana

The Colgate Clock, located at a Colgate-Palmolive factory in Clarksville, Indiana, is one of the largest clocks in the world. It has a diameter of 40 feet (12.19 meter). It was first illuminated in Clarksville on November 17, 1924. It is located directly across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky.

Before the factory was bought by Colgate, it served as the Indiana Reformatory South. It opened in 1847, replacing the state prison which had opened in Jeffersonville in 1821. In 1919 a fire broke out in the prison, causing the need to spend much money to restore it to full operating procedure. Instead, the state of Indiana decided to relocate the prison to Pendleton, Indiana. Colgate happened to be looking for a Midwestern location following the post-World War I boom, and heard of the prison's availability. The state sold the building to Colgate in 1923. Prisoners, in fact, helped with the conversion from prison to soap-making plant, and even stayed in cells at the location while the conversion took place.

Designed by Colgate engineer Warren Day and constructed by the Seth Thomas Clock Company for the centennial of the Colgate Company in 1906, the clock served as the original Colgate Clock at Colgate-Palmolive facilities in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The clock, facing the Ohio River to the south, can best be viewed across the river in Louisville, Kentucky.[1]

The clock can be seen in the movie The Insider when Al Pacino and Russell Crowe are talking in the car.


In 2006 the factory was placed on Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana's 10 Most Endangered Landmarks list. Colgate-Palmolive plans to close it in 2008, moving its operations to Tennessee and Mexico, and the site is in a choice area for developers, as it is just across the river from Louisville, with easy access to I-65. Colgate has not made any plans for the preservation of the clock.[2] On February 13, 2007, the factory was again on the endangered list. Colgate refused an offer to put the factory on the National Register of Historic Places, which would mean funds from the Indiana Department of Transportation due to the Ohio River Bridges Project.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Thompson, George E. (2009). You Live Where?: Interesting and Unusual Facts about where We Live. iUniverse. p. 30. 
  2. ^ "10 Most Endangered: Colgate-Palmolive Plant and Clock". 10 Most Endangered Sites List. Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana. 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-07-15. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  3. ^ Thomas, Larry (2007-02-13). "Colgate still on endangered list". The News and Tribune. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 

Coordinates: 38°16′29″N 85°45′10″W / 38.274685°N 85.752863°W / 38.274685; -85.752863