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Q: This clock, called "The Three Miller Program Clock," hung on the wall of my school from about 1935 until the school was torn down in the 1960s. Since then the clock has remained in my family. The clock label says it was manufactured by the Miller Program Clock Co. in Minneapolis, Minn., and includes "U.S. Pat. #1,856,469." Can you give me the history of this clock?

A: Adolph H. Miller was granted a patent for a "clock with ringing mechanism" in 1932. The clock has a mechanism that could be programmed, or set, to ring a bell at certain times throughout the day. It was used in schools, factories, and other places that needed bells. The last three digits of the patent number are actually 496, not 469. The printer of the label made a mistake and transposed the last two numbers when the type was set.

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