The Inventors of Modern Timekeeping

By Jake Migdail-Smith, Dori Kasper, Colin Stard, and James McCaughan (Section 2)

The Rutgers Clock Tower at College Avenue

One of the most iconic images of Rutgers is the Rutgers Clock Tower, nestled above the doorway to the College Avenue Barnes and Noble. Its bright red lettering and huge size dominate the surrounding scene, and it serves as a constant reminder or two things: the longevity of Rutgers University that has allowed it stand the test of time for 250 years, and the modern reliance we have on timekeeping, a problem first practically solved by the Dutch.

slgckgc via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
slgckgc via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The clock is located at 126 College Ave, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. The clock was presented by a class graduating from Rutgers. Considering the connections between the Dutch and Rutgers University, as well as the Dutch invention of the pendulum clock and wristwatch, it serves as a more than appropriate gift.

Rutgers Clock Tower

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Rutgers Clock Tower 40.502673, -74.452213

The clock is a huge part of our daily lives. We wake up to the clock,  we work by the clock, we base our whole day around the clock. That is why we chose the clock as our artifact.  Whether it’s a cell phone, a watch or a wall clock, clocks are a huge part of modern life and they have been for centuries. The impact that timekeeping has on us is one that is mostly taken for granted. This impact can be traced back to the work of Dutch inventor Christiaan Huygens and his invention of the first pendulum clock in the year 1656, an invention that provided the world with both accurate and accessible timekeeping from then on.  Prior to this clocks had been available but only on a large scale basis. For instance, many people relied on clocks in cathedrals that utilized massive weight systems, and they were incredibly inaccurate.  While the invention was later refined with escapement systems and metallic alloys that accounted for the temperature differences in the pendulum, the inciting of the first accurate clock can be traced to the Netherlands.

Aldo Cavini Benedetti via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Aldo Cavini Benedetti via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Trans-Atlantic travel was already possible at the time that the clock was invented, along with later addition of the more accurate spring driven watch, invented by Huygens as well.  Nevertheless, the more precise clocks afforded sailors with a trustworthy way to track their location on the globe, and even proved useful centuries later with the rise of airplanes.  With eased navigation New Jersey and the United States were allowed to grow and prosper through trade with Europe and the rest of the world.  Later on pilots too were able to navigate effortlessly and know where they were using the inventions that were first born in the Netherlands. Clocks were essential to the development of the New World, reflecting the large role that the Dutch played in the establishment of the first North American settlements.

The illustrious face of the Rutgers Clock Tower at College Avenue has parallels to the value that the Dutch have provided in their groundbreaking ingenuity in timekeeping. Just as the Dutch are often times taken for granted in their presence in early America, clocks are taken for granted as well. Knowing the time is crucial to the modern way of life, and the Rutgers Clock Tower emanates that very notion of the reliance on time that is distinctive to the world today.

Works Cited:

The Stroopwafel

Section 2 – Emlyn, Joanna, Justin



The stroopwafel is a Dutch syrup cookie. They are circular and consist of two waffle cookie paddies held together by a delicious caramel syrup. The cookies are typically about three and a half inches in diameter, and are relatively thin. The stroopwafel cookies are scrumptious, so let’s dig in!


The stroopwafel is a Dutch waffle-like cookie. The stroopwafel is made out of two sweet waffles which are held together by a syrupy caramel filling. Stroopwafels are believed to have originated in the Dutch town of Gouda–also famous for the delicious cheese of the same name–all the way back in 1784. According to legend, an inventive local baker created the first batch of stroopwafels from leftover breadcrumbs that he proceeded to sweeten with syrup. These satisfying treats quickly caught on; by the 19th century there were nearly 100 stroopwafel bakers operating in Gouda alone!

Stroopwafels today have become a popular international snack. The story of the popularization of the stroopwafel tells the story of a more modern Dutch history, and that of a Netherlands connected with the commercial global market. Sold everywhere from the original small Dutch bakeries to large corporations, like Starbucks, the stroopwafel seems to have followed the same pattern of mass popularization like those of other European sweets. For example, cannoli’s, the popular Italian cream-filled pastries, can today be bought at both small Italian bakeries and large chain supermarkets. In addition to being found in local chain shops across the globe, United Airlines have started offering stroopwafels on their flights as tasty snacks! At this rate of popularity, stroopwafels may soon become as synonymous with the Netherlands as pasta is with Italy!

Talking to students who had embarked on spring break to Utrecht this past March, they all said something about how delicious the stroopwafels were in the Netherlands. When this group got together to discuss our final project subject, we immediately thought to research the stroopwafel. (Plus, who doesn’t love a tasty treat?!)

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A Silver Seal for Marbletown, New York

By Neil Gandhi, Fangling He, and Jarisha Olanday from Section 2


This seal was created by Dutch silversmith Jacob Boelen in 1704 as an official town seal for Marbletown, New York, used to stamp official documents. The head of the seal is made of official silver that is placed on top of a wooden handle. Engraved on the seal is the town’s coat of arms. The upper region of the coat of arms above the chevron, are two deer that symbolize the town’s hilly uplands and mountainous surroundings that served as hunting areas. Below the chevron are three sheaves of wheat that symbolize the surrounding fertile lowland that suited the cultivation of grains. Above the shield is a reversed engraving of “MARBLETOWN”. On the sides of the shield is a reversed engraving of the town’s motto “BE IVST(left)/ TO TRVST(right)”, or “Be Just To Trust”.


The seal is currently located in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, specifically The Met Fifth Avenue. The seal was previously located in Kingston, New York and owned by Alphonso T. Clearwater since 1925. In cooperation with Marbletown, the seal was bequest by Clearwater to the Met in 1933.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art -The Met Fifth Avenue

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art -The Met Fifth Avenue 40.779238, -73.963004
The Story of the Seal

The seal tells us about two things: the story of its creator and the story of why it was created.

Jacob Boelen, the creator of the seal, is a notable Dutch silversmith who was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1645. He worked as a silversmith in New York City, NY from 1660 to his death. Many of his surviving works, like this seal, is exhibited today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University, and the Museum of the City of New York. His beautiful silver work range from spoons, various cups, teacups, tankards, and,  of course, this seal.

Marbletown, New York

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Marbletown, New York 41.884899, -74.113083


The seal was created in 1704, a year after Marbletown received its patent on June 25th, 1703. A group of Americans and Dutchmen applied for the patent and was granted by Col. Henry Beekman, Capt. Thomas Garton and Capt. Charles Brodhead in trust for the inhabitants.  After the city of Kingston (the first capital of NY, northeast of Marbletown) was burned by the British during the American Revolution in 1777, Marbletown briefly served as the states capital. The Town of Marbletown was officially formed in 1844, after regions of the land were used to form the Town of Olive(1823) and the Town of Rosendale(1844). Marbletown was heavily influenced by the Dutch which is evident through its architectural heritage and its districts (like Kripplebush – that is definitely Dutch!).

What does it tell us today?

The seal is still a great symbol of Marbletown, New York today. Much of the rural community is underdeveloped, leaving a scenic landscape of mountains and fertile land, just as the seal’s coat of arms still depicts. Marbletown retains its history and architectural heritage through a sprinkling of many historical zones across the region. Within Marbletown are four locations that are registered in the National Register of Historic Places: Bevier Stone House, Rest Plaus Historic District, Cornelius Wynkoop Stone House, and Kripplebush.

The surviving architecture in these districts, many of it made of stone, embody Dutch vernacular architecture of the 17th and 18th century. Additionally, some districts and places of Marbletown are agriculturally centered; its 19th century and early 20th century framed community institutions, rural domestic, manufacturing and commercial buildings embody the town’s expansive involvement in agricultural enterprises. Its build environment genuinely preserves this rural neighborhood’s historic growth and accompanying changes in land ownership and new construction through a range of domestic, commercial, and institutional structures. In this fashion, through its distinct inscriptions and motto, the seal remains symbolic to Marbletown’s historic identity.

We decided to pick this object because it represents a town that was originally founded by the Dutch. It is important to remember many towns in the Northeast were founded by Dutch settlers way before the English ever got there and that the Dutch play a huge part in our history. This seal is a very simple object that signifies a lot and has a lot of symbolic meaning behind it.  Usually, when we think about any kind of seal, we do not stop and think about all of the meaning and history behind it. This artifact that made us realize how much history and the amount of significance such a small and simple artifact can have.



Carrots: Selectively Bred From the Land of Orange

By William Radin, Rashi Rattan, Ethan Chiang (Section 2)


Jeremy Keith via Flickr CC by 2.0

The carrot is a (usually) orange vegetable that is a staple in many cuisines around the world. They are grown in the ground and cultivated for their taproots, the well known orange vegetable. The leaves on the top of the carrot are not usually eaten, and are discarded when carrots are eaten.

Here is only one example of the many farms that grow carrots here in New Jersey:

Carrot Farm

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Carrot Farm 39.580075, -74.934286

Carrots today are one of the main vegetables eaten in American cuisine. Many salads, soups, as well as healthy snacks include these orange vegetables. The United States is the fourth largest producer of carrots in the world. Many places all over the nation grow carrots, including here in New Jersey. However, a closer look at the history of carrots shows a surprising Dutch influence.

The most surprising fact to many people is that carrots actually come in all different colors, from purple to yellow to red to white! While the carrot most likely originated in Central Asia, it made its way both West and East. While Eastern carrots were purple, slowly the yellow rooted carrot made its way to Europe by the 13th century.

The Dutch were the ones to selectively breed the orange carrot. Modern genetic studies show that they took the yellow rooted carrot and over generations, created an orange carrot that was healthier and less bitter. Despite common folklore, the carrot was not orange to honor the Dutch House of Orange, but rather was made the official Dutch vegetable afterwards.

With the advantages of the orange carrot over the other hues of carrots, the orange carrot the sole type of carrot planted in Europe. As part of the Colombian Exchange, the carrot made its way to the New World aboard Spanish, English, and Dutch ships. Today, the importance of the carrot as a crop is unprecedented, and it continues to be a healthy snack for all.

We chose this topic because very few people think about the history of their food, and we were surprised to see that such a common crop actually had Dutch roots. The domestication of the carrot is only one of the accomplishments of the Dutch that go unnoticed, yet it is a case of agricultural advancement for the time period, once again showing that the Dutch managed to become a world power in such a short time!

Works Cited:

New Brunswick Mines

Steven Leichner, Makenzie Bayless, Isha Khosla, Connor Grant

Section 2


The copper mine is currently under, what is today, the Voorhees Mall on the College Avenue Campus. It runs parallel to Hamilton Street and Mine Street. It passes through Robinson Street, Hartwell Street, Guilden Street, Easton Ave, Union Street, and College Avenue. The mine is about 60 feet under the ground and allegedly runs hundreds of feet under the Raritan River. The Dutch created many mines in New Jersey during the 1600s. The New Brunswick mines were first discovered fruitful in the 1750s when the owner of the land, Philip French discovered heavy chunks of copper. Philip French, the reason we have a French Street, had to soon allow a copper mining company to lease his farmland. The mine is no longer used.

In 1751, a New Jersey mining company led by Elias Boudinot contracted a century-long lease on French’s farm. The company subsequently dug a mine approximately 300 feet from the Raritan River and uncovered heaps of copper. The mines that are now replaced by Rutgers University’s property tells the story of the Dutch that arrived in America and attempted to make a profitable living through the mining industry. Stories of the Dutch can be seen through investigations of Ford Hall, which has a tunnel that used to be a mine shaft. The investigation discovered locked up rooms, crawl spaces, and stairwells that indicated previous activities in the underground tunnel. The mine shafts created by the Dutch are also involved in other parts of American history. The mine that once ran down Mine Street is said to have been a means of escape for slaves and a passage for smuggling alcohol during Prohibition.

The fact that there are little-known, yet extensive, mines under the College Avenue campus illuminates that New Brunswick has a deep, rich history that is not very well-known to the Rutgers community. A portion of this mine shaft, as previously mentioned, is even present in Ford Hall. It’s a shame that we tend to be so present-oriented, and that there is a long history of this area that is often neglected. We picked the mine shaft largely because of its relative anonymity. When Makenzie first mentioned that there were abandoned mines right underneath College Avenue, I was very surprised and wondered how many people even knew about the mines. For this reason, we thought we should do our project on the mines; to give people this same surprise, and broaden their knowledge of the history of New Brunswick.

The underground mine shafts located below certain areas on the College Avenue campus are a simple microcosm of the extensive history surrounding Rutgers University. Much of this history is not recognized by the students and faculty of Rutgers, alongside the other inhabitants of the city of New Brunswick. I believe the unknown presence of these shafts, especially those used as escape routes for slaves, a passage for arms, and the transportation of alcohol during Prohibition, are something that would fascinate others if they knew. To realize there is something out of view that is so complex and historically valuable right below the streets we walk on is captivating, but also unfortunate that its presence is generally not acknowledged. It teaches us that no matter where we are, there is a history behind our environment that we should learn to embrace because modern society tends to ignore these facts. Who would have known the reason why MIne Street has its name? Ultimately, we should look beyond what is present in our field and sight to gain a new appreciation for the world around us and teach others to do the same.

ford hall

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ford hall 40.500499, -74.448738



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