Banks - time & temperature

When and how did banks (as opposed to stores, gas stations, etc.) become the businesses where you can expect to see the time and temperature posted on an electronic sign?

A bank is usually a prominent looking building in the center of a town. I think you would “expect” them to know things like the time and temperature.

The bank in my town that used to display the time and temperature a few years back when their sign broke.

The banks decided it was worth their while to do so. Probably it started out with a simple clock (back in the days when clocks were rare) and they added temperature as technology advanced.

If their sign was broken, how did they display the time and temp? A bum wth a sandwich board sign?

Two theories:

  1. Those electronic signs were very expensive when they came on the market. Banks could afford them before any other local businesses could.

  2. One helluva bank sign salesman. I’ve seen something along this line before. For blocks around my mother’s home, all the houses have tacky blue outdoor carpeting on their front porches and steps. I figure it had to be the work of one talented salesman.

this leads me to wonder:

are there any regulations as to how accurate the sign has to be?

if so, how accurate are they?

how do thay get the info, is it from a local clock and thermometer, some online bank sign website, or maybe just the weather channel?


Well, These signs have been around for 10-15 years at LEAST… so i think we can rule out websites and probably even the weather channel…

– Karl Butcher
Y2K compliant since 1836

The sign is connected to two highly advanced devices - a clock and a thermometer. Crappy ones. And nobody inside the bank knows where they are, or cares, or knows how to set/calibrate them.

The reason for banks having clocks outside is so that you, Joe Public, will be driving by and say, " Oh gosh, it’s noon, I have to cash this check." along with a bunch others. And as yall enter the bank, the tellers can look out the window for the time and say, " Oh gosh, Noon, time for all but one of us to go to lunch."

Or it’s a subtle reminder that time is money.
I dunno what temperature is, but the bank signs are usually wrong on that anyway.

Actually, the time and temperature readings are set bimonthly by Allen Greenspan.

Notice that funeral homes always seem to have a clock outside? Sort of reminding you that “time’s running out, we’ll see you soon!”

I don’t know how this would fit in with your theories, but about a mile or so from my house, there’s a self-storage place that has an electric marquee that is meant to display the time and temperature in addition to their little slogans. I say “meant to” because the majority of the time, what you really get is:
Or something like that.

<h6>I wonder if the HTML in this message will work right</h6>

Kat, that was GREAT!

Time and temperature signs were simply a means to draw attention to the bank, especially at night in small towns when all other businesses were closed and the electric time-and-temperature display was the only (or brightest) light around. As for the accuracy of the temperature, a dear, but departed meteorologist in Fort Worth, Texas, Harold Taft, once explained on the 6 o’clock news (he worked at Channel 5, KXAS, NBC from 1949 till his death 6 years ago) that the sign installers frequently place the thermometer in direct sunlight, instead of the shade as professional meteorologists do. Your thermometer should also receive good ventilation.

Another factor is that banks historically have wanted to appear solid (stolid?), conservative and respectable. The message of a time-and-temperature sign is “Ceci ne pas un tableau vulgaire d’affichage.”

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams