Charting Progress Over Time

Hamilton clock

Celebrating the Hamilton Clock

According to tradition, our founder Alexander Hamilton gave this remarkable clock to The Bank of New York in 1797. Then in 1858, The Bank of New York donated the “Hamilton Clock” to the New-York Historical Society, fostering a connection between our two organizations that continues today.

The Hamilton Clock has witnessed a tremendous amount of change over the past two centuries, leading up to today. Explore the highlights here and our timeline to see how BNY Mellon has contributed to financial progress since Hamilton’s time. And also view our gallery of rare historical documents and unique objects from the collections of the New-York Historical Society and BNY Mellon.

Times Change. But Our Innovative Spirit Endures.

BNY Mellon has always been an innovator, starting with our pioneering founder. Explore the themes below to see connections between our initiatives — then and now.

  • collage of Alexander Hamilton, Hamilton clock and working professionals

    Then: In 1772, an entrepreneurial, young Alexander Hamilton immigrated to the American colonies from the British West Indies. Hamilton went on to serve his country as a patriot, an innovator and as the first Secretary of the Treasury.

    Now: Today, BNY Mellon supports America’s future leaders, its children, by offering sub-accounting services to college savings plans. BNY Mellon is also a leader in financing pension funds to provide economic security for all.

  • Collage of William Walton House, the Hamilton clock and professional group at table

    Then: In 1784, Alexander Hamilton founded The Bank of New York, then located in the William Walton House on St. George’s Square (today Pearl Street). As the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton drew from his experience to help establish the First Bank of the United States in 1791.

    Now: As today's oldest U.S. financial services firm in continuous operation, BNY Mellon has expanded tremendously over the last two centuries and is now a leading asset management and asset servicing company. BNY Mellon is a provider of critical services to central banks whose assets make up a significant portion  of global bank reserves.

  • Collage of early American writing on formation of Treasury, the Hamilton clock and professional man at desk

    Then: Alexander Hamilton became the first Secretary of the Treasury, serving the young republic from 1789 to 1795. Under Hamilton’s watch as Treasury Secretary, the federal government received its first loan from The Bank of New York in 1789.

    Now: BNY Mellon continues to support the work of the U.S. government. During the Great Recession (2007-2009), the Treasury Department relied on BNY Mellon to administer funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

  • Collage of early mercantile stock market, Hamilton clock, man and woman at whiteboard

    Then: To spur innovation and production, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton presented his monumental Report on Manufactures to the House of Representatives in 1791. One year later, he promoted the passage of the Coinage Act, which created a new national currency. The same year, a group of merchants signed the Buttonwood Agreement, which helped establish the U.S. Stock Exchange.

    Now: BNY Mellon supports innovation through its backing of artificial intelligence, machine learning and automated payments. BNY Mellon created the first mobile stock trading app, TreasuryEdge® Mobile and is actively exploring the use and benefits of blockchain technology.

  • Collage of bulls, the Hamiton clock, red tiles at 101 Barclay Street building

    Then: In 1804, Hamilton died following a duel with political rival Aaron Burr. The Bank of New York settled Hamilton’s estate through a trust. In 1804, the New-York Historical Society was also established.

    Now: Hamilton’s legacy lives with us today in many ways. This clock, reportedly given to The Bank of New York by Alexander Hamilton, established what would become the bank’s corporate arts collection. BNY Mellon now holds an extensive array of works that span over 400 years and are on view in 15 countries.

For a full range of BNY Mellon moments in history, see our timeline.

Portrait of Alexander Hamilton


Explore Our Gallery of Historical Artifacts

See the paintings, documents, coins and more that made history – and became a part of BNY Mellon’s story.

Partnering with the New-York Historical Society

BNY Mellon and the New-York Historical Society are historic, New York City-based institutions with global reach that share a commitment to honoring the past and looking to the future. The institutions’ intertwined histories can be traced back to the lifetime of Alexander Hamilton, who, as the founder of The Bank of New York and the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, influenced the development of American economics and finance.

The New-York Historical Society, founded in 1804, is dedicated to increasing worldwide understanding of American history through exhibitions, public programs, online outreach and research that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world today.

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