Pittsburgh Art Places


Allegheny Avenue Plaza, North Shore Riverfront Park adjacent to Carnegie Science Center

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Cor-Ten, train, trail, riverfront, freestanding, City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny Observatory, Samuel P. Langley

Artwork Type

Light, Permanent, Sculpture

Langley Observatory Clock


R.M. Fischer


Commissioning Entity Sports and Exhibition Authority
Owner Sports and Exhibition Authority
ADA Services The sculpture is located on the same level as the sidewalk, and can easily be approached.

This sculpture was inspired by the astronomer and astrophysicist Samuel P. Langley. Langley was the head of the Allegheny Observatory from 1867 to 1891. In 1870, he introduced the Allegheny System, which standardized time using the observatory telescope and astronomical calculations. This system was sold as a service to railroads and cities across the country and is the basis for standardized time used today. Funds that Langley recieved by providing this service were put toward his research in the field of solar physics.

With its form and materials, the artwork evokes the passage of time, a train engine, and the industrial history of the city. R.M. Fischer won the Mayor's Award for Public Art for this piece in 2009. The award recognizes a public art project that contributes to the quality of life and economic development of a Pittsburgh community. 

R.M. Fischer (b. 1947) lives and works in New York. He received his MFA from the San Fransisco Art Institute. Working with metals and often incorporating light, Fischer has produced public artworks across the nation. In recent years his use of materials has shifted to include fabric and other soft forms in his sculpture.