I graduated from high school in 1965, our athletic facilities had
recently upgraded their scoreboards
to the modern type with little light bulbs to form the numbers.
But back when I was a freshman, that was not the case. Although
the clocks on our scoreboards were electrically operated, they were
not digital. They had a minute hand that went around once in a
quarter, plus a second hand.
football scoreboard at Memorial Field consisted of little more than
that analog clock at one end of the field, illumniated by a
floodlight. The clock wasn't even official; the offical time
was kept on the field by the school superintendent, who stood a few
yards behind the referee.
sketched a somewhat more elaborate scoreboard, 14 feet high and 36
feet wide, which would at least show the down and yards. It was
still manually operated except for a huge 12½-foot diameter
electric clock, here showing 1:27 left in the twelve-minute fourth quarter.
design was inspired by our basketball scoreboard, which used disks
with digits placed around the periphery so that one digit shows
through a window. In the cutaway drawing, the orange disks have
ten digits, and the turquoise disks only five (blank, 1, 2, 3,
4). (If the line of scrimmage is at midfield, the board has to
approximate the truth and say the ball is "on the 49.")
disks are turned manually by scoreboard operators who have climbed
the steps into the interior of the board, where they communicate by
telephone with the pressbox. Those operators also hang signs
with the points and the quarter in the appropriate windows.
Because Memorial Field hosted track meets as well, extra windows are
provided for scores like "105½." The larger
digits are two feet high, which by experiment I determined to be big
enough to be legible from 400 feet away and perhaps as much as 600 feet.