Saturday, July 07, 2012


My mom had this clock, which stands in the corner of my sister's dining space now. My dad's mother probably bought it at a junk store back in the 50's or 60's, either complete and working, or more likely, not running and with parts missing. Gramps knew how to restore old clocks, and the old weight-driven pendulum kind was his favorite. He considered spring-driven clocks and watches newfangled and inferior mechanisms.

I don't know the history of this graceful and elegant clock, but I suspect it was made in the US some time in the later nineteenth century. I'd guess it came out of an artisan's workshop, possibly with cannibalized clockworks. No trade name is on the 10-1/2-inch face, nor stamped or carved anywhere on the five-foot box which is empty save for the two brass weights and slow, patient pendulum ticking off the half-seconds.

It takes a person back in time to look at this relic of everyday genius expressed as engineered simplicity, and still functioning almost perfectly. This one loses about 30 seconds every forty-eight hours. If adjusted properly, it would function practically perfectly, practically forever. It attempts to be, and comes close to being one of those things of which we might say, "It never changes."


Joe said...

It took good engineering to keep it from changing, that is, deteriorating with time!

Dave B, a.k.a. catboxer said...

It will probably need new chains and some of the sprockets replaced in one or two hundred years from now.