I still work part-time for a large defense contractor where customer satisfaction and service is the heart of the business. The same philosophy applies to my repair business.
I maintain a small, dedicated repair shop and work by appointment only, keeping flexible hours for working folks. I am able to make house calls for large clocks in the Charleston SC area. I can also offer trouble shooting advice and helpful hints on setting up and caring for your clock. I have conducted adult evening courses on ‘Getting to know and care for your clock.’
The Perpetual Pendulum
By John Barth
Along with an engineering degree and a master’s in systems management, I have had long experience in metal working and machining…and with clocks. I first ran a metal lathe at 10 years old, learning from the best – my father. He taught me to think before doing, and to examine and understand whatever I worked on. Anything was fair game during those years, from repairing automotive engines to building complex electronic circuits.
The first timepiece I tackled was an industrial timer. I went to visit my father’s workplace at age 12, and a member of the company’s inspection team gave me a re-work timer to ’fix’ as a project. Some workers shook their heads when I completely dismantled the timer, but I managed to reassemble it so that it ran perfectly. I missed one small e-clip on a shaft, so it probably would have failed inspection. The first antique clock I repaired was a Seth Thomas school house clock that I restored for my mother. I was in junior high. I made my own bushings, since I had not yet learned the luxury of commercially available KWM bushings. From that start, the rest is history. I went from fixing neighbors’ clocks to doing clock repairs in college with just a jeweler’s lathe to having my own clock repair business.
I started repairing clocks professionally for several antique dealers in the 1970s while stationed in the United Kingdom with the US Air Force. I have enjoyed not only repairing clocks but also showing private parties how to adjust and maintain their clocks. I like seeing customers enjoy a working time piece rather than just appreciate their clock as a ‘piece of furniture.’
I currently have a modern machine shop that is equipped to replicate parts and restore movements. I keep up with the latest tricks of trade and periodically take professional repair courses through the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors.