Time No Longer Stands Still – Jeweler Fixes Historic Courthouse Clock
Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 18, 2013
By Beth Cassidy
It took him a year, but Jim McBride’s labor of love might have some folks looking up and smiling when they see the courthouse.
That’s because after many years, the hands of the clock are once again moving.
McBride, owner of Davie Jewelers, said it was a combination of complaints in the Enterprise and curiosity that prompted him to go up into the “crow’s nest” as he calls it, the room where the clock’s guts are located, last summer.
“I had always wanted to see that old clock and see how it worked, and then after I saw Bert Bahnson’s complaints in the paper about it not working, I decided it was time to go up,” he said.
He ascended a series of staircases and ladders, ending up on the roof of the courthouse, where, he said “It’s really interesting. You can look around and see a lot of the town from there.”
Once inside, he removed the motor that drives the mechanism that moves the hands, took it home, cleaned and lubricated it, and put it back on the clock.
Everything seemed fine.
But then a few hours later, McBride drove past the courthouse and noticed the clock was running slow.
Deciding maybe the RPM on the motor wasn’t correct, he once again removed it, took it back home, went through it and found out the speed of the motor was inconsistent. He contacted Bahnson, got some information on the clock, made a few calls and waited.
During that time, Brian Whitley, maintenance supervisor for the county, found a video that had been made of someone talking to Bahnson about how the clock worked, and from that video, McBride said, he was able to find out the correct RPM of the motor.
“This time, I took the whole thing apart, and I found some worn out parts, but because it’s so old, we couldn’t order the parts, so I had some made at Gentle Machine Shop. I also found some other problems. On the front facing the administration building, the minute hand was dragging on the 12. We decided to get a fire truck and go up there,” McBride said.
His thinking was he would bend the hand a little, something he normally does when a metal hand is dragging, but once up there, he found out the hands are not made of metal but are another material, likely Plexiglas. He was able to fix it and said as of the last time he drove by the courthouse, just a few days ago, everything seemed to be working.
“It’s still keeping time so I think it will be okay,” he said.
He didn’t start the striking mechanism back, he said, for two reasons.
The first is that he was told that there is a part broken, but it …