Friday, July 4, 2014

Of Haunted Clocks and Clockwork Monks
Old clocks have been a passion for years. Like most vintage objects, they were crafted 
with the artistic care that doesn't exist these days, in modern clocks at least. This particular 
beauty--not working and pretty beat -up--was found for me by my brother. 
As creepy-looking as it is, this is not the haunted one.

Still, I like it--tend to like the inside as much as the outside.

I'm not an horology fanatic, but I readily admit to being a clockworks nerd, so I can't 
imagine these gears being uninteresting to anyone.
Now this fellow--in working order and the best time-keeper I own--is my absolute favorite. 
And it's haunted. I'll get to that.

But first--the aesthetics! Look how the wood grain in the twist still glows--even though the finish is checked and worn. The scratched and rubbed face shows that it was well-used and wound for years. And the ghost-story?

When I got this clock, it worked right away, ticking along like clockwork. But when brought to 
my studio, it stopped and refused to run. I took it to Jake, my clock repairman, who got it ticking right away. Still, I had him clean it and keep it for a few days to make sure it was running well.

Took it back to the studio and it stopped again, not a tic nor a tock to be heard.
So back to Jake's shop, where of course, the clock started right up.
"There's nothing wrong with this clock," he said, matter of fact. Then, raising an eyebrow, he asked, "Is there another clock in your studio? 'Cause if there is, I'd try taking it out. Bet this one will work then. Seen this kind of thing before. You know clocks, they got wound and touched a lot by the owners, so they get haunted quite a bit. And sometimes they don't much like any competition."

Not a skeptic when it comes to that sort of thing, I removed an old clock--not a favorite--that I'd had ticking in the studio for a few years. And after that, you got it: This great old stubborn and haunted clock 
has been working fine ever since!
But speaking of haunted, this is the guy that I'm sure initiated my itch for the clockworks.
I snapped this photo when my wife and I, as a young couple, visited the Smithsonian and saw it in 
a case there. I wanted it so badly!

Here are a few more views from the internet, and a video of the ancient monk walking around. Made in 1560, this eerie automaton still works.
The best I can do, since I can't have the monk, is collect and draw old clocks. It sort of 
scratches the itch, so that's gotta be enough for now.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Tom, I love the old clocks, too. Used to collect and repair them, but now I only have one old schoolhouse clock in the living room and some antique cuckoo clocks. Antique Cuckoos are my favorite, I repair them but don't run them, just keep them for looking at. They are too noisy at night for me. I like your crooked clock drawing.

    1. Thanks Ted. Glad to know you are a kindred spirit where clocks are concerned. There was a point that I had to get rid of all but two. The clanging of one in every room was getting to my family. Can't figure out why :)

  2. I love your clock story! Wow! The monk automaton is a little eerier, yes. Pretty eerie...

  3. Your clock drawing is terrific!

    1. Thank you Miss Gladys--I appreciate the compliment, and the comments!


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