Saving time

LYNDEBOROUGH – At some point during various renovations at Citizens’ Hall over the last few years – no one seems to be able to recall just when – the old wall clock in the upstairs meeting room was removed.

It had hung there perhaps since soon after the hall was built, since it has been estimated the clock is from the 1890s. Citizens’ Hall was built in 1888.

It is assumed that the clock was taken down and stored several years ago, the last time the hall was painted.

The clock’s glass was loose and the case was in need of repair, so it was put away for safekeeping, and then apparently forgotten.

Former Selectman Rob Rogers said he happened to think of it a few months ago and wondered where it was. No one knew.

Selectmen’s assistant Cindi Hasty said she had never seen such a clock, but began a casual search for it, asking people if they had seen it or knew where it was. It was finally located, almost by accident, in Town Clerk Trish Schultz’s office – up high, out of sight and out of mind. She couldn’t recall who had put it there.

“It had been so badly repaired” in the past, she said, “the door was loose and the glass had come out.”

Clocksmith Henry Anthony, of Brookline, said recently that the clock has been restored to its former beauty.

“I had to put a piece of oak in the door and put glazing compound around the glass,” he said. “It is a very, very nice clock.

“The works are in very good condition. It just needed cleaning and calibrating. I’ve seen much worse.”

It is a calendar clock, with the days of the month around the clock face. It was made by the Ansonia Clock Co. of New York.

The calendar works are “right on,” Anthony said, noting that people don’t like them anymore because they aren’t electronic.

“You have to handset them,” he said. “The clock doesn’t know about daylight saving time or that February has 28 days.

“But it’s easy – just a few clicks.”

Like all manual clocks, though, the hands can’t be moved backward.

Anthony has provided the town office with the instructions, as well as a winding schedule for it and another clock at Town Hall in Lyndeborough Center.

That clock hangs in the downstairs meeting room – a clock he also has cleaned.

Anthony said he began repairing clocks about 40 years ago as a hobby and because he wondered “what makes them tick.” Now retired, he works at Old Times Sake Clock Repair out of his Mason Road home, where he and his wife, Carol, have lived for 45 years.

Anthony said he likes repairing big clocks, and has worked on town tower clocks in Brookline, Hollis and Milford, as well as the Townsend (Mass.) Congregational Church after it was struck by lightning.

“The big clock hands are counterbalanced because they are too heavy for the mechanism,” he said.

Anthony said his grandfather immigrated from Germany.

“I never met him,” he said. “His family made cuckoo clocks. One came to me (for repairs), all hand-carved. It felt like my family had made it.”

Anthony said he worked for a telephone company earlier in his life. That job took him to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, where he encountered a clock set on naval time – four bells, eight bells – that signal the end of watches.

“It was the only one I have ever seen,” he said.

The most interesting clock Anthony said he has ever worked on was a Russian submarine clock.

“It was a good clock, but it had the wrong springs,” he said.

He didn’t know how the customer happened to have it.

Anthony can be reached at 672-1757 or