Saving Time

LYNDEBOROUGH – At some point during various renovations at Citizens’ Hall over the past 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 as being 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 safe keeping, and then apparently forgotten.

Former Selectman Rob Rogers happened to think of it a few months ago, he said, 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 could not recall who had put it there.

“It had been so badly repaired (in the past) the door was loose and the glass had come out,”

Clocksmith Henry Anthony, of Brookline, said recently, the clock had been restored to its former beauty. “I had to put a piece of oak in the door and put glazing compound around the glass. It is a very, very nice clock,” he added. “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 Ansonia Clock Company of New York.

The calendar works are “right on,” Anthony said, noting that people don’t like them any more 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,” he added, “just a few clicks.” But like all manual clocks, the hands cannot be moved backward.

Anthony has provided the town office with the instructions, as well as a winding schedule for it and another clock from the Town Hall in Lyndeborough Center which hangs in the downstairs meeting room, a clock he also cleaned.

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

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

“The big clock hands are counterbalanced because they are too heavy for the mechanism,” he said. His grandfather immigrated from Germany, Anthony said. “I never met him. His family made cuckoo clocks. One came to me (for repairs), all hand-carved. It felt (to me) like my family had made it.”

In his earlier life he worked for telephone company, he said. That job took him to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard where he encountered a clock set on naval time, the four bells, eight bells, that signal the end of watches. “It was the only one I have ever seen.”

The most interesting clock he ever worked on, he said, was a Russian submarine clock. “It was a good clock, but it had the wrong springs.”

He did not know how the customer happened to have it.

The restored clock will be rehung at Citizens’ Hall in the near future.

Anthony can be reached at 672-1757 or at henryanthony@