Since the 1300’s clockmakers have been revered as master craftsmen, and the trade has always been a highly respected one requiring specialised skills and an intricate knowledge of internal clock mechanics.
Antique clocks were originally designed and crafted by hand, quite often using tools that were fashioned for the job by the clock maker himself, so each clock would be pretty unique compared to factory built clock designs of today.
Modern clockmakers are still required to possess these early skills to be able to repair and restore antique clocks for which parts wouldn’t be available to get hold of today. This would require the clockmaker to design and craft any missing pieces to enable the clock to fully function once again.
There are thousands of different types of mechanisms that make up working clocks, and a clockmaker will spend years learning their craft and honing their skills to become more expert with their repairs. Clock restoration is more of an art than a science, so any restoration work takes patience and skills that can only develop over time.
Clocks do wear out, it’s unfortunate but true. Springs become fatigued, pivots wear out, oil dries, gear teeth wear down, bushing and hammer pads wear out. Even the weather can affect the inner workings of clocks constantly exposed to the elements and the environment. You need to entrust the maintenance and repair of your clock to safe, trusted and experienced hands.
Most ancient churches and cathedrals were built with clocks woven into their original design, and these need to be maintained by a process of cleaning, repair and careful rebuild where they have fallen into disrepair.
The village church is still the centre of the local community, and the church clock has always been the marker for village life. Clocks measure time, and the church clock chimes out the passing of time so that everyone in earshot always knows what time of day it is, and the passing commuter on the way to work can catch a reassuring glance at the clock to know they will not be late. This gives us a comforting way to exert control over our lives. The importance of a working church clock cannot be underplayed.
But the modern clockmakers skills are also required for more up-to-date projects such as designing and building large clocks for supermarkets and shopping centres. Quite often these clocks are the perfect focal point or centrepiece that adds a feeling of quality to the shoppers experience. This goes to prove clock making is still an important craft even in today’s digital age.
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