By; Pauline Perry
The 104 year old brass and cast iron town clock which stood 60 feet in the air atop the old Knapp's Department Store at the corner of Broad and Fulton Streets was toppled over and was destroyed in a fire early Sunday morning March 17, 1980.
Fire chief, Ronald Keene, said that he could have cried when he saw the clock come crashing down.
The clock, when first used had to be wound by hand. According to George Zausmer, his father, Simon Zausmer, had a contract with the village of Waverly to maintain the clock which involved winding it by hand twice weekly.
Two heavy weights which made the clock run were wound by a large two handled crank. It was a rather delicate operation to coordinate the hands on the four dials to read the same. Later, it was electrified to eliminate the hand winding.
In 1957, the clock was repaired at a cost of $ 985.00. New plexiglas was put on the clock's four faces. New hands and seven inch numerals were welded on its face. New milky white color was used so as to be seen easier at night.
At one time, Chares Schreck was caretaker of the clock for $ 72.00 per year. He stated that the clock was a rare unique piece of machinery. It operated on the same principal as old grandfather clocks and had to be wound with a huge crank. He had to wind and oil the bearings.
Every hour the clock tolled the time in a sonorous tone that could be heard a good mile.
Previous caretakers names and dates were inscribed on the heavy wooden beams in the clock tower.
The weights, which controlled the striking gong weighed about a ton. They were concrete blocks about 15 inches square. The weight that controlled the time movement was about 400 pounds. All were wound with the huge crank. The hands moved around and the gong tolled the time as the weights gradually descended.
The four clock faces were five feet in diameter and the minute hand was about 30 inches long.
The clock's mechanism was suspended about 10 feet below the clock face. Through a unique arrangement involving universal joints and level gears, the mechanism was geared to the clock face.
One reason the clock did not keep good time was that the seasons affected the accuracy. In the spring and fall, sudden temperature changes caused the pendulum to expand or contract, effecting the clock's accuracy. The clock was purchased by public subscription. It had been owned by the village as the old village records show established ownership.
When the park was built at the corner of Broad and Waverly Streets, it was suggested by Lester Marshall and James Manning that a replica of the clock be erected in the park.
Mr. Marshall had painted and drawn numerous sketches of the stately old clock over some 40 years, depicting every angle of it. It was decided to make a replica.
Mr. Marshall and Mr. Manning, along with Robert Merrill of Waverly and Mike Volechenisky of Sayre, Pa. did most of the handwork on the clock. Dozens of others lent their encouragement and skill along with donations.
They reproduced the carvings on the wooden housing and the original slate shingles ( 1090 ) of them. It was decided to paint it a dark green. A company of clock makers from Long Island was kind to do the job for the clock works.
" Pete" Boehm did the wiring for the night time switch. His father put the automatic electric eye on the original clock in the 1940's.
The clock, artistically reproduced, was installed and officially started by Mayor Daniel Leary in 1980.
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Ernie Miles...... This page was updated Wednesday, 26-Mar-2008 06:35:55 PDT.