Victoria Clock Restorations
Victoria is home to a number of noteworthy street clocks. Many are of historical significance. Preserving these timepieces is a job entrusted to watchmaker Barry Carter.
The Francis Jewelers Street Clock
When the Francis Jewelers street clock was vandalized, Barry was commissioned to repair and restore it.
Located a block east of Victoria’s famed Government Street, this landmark clock was made in Boston in the very early 1900s. The clock was made by the E. Howard Clock Company. It was one of North America’s leading street and tower clock manufacturers. The company is also famed for its innovative watches, now collectors’ items.
The Francis Jewelers clock was sold by Joseph Mayer Co, a Seattle based agent for the Edward Howard Company. Mayer established his street clock company after returning from the Alaska Gold Rush. Later on, Mayer sourced movements and motion works from Howard and designed his own clock cases, which he had cast by the Pacific Car and Foundry & Co in Renton, Washington, later renamed PACCAR. Sometime later he had his own movements built in Seattle. Mayer sold his street clocks to communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Several have been designated “landmark” clocks.
The owners of Francis Jewelers believe it is incumbent on them to preserve the clock because of its historical significance.
To restore the Francis Jewelers street clock, Barry repaired the damaged escapement and gearing. He built a pendulum to replicate the one that had been stolen. Calculating the frequency of the clock and length of the stolen pendulum was easy. Determining the design of the pendulum was aided by the discovery of a sister clock at Mayfair Mall.
The Mayfair Mall Street Clock
The Mayfair Mall Street Clock has a colourful, transitory history. Like some of Victoria’s early immigrants, it moved to different locations around the city. The clock was previously situated inside the mall. It is currently located outside on the Blanshard Street side of the mall.
While repairing the Mall’s tower clock, Barry was asked to refurbish the street clock. Barry quickly realized it shared many features similar to the Francis Jewelers street clock. Using the internet to do some research, he discovered that the Mayfair Mall and Francis Jewelers street clocks are sister clocks, both distributed by Joseph Mayer Co.. The origins of the Francis Jewelers clock had been documented. Those records are kept by Smithsonian Institute.
Research revealed that most Howard/Mayer clocks had originally been painted green – except in the Pacific Northwest where they were painted black, gray or silver. While refurbishing the Mayfair Mall Street Clock, Barry discovered that it had originally been painted green, so he restored it to its original colour. Due to years of weather damage and lack of maintenance, two badly worn gears had to be replicated, which was accomplished using special cutters imported from Great Britain.
The Royal Roads Grant Tower Clock
Royal Roads University is famed for its gardens and Hatley Castle, the retirement home of BC’s coal baron James Dunsmuir. What visitors may not notice is the tower clock overlooking the Castle. The tower clock caps the Grant Building, built in 1943 to provide offices for Royal Roads Military College instructors. The mechanical-electric clock ran off of an electrical impulse which also ran slave clocks throughout the building.
To complete the renovation of the Grant Building undertaken to create more space for the rapid expansion of Royal Roads University, Barry was commissioned to restart and refurbish the long-stopped tower clock.
The complete time keeping system had to be replaced. Barry researched, designed, built and installed a synchronous time system.
Other Historical Clock Restorations
In addition to restoring local landmark street and tower clocks, Barry restores tall case or grandfather clocks as well as wall and carriage clocks.