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Friday, July 29, 2011

Hands of time stop in Wilton

WILTON – The clock in the Wilton Town Hall tower has looked a little odd these last few weeks with no hands.

On Thursday, the hands, newly sanded and painted a bright white, were ready to be reinstalled as soon as the mechanisms that control them had been cleaned of many years’ worth of grease and grime.

Mike St. Clair has been working on the clock, which wasn’t keeping time because the hands were sticking. The hands are made of wood, he said, and the heat and humidity affect them.

Dennis Markaverich, owner of the Town Hall Theater, has been the winder of the clock for many years, but says he isn’t a clock engineer.

“I just keep it wound and put on some oil once in a while,” he said.

St. Clair, 21, of Wilton, is a junior at Southern New Hampshire University majoring in information technology.

“That’s computers,” he said, “so I’m used to working on more delicate things than this.”

He needed some information, he said, “So I found a manual for a turret clock; that’s what they call this kind. It was on the Internet. It was made for anyone who has a clock to wind. It goes over everything from winding to cleaning.”

He added, “It was surprisingly simple to take apart.”

The problem with the clock, he said, is “it’s out of beat. It doesn’t tick in the proper sequence, so it eventually stops. They have to share the same tick. I have to slow down the hour hand.”

The problem may be in the pendulum, which he’ll check out when the clock has been reassembled.

Town Hall was built in 1883, and a date carved into the beams near the clock (along with some initials) is 1884.

The clock will be back together again soon, telling the proper time.