Retired Marine learns the joy of saving time

Highland Lakes. Gregory Sciscoe reached out to a friend who restored a 140-year-old Ansonia mantel clock treasured by his family.

Vernon /
| 11 May 2021 | 12:31

Gregory Sciscoe of Highland Lakes, a retired automaton specialist and U.S. Marine veteran, has learned the joy of saving time.

The time, in this case, is in the form of a 140-year-old Ansonia mantel clock that had fallen into disarray.

It was thought the clock may have been purchased by a great-grandparent. Sciscoe’s grand aunt Jean Robinson, who is now in her 90s, has fond memories of the beautiful clock as part of the family.

However, a well-intentioned family member attempted to convert the antique clock to electric by replacing the original works with a battery drive. The project failed, and the clock stopped keeping time.

Sciscoe remembered overhearing a friend, Vernon resident John Whiting, say he had a hobby of repairing antique clocks. So he reached out to Whiting to see if the clock could be restored.

“I remember you talking about how you repair antique clocks,” he said. “I have inherited an old mantle clock that belonged to my grandfather. I have the workings although they were replaced with a new mechanism several years ago. I was wondering if you would be up to the challenge of restoring the piece?”

Whiting said he’s given it a try: “If you can get all of the parts to me, I will see what can be done to put it together.”

A few days later, the clock and salvaged parts were delivered in a box. An evaluation determined the clock could be repaired.

A note to Sciscoe said, “Tick tock goes your clock. With some cleaning, invention of a few parts and repairs the clock has been running for a day. (I) need to do some work on the chime and adjust it for accuracy but it looks like it will be entertaining you shortly in your home.”

Over the next several weeks, the battery drive was removed and the old clock works were cleaned and oiled, with some parts repaired and the damaged parts replaced.

The restored Ansonia clock now keeps excellent time with a beautiful chime that rings on the hour and half-hour. The markings on the clockworks confirmed it was made by the Ansonia Clock Company on June 14, 1881. As is tradition, a repair note was added to the door of the clock. ”May 4, 2021 JTW” was added to the service markings of “March 15, 1937 OL” and “September 25, 1941 OL.”

While many old clocks are lost over the years, Sciscoe was not going to let that happen to his family’s beautiful clock. When he placed it on his mantel, he learned the joy of saving time, and the memories that go with it.