With a tick-tock and the perfect swing of its pendulum, a more than a century-old grandfather clock once again stands tall, chimes and tells time.
A mahogany grandfather clock dating back to 1904 belonging to the Heard Memorial Club House spent 10 months being refurbished thanks to a caring couple from Jefferson City.
Dan and Beth Eckles, former Sedalians, noticed the clock need attention last year and approached the Heard House board with a “proposal to finance and oversee work needed to return the grandfather clock to full working order.”
“With the board’s approval, the project began in 2018, and was completed just this past week,” Dan said. “We’re grateful the Heard House Board allowed us to carry through with the project. Restoration of the clock feels like a part of the house has come to life again. We hope the board, with the help of generous donors, is able to carry out their plans to make more of the house come to life.”
Beth said they wanted to restore the clock in honor of her mother Mrs. Lacy P. (Margaret) Belt and her grandmother Mrs. Charles H. Brady, who were members of the Sorosis Club. The Heard House is home to the historic Sorosis Club and the Helen G. Steele Music Club.
The clock was constructed by the Herschede Clock Co., around 1904, close to the date the Heard House was constructed. Dan said cleaning and repair of the movement of the clock was
done by Ralls County Clock Co., in Hannibal. The dial and the hand-painted moon dial were cleaned and restored in John’s Island, South Carolina.
“The Clocksmith restored the metal on the face’s dial and one of his artists restored the paintings on the moon dial, which was necessary because the original paint was cracked and about fourth had flaked off,” Beth said. “The moon dial, behind the numbers’ dial, depicts the phases of the moon.”
The couple ran into one glitch as they were preparing to have the clock restored: missing chimes.
“When we first examined the non-working clock, we found only two of the original tubular
chimes still in the case,” Beth said. “It was obvious that the hangers, over 100 plus years old, had rotted and the chimes had fallen.
“However, we couldn’t find the chimes in the house … we searched basement to attic to no avail,” she continued. “… Since the Herschede Company closed in 1985, we feared appropriate
chimes would have to be sought, nationwide and salvaged. Fortunately, Pam Lindstrom, our
heroine and member of the Heard House Board, retrieved the chimes from a closet where they
had been beautifully preserved!”
During restoration, the chimes were placed back in the glass-doored case. The grandfather clock would once again grace the home with musical notes.
“It is a chiming clock, that plays two melodies,” Dan added. “’Westminster’ and ‘Whittington,’ on a set of tubular bells … chiming on each quarter hour.
“The hour is struck on the ninth tubular bell,” he continued. “The gold and silver dial of the clock is equipped with controls to select the tune desired as well as providing the option of silencing the chimes and hour strike independently of each other.”
The couple said they don’t recall Beth’s mother or grandmother having an attachment to the clock, but they did attend meetings at the Heard House.
“So, they enjoyed many programs at the house and surely heard the clock during meetings,” Dan said. “We just like clocks and appreciate the beauty and history of the Heard House’s Herschede. Long may it chime!”