Joseph Hornes Clock
(Downtown Pgh on what is currently the Highmark building on the Corner of Stanwix and Penn)
I love my job! Repairing clocks is a true calling for me, below is a short story on the Joseph Hornes Clock from Pgh, PA
This clock was originally manufactured and installed in the late 1920's to early 1930's (accurate records no longer exist and the date was determined based on the style and original aspects of the clock that still exist)
The clock is a triad three faced clock in the art~deco style with Greek key details adorning each of the three faces. This clock is mounted on the exterior of the old Jos. Hornes building between the second and third floors Originally this clock was wired to a central controller mounted inside of the building on which it was mounted.
Pine Knoll Clock Shop was first involved with this clock in the 1980's when Dorrin supplied a custom manufactured replacement motor for one of the three clock faces. The replacement motor was only a temporary fix and was never intended to correct all of the problems this majestic time piece and been subjected throughout its long life.
In late summer of 2008 Pine Knoll Clock Shop was once again approached about servicing this time piece. Dorrin Mace, the shops owner, was in a bucket truck some 20 feet off of the pavement in downtown Pittsburgh as he examined the clock to determine a course of repair. This was quite the feat as he had never been in a bucket truck before let alone in a windy downtown location with a two story crater beside him as Stanwix street was torn up as the steam pipes and other underground utilities were be worked on making way for a new subway system, and the electric lines buzzed behind his head as he worked on the clock
It was determined that the clock had to come down off of the building and be delivered to the clock shop for restoration. This would be the first time in nearly 75 years the clock was taken off of the building.
When the clock arrived at Pine Knoll Clock Repair its condition was worse than expected. Over the past several decades, rewiring had taken place but none of the old pieces were removed so we have knob and tube wiring from the 1930's , wiring from the 1940's when artificial rubber was used as wiring insulation due to the war shortages, and this 1940's era material did not hold up very well.
Some time in the 1950's to 1960's the original lighting was removed and fluorescent tubes were added that when illuminated caused the dials to have a zebra strip appearance. At this same time the original bottom cover had its translucent panel removed and replaced with window screen.
This poor clock had suffered the ravages of time, poor maintenance, and infestation with birds, rodent and insects.
To restore this clock back to its original stature required a lot of engineering work and significant archeological prowess as the layers of abuse had to be carefully removed and the structure examined to determine the original parts and create the beauty that once was.
A manufacturer was located that was able to create custom movements for the three faces as well as custom dial hands to replace those long ago damaged. The new movements will run via a new central controller located in the Highmark building that will adjust all three movements to keep the time correct. The movements will all be adjusted to the correct time should a power failure occur and when daylight savings time begins and ends.
The interior lighting has been redesigned as a single centrally mounted bulb that produces 300 watts of illumination but is energy efficient and will only consume 32 watts of electricity.
The bottom clock cover will be restored with translucent material that will once again illuminate the building corner as it was designed.
The restoration of this time piece was completed by late January, 2009 and the clock was transported to downtown Pittsburgh and mounted to the building where once again it can be a time piece and piece of art to be utilized and enjoyed by those traveling on Stanwix and Penn Avenues in downtown Pittsburgh.