Earlier this year I was chosen as the "Formidable Figure" for a local news magazine "The Valley Voices" I was honored to be chosen for this prestigious recognition. The following is a copy of the article.
Horologist, Certified Antiques
Appraiser and Owner of Pine Knoll
Clock Shop & Appraisals, Mercer
By Taylor Sherman
The clock is always ticking at Pine Knoll Clock Shop & Appraisals, but owner Dorrin Mace is in no rush
— instead, he is enjoying life's adventure. The Mercer-based certified antiques appraiser and horologist opened his shop in 1981 and has shared his skills with customers ever since, completing tens of thousands of restorations and repairs.
'The looks I receive when I tell people I am an horologist — many do not know what that term means," Dorrin shared of his profession. "Simply: an horologist is a person learned in the art of time keeping and repairs to time keeping mechanisms. There is a difference between a person who works on clocks (a.k.a. a tinkerer) and a true horologist. A tinkerer has a
rudimentary understanding of clocks and can sometimes get them running. An horologist has an in-depth knowledge of clocks, their history, metallurgy and how it affects the operations of a clock, a knowledge of classical architecture and how to best restore a piece to its appropriate period appearance, as well as an expansive knowledge of engineering and what makes a clock movement operate properly. I am an horologist."
Born in Washington, Pennsylvania, Dorrin's interest in clock repair began in 1969. "When my maternal grandfather George Ray Ill passed away, my mother inherited the Revolutionary War era home," Dorrin shared. "Nothing used in the home was ever discarded and in one of the outbuildings was a collection of clocks that were once used in the house but had been relegated to this building when they no longer functioned or were out of style. I took one of these clocks, a small spring wound box regulator and began working on it. I never finished the repair on this piece."
Building his very first clock at just 6 years old, combined with a genuine curiosity for "anything mechanical, "
.drove me to learn all I could about clock repairing," he said. 'The library was a great resource for me, but was limited on what was available on my chosen subject. I frequented any book sale that I could find and gathered all the magazines and books on clock repairs, reading and re-reading about the subject. I loved the sound of clocks and watching a clock mechanism operate."
Before Pine Knoll Clock Shop & Appraisals became his full-time profession, Dorrin was faced with doubt. "For awhile I was talked out of clocks being a way to make a living," he said. "It was the late 1970s and in theory, mechanical time pieces would be gone by the mid-1980s, replaced by electronic pieces that never needed repaired, wound and would be far more accurate than their mechanical counter parts. That advice I received was wrong!"
In 1981, Pine Knoll Clock Shop & Appraisals opened for business. And since, Dorrin has worked on more than 30,000 clock restorations and repairs. Dorrin shared, 'We have been chosen as a repair center for some of the largest clock manufacturers to include Howard Miller, Ridgeway Clocks, Sligh Clocks, Hentschel
Clocks and Anton Schneider Cuckoo
10 VALLEY VOICES
What is a work-related accomplishment that you are especially proud of? Having been in the field for 40 years, it is difficult to pinpoint one work-related accomplishment, but what I am most proud of is my longevity in this field, my reputation, the constant referrals I get from my clients and continued growth. I have been chosen to restore several historic pieces such as the large triad clock on the Joseph Hornes building in downtown Pittsburgh, a 200-yearold triple dial mantle clock, jeweler's regulator clock in the Chancellor's Residence at the University of Pittsburgh, a wonderful long case clock from the Harmonites in Harmony, and a Great Ogee style mantle clock for The Old Stone House in Slippery Rock.
What is a misconception people have about your career? When people hear that I repair clocks for a living, I am sometimes asked what my other job is. In truth, many clock tinkerers need a second job to make ends meet. I am good at what I do and work as many hours as two full-time jobs because of my reputation. For this I am very thankful and feel blessed beyond measure.
What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute your success to and why? My drive to succeed and not disappoint clients is my most notable attribute. I am not perfect, but I do work my best to achieve the best results for my clients and the pieces they have entrusted to me.
Where was your first job? My first job from which I received an actual paycheck was at Winky's on Bon Aire near Butler. I have worked several food service jobs and feel everyone should have a job like that so they know how to treat employees and understand what they [food service workers] are going through.
Who or what inspires you? Often I am asked what inspires me. Happy clients and referrals are my main inspiration to continue doing a great job, but what inspired me to take my clock repair to a full-time profession was when I worked as the purchasing manager for Wendell August. Bill Knecht and I had a great working relationship and I learned a lot from him on making a business a destination, not just a place to get something done or purchase something. When you visit my shop you will see interesting antique items on display, unique items to purchase and pleasant music playing. I have heard from many customers over the years that the shop and the surrounding grounds are so peaceful and almost magical. That is the result my wife and I are going for and we are always working to up our game. The plans for our growth in the next few years are grand and we can hardly wait to show our visitors!
How do you most enjoy to unwind after a busy day? When the day is done, I have dinner with my loving wife and then often retire to the front room with my dog on my lap to answer the dozens of emails and messages I get throughout the day. Winchester loves this routine and we are often joined by Dobby, my wife's dog — all of us together on that one worn recliner. During that time, any stress I have from the day just goes away.
What is something few people know about you? I am an ordained minister. That is a tale for another day, but I have plans for this and when I slow down on clock work, I will pick up on this aspect of my life.
What do you most enjoy about our region? What I enjoy most about this region is the diversity of seasons, people, architecture and life views. I lived in Germany for a few years while in the Air Force working with logistics on cruise missile weapons systems and loved the culture and region. Our place in western Pennsylvania reminds me of that a lot. We have a lot of growth happening in our area, which speaks volumes to people realizing how blessed we are in this area. When my family and I moved to our location on Route 58 between Grove City and Mercer, the typical car count a day was less than 100; now we are at nearly 5,000 a day. That says a lot about growth!
How do you define success? My definition of success is finding your calling, being happy in what you accomplish, and at the end of the day knowing you did your best, treated people fairly, and found a way to grow. Knowledge of your abilities, shortcomings and a plan to improve and carry out what has been put out for you is success. We all have a path to follow; we really need to understand that and follow it. Life is a great adventure. It took me many years to realize that and now that I have, I am a much happier person.
Dorrin continued, "All restorations and repairs are completed with the utmost care, sympathetic to each piece, its history, original construction and character. Each piece is treated as our own."
In 2015, Dorrin added full appraisal services to his business's offerings. "I have been interested in and restoring antiques nearly as long as I have clocks. As more and more clients were seeking certified appraisals on their pieces, I took the step, furthered my education and became a graduate-certified antiques appraiser, continuing my knowledge growth and ongoing education on trends and developments in the antiques world." Dorrin's educational accolades include degrees in business administration, computer science, logistics management and industrial engineering. He is a certified antiques appraiser as well as a
Fellow of the British Horological Society.
"My professional associations include the AWI, BHI, NAWCC and the 1 continue to review these groups and add to my memberships as I see a new opportunity appear that would help me to continue to grow in my chosen career," the horologist added.
When he isn't in the shop, Dorrin can be found spending time with his wife of 38 years, Patty, their dogs Winchester and Dobby, three house cats, one shop cat named Miss Mary, and "a very .angry gander named Harry, all in a 170-plus year-old Pennsylvania farm house with my shop right next to our house."
Dorrin and Patty have three grown children — two sons and a daughter as well as three grandsons. "I am a full-time horologist, Patty is an herbalist and we thoroughly enjoy where our paths have taken us," Dorrin said. V
Pine Knoll Clock Shop & Appraisals is located at 1749 Mercer Grove City Road, Mercer.
Information: 724.748.4058, visit Pineknollclocks.com or email Pineknoll@zoominternet.net.