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The First One for September 2009
Photos: Left. Jim Schumann’s Waterbury Rosedale tambour. Right. Jim shows off his clock atop the mantel.
It was a Saturday in 1963 or 1964 and my father was going to his father’s house in Cleveland. My grandfather had died several months earlier, and the nine siblings were meeting (without their spouses) to divide “Pa’s” possessions. The one sister and eight brothers decided to conduct an “inside auction” and use the money collected to have a party for all the uncles, aunts, and cousins.
I was a college student at the time and of course had limited funds. Before my father left I asked him to try to purchase the clock that had been sitting on the living room fireplace mantel throughout my childhood. He asked why I wanted it, and I said it was always chiming when we visited, and it reminded me of the good times we all had at Grandpa’s house. He asked me what I would pay for it and without much thought I said ten dollars.
Later that day Dad returned with an assortment of tools and other miscellaneous items. He said “I have your clock and you owe me a nickel.” I was delighted and asked how he obtained it so cheaply. He said that his brother, my Uncle Clarence, said the clock no longer ran, Dad offered a nickel, and no one else bid. In a little ceremony I gave Dad a nickel. He told me at that time that the clock was purchased shortly after his parents moved into the house in 1922 and it had chimed throughout his childhood, too.
In the summer of 1965 I got married and brought the clock to my new apartment. I stripped off the old varnish and then waxed the clock. The face was badly stained (my grandfather was a cigar smoker), so I removed it from the case and rinsed it under a faucet. To my dismay all the numbers disappeared! I could still see the outline of the numbers and repainted them with India ink. The clock was taken to a local clock collector/repairman and with a good cleaning of the works has been faithfully keeping accurate time ever since.
I had been searching for a duplicate of this Waterbury tambour, called Rosedale, for many years so I could replace the face and bezel. Finally, at a Chapter 10 and 28 Regional in Akron I found a very forlorn twin, but the face and bezel were in excellent condition. When my present house was built, a niche was designed for the clock above the master bedroom fireplace and there it proudly sits. My “grandfather clock” was the first of over 70 clocks in my collection, and although it is of minimal value, I would not part with it for any offer. —Jim Schumann (OH)