Turning Back This Much Time Is No Easy Task
We turn back our clocks this weekend, marking an end for the year to Daylight Savings Time. It's hard enough to remember all the clocks in our own homes, but someone has a task that puts most of us to shame.
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If you're under the impression that you can't turn back time, you've probably never met Eric Hooker.
"You have to kind of have a sense about them. And it becomes a disease. You want one of everything."
It's almost crazy in a sense the number of clocks Hooker watches over, as curator of the Hoffman Clock Museum in Newark.
"We're probably showing 320, 330 clocks. I haven't gotten an exact count lately because we've added a bunch."
One thing is for certain: Hooker knows clocks.
"There's French clocks, Chinese clocks. We have industrial clocks. Master clock systems."
The museum was named after Augustus Hoffman, a jeweler, and collector of clocks.
"I'm pretty proud of what we've got here. We've got a lot of really, really nice pieces here."
That includes this prize: An organ clock, made in the early 1800s.
"Hadn't run for about 100 years. It's pretty unique. There's a lot of these in the United States, but probably only 15 or 20 working."
"One of the things we focus so hard on here is preserving the original character of the clock. Not just making it work, but conservation, bringing it back to what it was 100, 150 years ago,” said Dave Richardson, Hoffman Clock Museum.
When many of these clocks were first built, there was no such thing as Daylight Savings Time.
"The fall is the hardest time,” said Eric, with a laugh. "Yes, I'll be the one doing it, yeah."
In a clock museum, losing an hour, can mean losing your mind if you're not careful. Most old clocks cannot be turned counter-clockwise.
"In the spring, it's a lot easier. You just move them ahead an hour"
"Most folks today, when they want to know what time it is, whether you're a youngster or an oldster, you pull out your digital phone and check what time it is. And indeed if you want the exact time, that's the way to go,” Richardson said.
These clocks might not all work like clockwork. But at the museum, that's nothing to get wound up about.
"You have to give them a little maintenance and a little tender love and care, but they're still running,” said Hooker.