Saving a 99-year-old clock
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Workers from Bartush Signs in Orwigsburg move the sign from inside the Tamaqua Historical Society Museum to be revitalized in preparation for its reattachment to the side of the former First National Bank building, now the current location of the Tamaqua Historical Society Museum.
Workers arrived at the Tamaqua Historical Society Museum late last week to pick up a large antique stained-glass clock sign which the Tamaqua Historical Society is sending out to be fully restored by Bartush Signs of Orwigsburg.
Tamaqua Historical Society President Dale Freudenberger gave a presentation to onlookers and press outside the museum during the move.
"This 99 year-old massive clock sign originally hung on the front of the First National Bank of Tamaqua, from 1911 to 1960," Freudenberger stated. Today, the old bank building is home to the museum at 118 West Broad St.
"About two years ago, the historical society was contacted by Lois Breiner of the South Ward section of Tamaqua," he said.
She told the society that she had the original clock from our building and wanted to donate it back to us. We were not sure what she was talking about because it was believed that the original clock from the front of the building had been sent to the scrap yard when it was removed by the property's then-current owner in 1960 during the merger and transition from the First National Bank of Tamaqua to the Miners National Bank of Pottsville."
"When several society members and myself went to visit Ms. Breiner, we confirmed that in her parent's garage, was the original large clock sign which once hung on the front of the old First National Bank building."
Breiner confirmed that her father, Henry Breiner, the assistant cashier for the bank in 1960, got permission to haul the old clock home when the bank decided to remove it and install a more modern clock on the building. Unknown to anyone in town, Henry Breiner kept the large and very heavy old timepiece in his garage for nearly 50 years. Henry was a collector of all types of old clocks and had them throughout his home.
After her parents died, Lois Breiner had the responsibility of cleaning out the family estate. She then thought of the Tamaqua Historical Society and contacted them to see if they were interested in having it back. The Tamaqua Historical Society was surprised to learn that the historic clock sign had survived after being hidden for so long. Society members were even more overwhelmed when Lois Breiner chose to donate the clock sign to the society in memory of her parents.
The large ornate brass-cased iron-skeleton clock sign measures approximately eight feet high, four feet wide and about 20 inches deep. The two faces of the double-sided clock and sign are handmade of colored stained glass with the words First National Bank, also of stained-glass, on both sides.
The clock was manufactured by the O.B. McClintock Co. of Minneapolis Minn. Moving the historic timepiece and sign to the museum was no easy task. Because of the sign's size and cumbersome weight, the society had to secure help from a forklift and four men to move it from Breiner's parent's garage to the Tamaqua Historical Society Museum building where it has prominently been on display inside until now.
Bartush Signs will fully restore the antique clock and sign to working order. The clock will then be remounted at its original location on the front of the historical society museum. The clock and sign will be visible all along West Broad Street. In addition to the restoration, improvements, and remounting of the clock and sign, the society also needs to have new electrical work done at the museum to accommodate the clock when it is installed, as well as relocating the present Tamaqua Historical Society sign for the museum, which hangs where the old clock was last hung 50 years ago.
The overall project will cost the society more than $6,000 to complete. Anyone who would like to contribute to the restoration project can send a donation to Tamaqua Historical Society, 114 West Broad St., Tamaqua, PA 18252. For more information, contact Freudenberger at (610) 597-6722 or stop by the museum any Tuesday from 7-9 p.m.