SANBORTON — For about as many years as anyone can remember, an old marble-faced clock without hands hung on the wall next to the finance director's desk in the town offices.
A bag of spare parts, including the hands, were in a plastic bag somewhere in a desk drawer.
As of last night, the clock is now hanging behind the selectman's table in the meeting room — completely restored by hobby clock repairer Jesse Lacasse of Tilton.
While repairing the clock and researching its origins, Lacasse learned the clock was made by Robert Stuart Johnson and Richard Davis Johnson at their clock shop near Turkey Bridge in Sanbornton.
The Johnson brothers built the clock specifically for the town of Sanbornton in 1866 in The Old Clock Shop built by their father Simon in an area of town Selectman Chair Karen Ober said was a small village in the 1800s.
Lacasse said Richard Johnson, who was also a selectman, noted he was paid $10 to build the clock and worked on it for eight days.
As part of the research, the town was able to find a picture of Richard Johnson taken in 1905 at his workshop. An older man in his 70s with white hair, a white beard and wearing small wire-framed glasses, the black and white picture shows him working at a work bench filled with clock pieces and using the natural light from a window in his shop to see.
Lacasse, who, along with his wife Nikki, owns a shop in Tilton called The Prim Home, said working on old clocks has always been one of his favorite hobbies.
He said he heard about Sanbornton's clock from resident Rachael Swain, who happened to stop by his store one day.
Lacasse said he went to the town offices, spoke with Town Administrator Bob Veloski, and asked if he could fix the clock.
When asked what he did to repair it, Lacasse said, "mostly just a good cleaning, some adjustments, and some minor parts."
He said he reversed a few repairs that someone else had tried to make and replaced the glass door that was chipped. He said he used old glass so it is wavy like the original glass was.
He said clock door had been painted a glossy white and he stripped down the wood and restored it to its original color.
The one thing Lacasse was unable to fix was the original mercury-filled pendulum. He said mercury pendulums were used to compensate for humidity during the summer months when clock makers realized their clocks lost time in the summer.
As of last night, the Sanbornton clock is back on the wall. Lacasse said he still needs to fine-turn some of the timing of the pendulum but says he's fairly confident it will keep time once he makes the final tweaks.
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