Inns and B&Bs – why don’t the clocks work?

Have you ever stayed at an inn or B&B? If you have you might have noticed those that have some sort of historical significance with furniture dating back a 100 years or more, have the odd antique or vintage clock. However, it frustrates me to no end to see them not running.

In the summer of 2014 my wife and I stayed at a beautiful century-old inn in Ganonoque, Ontario, Canada. There were at least 8 clocks in various locations within the inn. They were quite nice and appeared to be in good shape but none were running. A shame! Perhaps there are a number of reasons; clock(s) need(s) servicing / does not run, broken for whatever reason, laziness; staff cannot be bothered to keep them running, unsure how they work or fear of breaking the clock if staff attempt to wind or regulate it (them). I did not inquire.

I’m going to tell you about a pleasant exception we found on our travels. My wife and I were in Bar Harbor, Maine, USA in early June (2016) and I am delighted to say that I discovered that at the Bar Harbor Inn which is, I might add, a beautiful and stately inn prominently located on the village harbor(!), antique and vintage clocks inside the front room of the inn that were actually running.

RS June 2016 (23)
Bar Harbor Inn, Bar Harbor, Maine

I was so amazed that I stopped to examine the clocks without touching them, of course, and while doing so was approached by an elderly gentleman who identified himself as the bell captain. At the time (pun unintended) I was looking at what might be a German Mauthe long case round top, time and strike clock (please tell me if you know otherwise). He mentioned that it was brought over at the end of the Second World War by an American serviceman. Despite working at the inn for over 30 years and maintaining the clock on a weekly basis, he could not tell me the maker. He was no doubt enamored with the clock and obviously not concerned who made it.

RS June 2016 (128)
Possibly Mauthe tall case

He showed me another clock, a Seth Thomas time and strike which for some strange reason he was not permitted to wind or even touch for that matter. That duty was obviously left to a specially designated person since the clock must have had some particular relevance. Now, it doesn’t take much to wind a clock but some familiarity with how these old clocks work certainly goes a long way to preserving them.

RS June 2016 (129)
American Seth Thomas time and strike tambour style shelf clock

If you are, like myself, a clock person, the next time you are in an inn or B&B praise the owner / staff if the antique and vintage clocks are running or politely question why they are not. They deserve to be running.


One thought on “Inns and B&Bs – why don’t the clocks work?

  1. I’m sure that in my next trips, I’ll look for functional clocks! 🙂 I understand very well that feeling, because any collector would want the favorite things to be exposed, and functional. Regards, Catalin

    Liked by 1 person

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