Someone stole the clockworks from the historic Carroll's clock at the Museum of History & Industry.
Time stands still at the Museum of History & Industry on the shores of Lake Washington. Or at least it appears to.
Sometime over the Christmas weekend someone — time bandits — stole the inner workings of the historic Carroll’s clock, which had been donated to the museum, say MOHAI officials, who are saddened at the theft.
Mercedes Lawry, MOHAI spokeswoman, said the thieves tried to pry off the back of the clock Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. When that didn’t work, they pried open the front of the clock and cut the metal that holds the clock works in place, stealing the parts and the 3-foot pendulum.
Lawry doesn’t know whether the thieves were after the clockworks or the brass, since there have been a rash of metal thefts over the past year.
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“It’s a dramatic 4-ton clock,” she said. “It’s very unfortunate.”
The 15-foot clock used to stand on Fourth Avenue and Pike Street in front of Carroll’s Jewelers in Seattle. Owner Herbert Carroll would wind the clock himself every Monday morning.
When the store went out of business, the Carrolls donated the clock to MOHAI and it was installed there in August 2008. It’s a mechanical clock and must be wound once a week.
The landmark clock was built in 1913 and installed in front of the jewelry store in 1915. It is one of just nine historic clocks remaining in Seattle, said Robert Ketcherside, a clock historian.
“I hope we can have its guts returned,” he said. “Even if replacements can be fabricated, it won’t be the same.”
Lawry said MOHAI will contact a clock expert to see if it can be repaired.
She said the theft was reported to Seattle police and officers checked eBay to see if any of the parts showed up for sale.
Ketcherside said the clock was built by Joseph Mayer, a Seattle jeweler who made many of the clocks that were displayed on Seattle streets. The clocks are slowly disappearing. One that stood in front of the Lake Union Cafe on Eastlake Avenue was hit by a truck and later disappeared, he said.
Pete Sorensen, a retired metal-shop instructor who has repaired the Carroll’s clock and other Seattle street clocks, said he will go to MOHAI today and inspect it.
The problem, he said, is it’s an almost-100-year-old clock and the inner workings are odd-sized and hard to replace. Without a pattern, it would be hard to make the parts, he said.
He said the clock could be replaced with an electric motor, but that would diminish its historical nature.
Sorensen believes the workings weren’t taken for the metal value. It would only be a few pounds “and you could get more brass off a plaque at a cemetery,” he said.
He believes thieves targeted the clock workings. “Somebody wanted it pretty badly, ” he said, “especially since they took the pendulum.”
Susan Gilmore: 206-464-2054 or firstname.lastname@example.org