Tick tock treasure

Old Time Clock Shop brings clocks to life

Written by Sara Garrison | Photography by Visual Fusion Photographics

Events, appointments, activities and monumental moments basically, everything in our daily lives is based around time. As early as the 14th century, the world has used clocks as a way to track time. Many individuals wear a watch each day, and their homes are adorned with decorative clocks, functional clocks, even clocks on appliances in their kitchens.

Native Wichitan Scott Childs has turned his love of clocks into a business through his store Old Time Clock Shop. Childs spent 22 years in the military and another 21 years as the facilities manager at the Sedgwick County Zoo. While still at the Zoo, Childs opened the Old Time Clock shop in 1996 doing service calls during evenings and lunch hours.

Childs love for clocks began in the late 1960s when he was stationed with the Army in Germany. "At the time, the Germans didn't want anything old, so they would throw away their old, beautiful clocks. I would rescue these clocks from the trash and I would restore them," Childs explains. "While in Germany, I also bought a few clocks to add to my collection."

Childs is a self-taught clock restorer who read lots of books to teach himself how to repair clocks. While in Germany, his appreciation of clocks lead him to repair and restore clocks for the locals.

"I did a lot of clock repairs for locals in Germany because I was cheaper than the local clock repair shops," says Childs.

To broaden his knowledge of clocks and clock repair, in 1974 for one year, Childs served as an apprentice to a master clock maker in Maryland. He also taught a clock repair course at City Arts for 10 years.

"I enjoy the intricacy and precision of quality time keepers," explains Childs. "I love that someone without motorized tools could create such an intricate piece of history."

When you walk through the doors of the Old Time Clock Shop you witness the magic of more than 500 clocks displayed around the store, ticking to keep time. The clocks sold at the Old Time Clock Shop include pocket watches, new, antique and previously owned wall, mantle and grandfa- ther, animated, cuckoo, and novelty clocks. The oldest clock in the store dates back to 1792. "You have to visit the shop to experience it," says Mickey DeHook, Old Time Clock Shop patron.

"Scott is so knowledgeable and he did a terrific job repairing my clocks. The Old Time Clock Shop is a Wichita treasure. We are so lucky to have a store like this in our community."

In addition to sales, Old Time Clock Shop has an extensive repair business servicing nearly any kind of clock, from antiques to modern, mechanical to quartz, weight driven or wind-up clocks. Childs repairs and services about 2,500 clocks in his store each year.

Additionally, Childs makes about 20 in-home service calls on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week, at homes across Kansas and Oklahoma. In-home calls are made on clocks that are too large to transport to the store. House calls typically include grandfather, grandmother or large wall clocks. Servicing each clock usually takes about 30 minutes and includes disassembly of the clock, inspection, re-oiling, readjustment and reassembly. Last year, Childs serviced about 700 grandfather clocks.

Old Time Clock Shop also purchases antique clocks to resell at the shop. For individuals who would like to sell a clock, Child's encourages them to bring the clock to the shop.

Over the years Childs has experienced change in the clock business. Trends in sales have shifted as well as prices. "The recession really hurt the clock business," Childs explains. "Prices are below what they were in 2005."

When asked about his favorite clock, Childs explains, "My favorite clock is the precision regulator. It just keeps time, but has no bells and whistles." Daylight Savings Time will start on March 12.

For a clock shop with 500 clocks, the process of adjusting the time of the clocks can be extensive. Childs estimates the process takes about three hours as does winding the clocks each week.

"The interesting thing for me is to take a clock that is dead in the water and revive it to keep time again," says Childs. "It has been very satisfying for me having worked with clocks for over 50 years. I look forward to coming to work everyday."

For more information about the Old Time Clock Shop visit their store or their website at oldtimeclockshop.com.

Old Time Clock Shop
1946 W 13th St North
Wichita, KS
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10 A.M to 5 P.M.

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