In the summer of 1908, when horses still populated Broadway, building lots near downtown were selling for $400, the Hannibal Chautauqua executive committee was selling season tickets for $2 each, a five-room house could be purchased for $600 – with $150 down, 80 acres of prime Illinois farmland just one mile east of Hannibal was valued at $65 per acre, and travelers could go from Hannibal to Denver via the Burlington Route for $23.45 round trip.
That same June, the Hannibal Courier-Post offered subscribers a unique premium: A Mission Clock.
The clock featured a solid oak case with an Old Mission Finish, a dial 13 inches square, sold brass eight-day sessions movements, brass hands, numerals and pendulum bulb. The clock, which strikes on the hour and half hour, features a cathedral gong.
To obtain this $10 clock, subscribers were invited to visit the Courier-Post office and speak to a circulation representative.
Loretta Redmon has one of the clocks in her family, which was handed own from her mother. “Mom wanted to make sure it stayed in the family,” she said, and Loretta has repected her mother’s wishes.
Bob Yapp of Hannibal recently came across one of the clocks, and had Dave Miller’s staff at Ralls County Clock make repairs so he could hang it in his home. “It keeps perfect time,” Yapp said.
Wikipedia describes the Arts and Crafts movement as a trend that “stood for traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often applied medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration. It advocated economic and social reform and has been said to be essentially anti-industrial.”
The popularity of the straight lines and solid wood associated with with the movement have found a resurgence in recent years, gaining the respect of new generations of furniture buyers.
Old clocks need TLC
While the appearance of the clocks is easy to manage, the inner workings need TLC from time to time.
Matt Walden, store manager for Ralls County Clock on North Main Street in Hannibal, is one of the technicians who make repairs to old clocks.
“Most of the clocks that have come have been nothing more than service jobs,” he said. “They are, dirty, gummed up. Clocks get dry, and we run them through our cleaner. That’s pretypical for old clocks. We inspect all the moving parts, re-lube and oil and make adjustments, and tweak run them until they are running good.
“A lot of people do not know the age or manufacturer” of their old clocks,” Walden said. “Some people have had them for years, or they were in the family, and they’re curious to know what they have and what it will take to get them running again. We try to find as much history as we can so they will know how old the clock is, we tell people about clock itself. We do research and let people know what they do have.”
Page 2 of 2 - Walden said even the torn up sidewalks downtown this summer haven’t stopped people from coming in with their clocks.
“People drive here from St. Louis, Macon, Illinois and Iowa. With our stores in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and Jacksonville, Ill., clocks are non-stop coming in and going out.
The typical time frame for making repairs to an old clock, such as the arts and crafts clock given away as a premium by the Courier-Post in 1908, is four to six weeks.
“Most of the clocks are 8-day clocks,” Walden said. We don’t want to rush them out the door. We want to work all the bugs out while the clocks are in the shop.”