Perfect Timing

July 24, 2009
By

JOHN RUCH

Street clock is finally fixed

JP CENTER—The new 1930s-style street clock in front of Citizens Bank is finally fixed after showing the wrong time for months following its unveiling last November.

The clock, an old-fashioned, non-electric timepiece, had a mechanical problem that is now repaired. It also now has a regular clock-winder: Jeffrey Ferris, the local business owner and community activist who also winds the tower clock at the First Church in Jamaica Plain Unitarian Universalist.

Ferris, owner of Ferris Wheels Bike Shop, recently showed the Gazette the key he uses to wind the street clock. It looks like a small version of a normal house key, except with an unusual oval-shaped head. Ferris said the key is so unusual in modern times that when he went to a lock shop to get a copy made, the closest available blank key was for a Ford Fairlane—an automobile that went out of production nearly 40 years ago.

The street clock sits atop a tall pole at 696 Centre St. It consists of a new, historic-looking casing built around an actual 1930s clockwork—but not the long-lost original clockwork that once stood on the same spot for decades.

The new clock replaced a similar electrical model on the spot that was removed in 2006. That clock also suffered mechanical problems. It also leaked electricity into the sidewalk, reportedly delivering shocks to dogs.