On Tuesday, 01 June, Jim Simpson welcomed Richard Dupp as our Guest Speaker. Via Zoom, he spoke to us about his connection with the Lighthouse Festival Theatre and in particular, his work to resurrect the old town clock that graces the tower in the middle of Port Dover - see the "Read more ..." tab for added information.
The topic was of great community interest and the speaker was enthusiastic & engaging - this resulted in a terrific question period.
In appreciation for Rick's community support and this presentation, Ross Gowan offered our thanks and noted that we had contributed funds in his name, to our Operation EyeSight project; this to restore the vision of a senior lady in India.
Rick Dupp is a fan of old town clocks. Rick retired as Head of the Industrial Millwright Program at Mohawk College. Living in Port Dover and active with Lighthouse Festival Theatre as a volunteer and actor, it went against all he stood for that the time displayed on the old town clock had read 4:20 for over a decade. After all, the virtual background behind him is the celestial clock in Prague that had been keeping time for 600 years.
In 2015, Rick exclaimed to the theatre's Artistic Director Derick Ritschel and General Manager Helen Wagner - our clock is only 109 years old - I'm going up there to fix it! As our speaker today, Rick told us the history of the clock, the bell before it, town fundraising and how he got it working again. Story and pictures below!
Rick Dupp is the retired as Head of the Industrial Millwright Program at Mohawk College.
In 1889, the town's folk raised $600.00 and Council put in $140.00. Time past, but finally E. Howard Watch and Clock Co. of Boston, Massachusetts was contracted to design and produce the four face clock installed in 1906 incorporating the town's bell from Powel Park (the bell had been cast in 1869).
It's an eight day clock. So Rick climbs into the belfry each Sunday to wind up the weights, reset the time (because the time escape 60 pound pendulum's speed is affected by temperature and weather). Left - the east clock face gears driving the hour and minute hands. Center, the Powel Park Bell as incorporated into the original design. Right - the 40 pound (18.15 kg) bell striking hammer.
There were no "bats in the belfry" the first time that Rick went up there. However, corpses of flying insects (midges) which had piled up over many years, more than ankle deep, had to be vacuumed out over several days. Initially Rick fixed/cleaned/lubricated just ten key elements and clock was working again. Port Dover and Norfolk County thank you!
Above cables support and wind up weights that run the the clock and bell chimes. These weights hang inside separately enclosed chutes below the clock tower. The clock's time keeping original design operated with 250 pounds of suspended plates - reducing over ages - currently it only needs 150 pounds. However, the bell striking still requires 1,000 pounds - reduce by a four part pulley system for winding up as 250 pounds. Another modern improvisation, instead of the hand crank, Rick uses an electric drill to wind up the weights.
"String"? The bell is designed to chime on the half hour 48 times per day. This clashed with live theatre matinees and evening performances. Rudimentary but effective the timing mechanism was permanently silenced by tying it off in the 1990's. Today, for said $50 in parts, Rick installed an electric solenoid, set to activate the mechanism at 9 AM, 12 noon and 5 PM - theatre problem solved - history still chimes!
Rick's work is ongoing. He and another local craftsman plan to cast/machine critical new brass bearings/parts that will keep the clock going for another 100 years.