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Industrial Vintage Collectibles Clock Works and Other Mechanical Antiques

Industrial Vintage Collectibles

My Church's Tower Clock

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Old 09-22-2019, 10:36:19 PM
The Diesel Doctor The Diesel Doctor is offline
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Default My Church's Tower Clock

After church today at Makawao Union Church, Paia, Maui, I went up in the tower to check the clockworks. It's a two-faced Seth Thomas that was installed in 1917. It keeps very good time with little adjustment. It is lubricated with whale oil. The church has a permit to use the oil. Seth Thomas products must have been grandfathered after its use was banned. Only the west facing hands are hooked up. (pic# 4) The east side faces the trade winds and the face and hands being made of iron deteriorated very fast they have been removed. Note patch on the east wall (pic# 6) S/N 2017 in the Seth Thomas clock registry shows shipping info and assembly pieces. March 12 1916 Spalding Construction Co Kahululi, Maui, T.H. % Matson Navagation, Bn ED. % Santa Fe.
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Last edited by The Diesel Doctor; 09-23-2019 at 01:46:20 PM. Reason: More information
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Old 09-23-2019, 08:02:23 AM
georgineer georgineer is offline
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Default Re: My churches tower clock

That's a handsome clock. How do you get a supply of whale oil these days, or are you managing on existing stock?

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Old 09-23-2019, 10:08:29 AM
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Onan Dan Onan Dan is online now
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Default Re: My churches tower clock

The Church is Beautiful and the surroundings amazing how long those clocks will run when taken care of Thank you
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:23:51 AM
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Default Re: My churches tower clock

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, with many photos . . .

Makawao Union Church is a church near Makawao on the Hawaiian island of Maui. It was founded by New England missionary Jonathan Smith Green during the Kingdom of Hawaii. The third historic structure used by the congregation was designed by noted local architect C.W. Dickey and dedicated in 1917 as the Henry Perrine Baldwin Memorial Church. In 1985, Makawao Union Church was placed on the Hawaii[2] and National Register of Historic Places.[1]

In 1870, Henry Perrine Baldwin his wife, Emily Alexander Baldwin, and their children joined the church. Henry served as organist for over forty years. Baldwin and his brother-in-law became wealthy co-founders of Alexander & Baldwin. On January 5, 1878, Rev. Green died; Asenath Green would maintain the church until she died in 1894, and then daughters Mary and Laura.[3]
His son Joseph Porter Green (1833–1886) served at the church and was elected to the legislature of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1860.[4]
In 1888, Baldwin offered the church a site for a new building, on the foundation of the former Paliuli Sugar Mill near what is now called Rainbow Gulch and Rainbow County Park.[5] The mill was named for Pali uli (literally "green cliff"), the place in Hawaiian mythology roughly equivalent to the garden of Eden.[6]
This church, a New England style white frame structure, was dedicated on March 10, 1889. The Pāʻia Community House, finished in hardwood on the inside, was built in 1914 adjacent to the church. The Community House, with its large auditorium and 40-foot (12 m) deep stage was used for plays, operettas, school graduations, concerts, lectures, silent movies, and dances. The site of the old church, 20°51′42″N 156°18′46″W became the cemetery. Later the Maui Veteran's Cemetery was built adjacent to the church cemetery.
A native Hawaiian pastor John Kalama served at both Makawao and Poʻokela until his death in 1896.[7] The original building stood until about 1900.
The "Daily Bulletin Newspaper, Honolulu Oct 2, 1889 pg3 Announced the purchase of a new pipe organ built for the church, by the NY firm of Roosevelt. A small organ of one manual/pedal & 6 speaking stops. This being purchased, by Baldwin while he was in New York, he paid a visit to the organ Company.

The frame church was razed in 1916 and construction began immediately on a new Gothic Revival style structure. The new building was designed by architect Charles William Dickey (1871–1942), whose mother was Emily Baldwin's sister.[8] It has been called "one of his more outstanding works." The stone church was dedicated on September 2, 1917. It was about the same size as the frame building, and also used the original Paliuli Mill foundation. Henry Alexander Baldwin (known as "Harry"), Henry Perrine's son, was featured speaker, along with William Hyde Rice. The organ was donated in the memory of Harry Baldwin's sons Jared Smith Baldwin (1889–1914) and Leslie Alexander Baldwin (1898–1901).[9]
The walls were built of reinforced concrete with native basalt lava rock veneer. The roof was covered in slate from Vermont. Four stained glass windows and the bell were reused from the old building. A Seth Thomas clock has three faces on the Norman style tower. The main entry is through oak doors in the tower.[10]
Austin Craig Bowdish was the pastor at the dedication. Augustine Jones became a pastor in 1921. The 1938 Maui earthquake[11] damaged the community house, but not the stone church.
On June 29, 1985, Makawao Union Church was placed on the Hawaii Register of Historic Places as site 50-05-1610,[2] and December 17, 1985, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Hawaii as site 85003227.[1] It now calls itself an "interdenominational, community church with Congregational heritage".[12] As of 2010 the pastor was Rev. Dave Schlicher.[13] The road past the church was named Baldwin Avenue for the Baldwin family. It is located at 1445 Baldwin Avenue, Makawao, Hawaii, 20°53′32″N 156°21′3″W.


Seth Thomas (1785 – 1859) was an American clockmaker and a pioneer of mass production at his Seth Thomas Clock Company. Thomas was born in Wolcott, Connecticut in 1785. He was apprenticed as a carpenter and joiner and worked building houses and barns. He started in the clock business in 1807, working for clockmaker Eli Terry.[1] Thomas formed a clock-making partnership in Plymouth, Connecticut with Eli Terry and Silas Hoadley as Terry, Thomas & Hoadley.[1][2]
In 1810, he bought Terry's clock business, making tall clocks with wooden movements, though he chose to sell his partnership in 1812, moving in 1813 to Plymouth Hollow, Connecticut, where he set up a factory to make metal-movement clocks. In 1817, he added shelf and mantel clocks. By the mid-1840s, he changed over to brass from wooden movements. He made the clock that is used in Fireman's Hall. He died in 1859, whereupon the company was taken over by his son, Aaron, who added many styles and improvements after his father's death. The company went out of business in the 1980s.

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Old 09-23-2019, 05:53:15 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Default Re: My Church's Tower Clock

Whale oil is one of the best lubricants ever used. It can't be made, only harvested from whales by direct removal or by rendering the oil from the blubber or whale fat. Right whales were called so because there was a large reservoir of fine oil within their heads. Whale oil was used in automatic transmissions of all manufacturers until the mid-1960s when whale hunting was banned due to overhunting. Although the ban on whaling was supposed to be worldwide, the Japanese have relatively ignored the ban, due to their need for food and byproducts. Native Indians are allowed to hunt for a given season, although their harvest is limited in scope compared to the japanese fleet of whalers.

As far as I know, it is illegal to import whale products unless you have a special permit to do so. back in the 17 and 18th centuries, whale oil was used in lamps, much like the use of kerosene was used in the early 20th century. it did produce a better light and did not smell like Kerosene did though. As for a lubricant, many fine clocks and watches used it. there was and is no better lubricant, and man had not been able to duplicate it.
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:35:31 PM
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ulgydog56 ulgydog56 is offline
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Default Re: My Church's Tower Clock

Built by craftsmen to last and keep good time, I've seen that on big ben they use old English coins and set them on top of the weights to adjust time by a second or two and it works perfectly.
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Old 09-24-2019, 12:34:12 AM
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Back in the late 60s, the old farm that I bought had a 1932 John Deere GP. Cleaning it up and getting it ready to run, I went to an old local dealership, that had people that "knew" about the tractor and in fact, they even had a set of N.O.S. pistons and other parts on hand for it, although I didn't "need" them right then. Anyway, I remember discussing with them which oil to use in the transmission. Answer: whale oil.
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