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Just in time

The inability of the clocks on the exterior of Erwin Town Hall to keep the correct time has often been the “tock” of the town.
“The clocks had been giving problems since they were installed,” Erwin City Recorder Randy Trivette said. “There would be periods of time they would work correctly, but very limited. We had a maintenance contract in order to try to keep them running and they spent many hours working on the clocks.”
Town of Erwin officials recently considered repairing the clocks, but the cost proved to be prohibitive.
“We received a verbal estimate from our maintenance company. They said they could not repair the clocks that two of the motors were bad and would have to be completely rebuilt by sending them to a company up North at an estimated cost of $25,000 per motor,” Trivette said.
After reading a newspaper article which detailed the continued problems of the clocks, the high price tag of repairs and that the town considered replacing the clocks with the town’s logo, the time came for Unicoi County residents Norman O’Dell and Roger Cooper to see if they could help the town repair the clocks.
“This article began a thought process of how Erwin has been branded with the ‘Mary’ story, and now a clock story …” O’Dell said. “I thought that if the clocks could keep the correct time, that would be much better than substituting the logo.”
O’Dell said he approached Trivette about the possibility that he and Cooper could repair the clocks.
“I took Norman and Roger to the clock tower and they retrieved the serial numbers and model numbers off the motors for the clocks and began researching a company to rebuild the motors,” Trivette recalled.
What O’Dell and Cooper found was less than encouraging.
“On our first visit to the clock tower we found wiring in disarray and relays and breakers everywhere from repairs made by SimplexGrinnell, who were responsible for the installation and repair of the clocks,” O’Dell said.

For the remainder of this story please pick up the Jan 15, 2013 edition of The Erwin Record.