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West Shore Man All Wound Up About His Business - abc27 WHTM

West Shore Man All Wound Up About His Business

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Mervin Brubaker says most first time visitors to his "Clock Doctor" shop have three basic questions: "How old is their clock? What's it worth? Can I fix it?"

And each clock presents a challenge the retired high school teacher has welcomed for more than three decades.

"Whether it is teaching physics or whether it's looking for a problem in a clock that doesn't work," said Brubaker, "to solve the problem was always a passion of mine."

Along with Brubaker's passion for repair is his appreciation for the history of clocks.

"The purpose of a clock's chime or gong was to interrupt you and tell you what time it was," he explained. "Not to be pretty."

In addition to walls full of clocks under repair, Brubaker's personal collection includes a replica of a chronograph used on 18th century sailing vessels and an antique "fire clock" that kept time with a fuel burning flame.

Brubaker says clocks are very personal to their owners and he treats them accordingly. With every clock through his door, he says, there's a story.

"Most often his clients have inherited the clock," he said. "Or they bought the clock. Or, perhaps, got it as a gift."

On most days, the "Clock Doctor" begins his "morning rounds" in a section of his work shop he calls the "recovery room."

"This is a West Minster chime clock. This plays Big Ben," said Brubaker, pointing out one of several running clock interiors being tested for accuracy.

When the clocks are ready to be discharged and sent home, Brubaker briefs the owners on proper clock care, including the proper way to wind them.

"Either they wind them too tightly or they don't wind them tightly enough," he said.

And for larger units like grandfather clocks, Brubaker does make house calls. He is quick to acknowledge that his work involves a lot of time and sometimes tedious detail, but says it's all worth the effort.

"The people that you repair clocks for are very appreciative of what you do for them."

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