Skuller's clock has kept time on Main Street since its installation in the early twentieth century. As a sentinel along the city's main commercial thoroughfare, its iconic face has witnessed many decades of change in Lexington's central business district.This sign placed to mark the clock's re-installation, 20 September 2013, by the City of Lexington Historic Preservation Commission.
Keeping Time on Main Street
In 1913, jeweler Harry Skuller opened a store on Limestone, eventually relocating the business to 115-119 West Main Street, a building that served as the jewelry store's home for five decades. Installed that same year as the jeweler's signature calling card, the Skuller's clock moved with the business and provided accurate time to passersby and to patrons on the bus line. The Brown Street Clock Company of Monessen, Pennsylvania, manufactured the cast iron and steel, dual-faced clock with the winder in its base and electric lighting behind the dials. The 14-foot-tall clock ran eight days with a single winding. In its early history, dimensional eyeglasses advertised the laboratory of optometrist Dr. L. H. Echols, associated with Skuller's. Over the years, various modifications to the timepiece included the addition of neon lettering.
In 1974, a violent storm swept through the downtown area, knocking the head off the clock, damaging other features including the signature eyeglasses. In order
to make the clock functional once again, Skuller's executed repairs and modernized the internal works. As the years passed, the clock ceased to work but remained part of Lexington's streetscape even though it no longer kept consistent time. In 2010, major infrastructure improvements along Main Street necessitated the removal of the clock from its location, and the City of Lexington Historic Preservation Commission adopted this significant landmark, raising the necessary funds and overseeing its restoration.
Restoring the Clock
Based on evidence in historic photographs and in the Brown Clock Company Catalogue, the Verdin Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, restored the clock in 2013, crafting missing elements to match the originals. Verdin repainted the clock its original black color and, with testing, matched the signature historic blue neon. Fabricators replaced the clock's missing eyeglasses and Lexington artist Eric Johnson created original art as the clock's new eyes. In the restoration, the timepiece received mechanized dawn-dusk on-off switches, a ten-year internal battery to retain time in the event of power failure, and an automated 100-year calendar to adjust for time changes.