When the WPUV clock disappeared from Pulaski Theatre about three months ago, board director Bob McKinney received a lot of questions as to its whereabouts.
The fact is, people who grew up in Pulaski have seen the clock hanging in the same place for so many years it doesn’t take long to notice when it’s gone. But after 61 years of keeping time, its 1952 Synchron motor simply burned out and the clock was taken down.
The story could have ended there if not for generous donations from the public and a lot of online searching and telephone calls to find a motor that would fit.
McKinney couldn’t recall how much the repairs ended up costing. However, the entire amount was covered by donations. A jar sitting on the concession stand counter during the last few events allowed theatre goers to contribute change from their purchases.
McKinney called the process of finding a motor that would work “interesting.” The first step involved taking the clock apart and trying to read the many numbers that were engraved on the motor using a magnifying glass. He discovered the only way to read them was to rub a pencil lead over them to darken the engravings.
A saving grace was that Synchron is still manufacturing motors. A problem, of course, was that the same model used in 1952 is no longer available.
That’s where a technician in Minnesota came into play. McKinney said he took a ruler and measured the motor in every direction possible so that the technician could find a motor that would fit in the same place the old motor was mounted.
Once a motor of the appropriate size was located, the company agreed to send it to the theatre with the condition that it could be returned if it didn’t fit.
The motor arrived last Saturday morning, Frank Howard of Pulaski repaired the clock, and McKinney had it back home on the theatre wall in time for the April 13 New River Valley Community Chorus concert.
“I’m glad to have it back,” he said.