Grandmother clock gets a ‘granddaughter’

Meedhu Miriyam Joseph
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For five years, 57-year-old K. Thyagarajan ideated on how to innovate on the antique Grandmother’s clock. For this clock mechanic from Paruthipara in the city, it would not have been a challenge, what with 35 years of experience in the field.

But building a Grandmother’s clock that is hardly three-inches-and-a-half tall and weighing 30 g, and making sure it still showed the right time after carefully winding it with a crank smaller than a safety pin was indeed a challenge for him.

“I wanted to make something innovative and decided to create a miniature model of my favourite pendulum clock, an antique piece that I have at home. I knew that creating a battery-operated model was easy and the challenge was to work out a model with a winding key, which requires much precision for it to work properly,” said the mechanic, a high-school drop out.

“The reason why I did not venture into making one even when the idea was in my mind for many years is because I was not sure if my practical experience alone would suffice to achieve my goal. But then I decided to give it a try,” said Mr. Thyagarajan, who runs his own clock-repair shop. However, this is not the first time that he has taken up such challenges. In 1982, he designed a clock on the model of the famous ‘methan mani’ or the clock tower opposite the Padma Theertham at East Fort.

He agreed that much thought had gone into understanding the original work, which has two goats and a butcher’s face engraved on it. Whenever the clock strikes, the goats hit the butcher’s face from both sides and he opens his mouth. In 1987, he was tasked with the maintenance work of an age-old clock at the Padmanabhapuram palace in Kanyakumari district.

Mr. Thyagarajan’s creation has already received much attention from his friends and family, who are encouraging him to take up the challenge of building an even smaller clock. And Thyagarajan says he has already started working on the model.




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