Rural Missouri - March 2021 - 10

Sean Barnes works on an unusual clock movement at his repair shop in Cape Girardeau. He never knows what will come in the door for repair.

Time on their hands
S&N Clocks puts the tick-tocks back into clocks
typical day at S&N Clock Repair in Cape Girardeau. This
family business includes Sean's wife, Nancy, and son,
Dylan, who together keep a steady stream of rebuilt clocks
hey hang on walls, perch on mantels and form
moving out the door.
the focal point for a room. For centuries clocks in
" It started as a hobby, " Sean recalls of his entry into
all their forms have been marking the passage of
clock repair. " I started with cuckoo clocks, that's what I
time with a solid tick-tock. But with each beat of
learned on. Then I kind of went up from there. One day, I
the mechanism, the stress of the springs and
was working on them and I had them in the house then.
weights pulls against the gears. Eventually
My wife said, 'you've got to stop.' She said we were runthe tiny bushings wear, a torqued axle snaps
ning out of room. "
in half or maybe a spring grows weak and
Sean's fascination with clocks had grown so
breaks.
much that the collection was out of control. " I
Then the measured beat falls silent and the
don't even know how many he had, " says Nancy,
hourly chimes sound no more.
Cape
continuing the story. " More than I can rememIronically, time is the worst enemy for these
Girardeau
ber. Close to 100. We have over 200 in our
keepers of the hours and minutes, precious
personal collection now. We feel that every room
heirlooms passed down for generations. Once
needs a clock. Or several clocks. "
every small town had a clocksmith whose job was
Sean takes over, saying, " Me being me at that point in
to put these complicated clockworks back into service.
time, I said, 'I'll show her.' So, I started working on them
Now they are becoming fewer and farther between.
for other people. Then I started making more money at
Business is good for those who remain, and that's why
that than my desk job. And one of the girls where I worked
Sean Barnes wakes at 3 a.m. to get a head start on a

by Jim McCarty | jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop

T

10

RURAL MISSOURI | MARCH 2021



Rural Missouri - March 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - March 2021

Contents
Rural Missouri - March 2021 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - March 2021 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - March 2021 - Contents
Rural Missouri - March 2021 - 4
Rural Missouri - March 2021 - 5
Rural Missouri - March 2021 - 6
Rural Missouri - March 2021 - 7
Rural Missouri - March 2021 - 8
Rural Missouri - March 2021 - 9
Rural Missouri - March 2021 - 10
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Rural Missouri - March 2021 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - March 2021 - Cover4
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