September 24, 2015 7:21 pm
Robert Tubbs, of Streator, owns and operates Tick Tock Time, a clock repair shop. He moved to Streator in 1992 from Aurora and started his collection one year later.
"Clock repair is my passion and I take great pride in the work I do," Tubbs said. "I enjoy every aspect of fixing a clock and hearing that chime when I'm done or the sound of a bird's cuckoo knowing I just fixed another piece of history."
Q. What kinds of repairs do you do with clocks and what kinds of clocks are your specialty?
A. I can fix any kind of clock, mantle, grandfather, wall clock and cuckoo clocks. I specialize in cuckoo clocks, and as for repairs I can do anything, plus cleaning and oiling.
Q. How did you get interested in this type of work and how long have you been doing it?
A. I got interested in clocks when I saw the collection Dean Carlson had, they were amazing. So I started collecting and repairing clocks on my own in 1993. I have been at it for 22 years, and I have acquired quite a collection myself. But as with any type of work there is always something else to learn.
Q. How did you learn how to repair clocks?
A. I took an Internet course and a lot of hands-on work. Hands on is always the best experience.
Q. How long does a typical repair take and what does it involve?
A. A typical repair will always require me to remove the movement and place it on the test stand, but each repair is different because no one clock is the same as the other. Repairs can take anywhere from 30 minutes to multiple days. The only thing that is the same is the cleaning and oiling process.
Q. What qualities do you think it takes to do this kind of work and why?
A. It takes a lot of patience and a steady hand to do this job. There are a lot of small moving parts and one little mistake could turn a simple job into a very long, complicated job. The tools to do most jobs are just general tools, but some are specific to just clock repair.
Q. Can you tell us about any particular project you are most proud of and the details of it?
A. My favorite project would have to be Cogsworth! My roommate was watching "Beauty and the Beast" and I saw Cogsworth, so I decided since I had extra wood laying around I would make a Cogsworth clock of my own. I cut all the pieces individually then glued and nailed them together. Step two was to draw a face and paint it. After all that was done I bought a special movement for it, so instead of normal clock chimes every hour I was able to record the "Beauty and the Beast" theme song. So now on every hour you hear the movie's theme song. It took me about a month or so to get it completed. Cogsworth is on display in the children's department at the Streator Public Library.