Mumbai: 20th century clock gets new life at BEST Transport Museum

Updated: Dec 15, 2017, 09:48 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

The Goldsmiths & Silversmiths clock with an arched brass dial and pendulum has been restored and set in working condition at the BEST Transport Museum

A beautiful longcase clock from the early 20th century, crafted by Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co Ltd in London, is the latest addition to the BEST Transport Museum at Anik bus depot. Yatin Pimple, the museum curator, first spotted the antique at BEST's time-keeping department in Wadala and was enchanted by its arched brass dial, pendulum, weights and key.

The clock features an arched brass dial, pendulum, weights and key that have all been restored to full working condition
The clock features an arched brass dial, pendulum, weights and key that have all been restored to full working condition

"As soon as I saw it, I knew it was valuable. It had to be brought to the museum. I convinced my colleagues at the clock repairs section that this clock would be a matter of pride and should be put on display at the transport museum, so students and researchers can see it on their visits," said Pimple.

BEST officials said that the clock was originally used at the Kussara Bunder office at Mazgaon, from where it was shifted to Parel. No one is sure when it was shifted to the time-keeping department, or how long the antique had been in disrepair until Pimple spotted it. "Once I got permission, I personally got the various parts transported delicately, and then put it together with the help of other technicians. The clock had to be cleaned up, oiled, assembled, and then put to work," explained Pimple.

The pendulum clock consists only of mechanical parts and weights that function in absolute harmony to tell accurate time, and despite its age, the clock will require minimal maintenance. Today, it stands proudly along one of the museum's pillars, as staffers explain its workings to curious visitors. The creators of the clock, Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co Ltd, was originally established in 1880 in London, and later took over several businesses from diamond and gem merchants, watchmakers, etc.

Not much is known about this clock, but the museum is also home to a rare clock made by E Howard Company, a US-based firm that is now defunct. This clock even has the words Bombay Tramway Company impressed on it. The Howards clock, manufactured in Boston, was in use at the planning department office at Colaba, and has been in service since 1874. It is valued at over Rs 75 lakh.

Why BEST needs a time-keeping dept
The BEST Undertaking has several clocks across its various offices. Bus schedules are maintained on the basis of these clocks.

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