Repairman Found Time For a Second Career

Camden Courier-Post – May 28, 2004

Former accountant is responsible for clocks atop Camden City Hall

By Luis Puga

If you are looking up at the skyline of the city, it’s hard to miss one of the four clocks that grace the top of City Hall. They’re a good indicator for 1-676 commuters as to whether they’ll be on time.

Ever wonder what makes them tick?

For the past 24 years, it has been Charles Haines, a Morrisville, Pa., resident who operates Haines Clock Repair.

A self-taught clock repairman who got bored with accounting, Haines cares for only a couple of big clocks in the area. And, to be honest, the four clocks atop Camden City Hall may not be the most interesting.

If you think the top of the building is graced by giant gears and weights, you’ll be disappointed by a trip to the 18th floor.

“I am not really thrilled that (these clocks) are electric,” said Haines.

For such mechanical wonders, you might take a trip to the Burlington City’s Endeavor Fire Company No. 1 or the Gloucester County courthouse in Woodbury, Haines said.

The motors that drive Camden’s four clocks fit into a room the size of a broom closet, where Haines makes his adjustments and generally finds that the clocks run well.

“Three of them do, at least,” he said. The clock facing the county’s administration building and Broadway is a little testy because of a poor bearing.

But, for the most part, the clocks are on time, even if the public feels differently.

Haines, who makes trips up and down the City Hall elevator to double-check his work, was staring at one of them from outside when a woman came up to him and said, “Don’t bother looking at those things. They are never right.”

Haines generally comes in to turn the clocks forward at the beginning of daylight savings time and back when standard time returns.

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