"SPARE MOMENTS" Apostolic Clock

By Verna Eugenia Mutch

Hobbies - The Magazine for Collectors, January, 1938

      A few years ago there lived a man in Buffalo, N. Y., who built what might be called a monument to spare moments. His name was Myles Hughes. Watches and clocks always had had a strange fascination for him, and he seemed to be able to give an almost magic touch to old, discarded time-pieces that would set them to ticking once more. In the year 1881 he conceived the idea of modeling a small clock somewhat on the order of the famous one in the cathedral in Strassburg, Germany. But Myles Hughes was employed in the engineering division of the city of Buffalo, so work on the clock could be done only after office hours. He worked on it every spare moment, and it was 35 years in the making!

      On the great brass face of the clock are recorded, not only the hour, minute, and second of the current day, but the day of the week, the date of the month, and the month of the year; also the rising and setting of the moon and sun, according to the season, with astronomical accuracy. There is a globe mounted beneath which makes a revolution once every 24 hours.

      But it is not these features, remarkable as they are, that attract the groups of people, old and young, big and little, as the hands of the clock move toward the hour. It is the top of the clock their eyes are intent upon. The top of the clock is modeled to represent a cathedral. On either side is a door Gothic-arched, and in the center stands the Christ. On the stroke of the hour the door to the left opens and the twelve apostles emerge from the depths of the cathedral, and as each one passes the Savior, he turns and bows reverently to Him, and He bows in return. All but Peter. Peter is in the middle of the procession and carries the keys of Heaven, which destinguishes him from all the rest. As Peter advances, the Devil leans out through the window over the door at the left, as if to attract Peter's attention, which he evidently does, for when Peter passes the Savior, he turns his back. He tarries a moment, and as he does so, there appears on a white disk high above the Savior's head, the legend: Deum Non Cognosco (I do not know the Lord). The Devil reappears in another window after the denial to reassure Peter as he enters the cathedral once more, on the right. When the last of the Twelve is out of sight, the doors close again for another hour.

      The procession lasts 2 1/2 minutes, during which time a bell keeps tolling. It is very impresive, and everyone seems to be pondering in silence what the little girl, watching it, asked aloud, "What happens to Peter?"

      The clock is made of oak, mahogany, black walnut and cedar, and is handsomely carved. It is eight feet high and weighs 400 pounds. Engraved on a tiny brass plate above the face of the clock are the words:

Spare Moments
Made by Myles Hughes
133 Breckenridge St., Buffalo, N. Y.

      A few weeks before his death in 1923, Mr. Hughes donated the clock to the Buffalo Historical Society, where now all visitors to Buffalo have the privilege of seeing it in the Society's stately museum.

Spare Moments, Apostolic Clock

Submitted by: Samuel Kirk (2006-07-02 23:52:28)