Unwound in Shutdown, Capitol Clock Stops

Thursday, 10 Oct 2013 08:52 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Time stopped in the U.S. Capitol this week, a victim of the federal shutdown.

Curators who wind the Senate's 11-foot-tall, nearly 200-year-old Ohio Clock every week have been furloughed, Roll Call reported Thursday.

The stately mahogany timepiece was last wound Monday, Sept. 30 and froze at 12:14 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

The Ohio Clock dates to 1815, when Sen. David Daggett asked for a clock with "the dial to be about two feet in diameter, an hour, minute and second hand, a Spread eagle on the top and the United States arms at foot."

It was installed in the newly restored chamber in 1819 and transferred to its current location in 1859, where it often serves as a landmark for reporters and senators alike, who gather almost daily in the "Ohio Clock corridor." Senators hold formal press conferences there -- and reporters crowd around other lawmakers who are just passing through.

In 1983, the Ohio Clock was stilled by a bomb that exploded outside the Senate chamber, shattering its glass front but not damaging its works beyond repair, NBC said

At least 10 other historic timepieces are under the care of the chamber’s curators, including a steel-faced, 7-foot-tall floor clock outside the President’s Room and the gilded-frame gallery clock in the Old Senate Chamber, Roll Call noted.

The clock in Vice President Joe Biden's ceremonial office is also among the historic timepieces that have stopped ticking, NBC said.

The head curator emailed the Secretary of the Senate's office ahead of the furloughs to say that the clocks would likely stop after a week, NBC reported.

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