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  Reader's letter | February 2006 | Clocks Magazine

Absolute beginners

I was glad to read in your editorial in the current issue that there is going to be a series of articles now for the absolute beginner. That’s great and I am sure that the circulation of the magazine will increase greatly because of it.

Do you intend to have terms explained and to compile a glossary? If so, you could be starting an extremely valuable source of easy reference. The magazine in its present form is undeniably of great help to many and a great pleasure to read (even my wife grabs it first to read Robert Loomes’ interesting and humorous ‘Diary of a Clock Repairer’ and she is not otherwise interested in clocks) but I, and some others, are of the opinion that beginners have felt completely out of their depth. Even ‘old hands’ can struggle. Reference to other sources of information relating to specific jobs would obviously also be of great value. Your contributors usually do that anyway.

Mention has been made that clock repairing is the domain of the old and that we are a dying breed. That certainly appears to be close to the truth. From my experience almost all in the clock classes locally are pensioners. However many of us have had an interest from when we were young. My father, not a clockmaker, instilled an interest in me in mechanical things when I was in short pants. Unfortunately I don’t seem to be able to do the same with my grandchildren. However, when I was?young there was no television,?computer, X-box etc. Anything I did was by trial and error—thankfully not too many errors—but it was a slow process and potentially risky as I worked my way down from clocks to small watches (I could see better in those days). It would have been great though to have had access to a very simplified instruction manual. There may well have been such books but I never came across them—no Internet then, of course.

It would be great to get young people interested in the usually fascinating work we do so that they will be ready to renew the valuable repair work many of us are doing on clocks already many generations old.

I continue to look forward to receiving Clocks with interest.

Alan E Bell, Ireland

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