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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Old clock gets new life

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Brazil resident Mike Varvel stands next to the old clock at the Russellville Town Hall. Varvel is volunteering his time to restore the clock that once hung at the Russellville School.
Time has taken its toll on the old clock hanging on the wall at the Russellville Town Hall. But it has seen better days.

In another life, folks around town say, the treasured timepiece once powered the bells at the old Russellville schoolhouse.

The clock was built in 1910 by Julis Hanson, a German immigrant living in Princeton, Ind. It's been said that the principal of the Russellville school at the time asked Hanson to make a clock that could be used to ring the bell.

There it hung until slipping into a state of disrepair and being moved to the Russellville Town Hall.

Not wanting to see a good thing go to waste, Mike Varvel -- a resident of Brazil -- has offered his expertise to restore the clock to its original glory.

Varvel is a contract operator for water testing in Russellville, but he's had his eye on the clock for some time.

He has been working on clocks ever since his teen years and is formally trained in clockwork repairs by the American Watch and Clockmakers Institute.

"I was always too busy making a living to do what I really wanted to do," Varvel said.

The work will take about a month to complete.

"When I work on a restoration project, I try to keep it period correct," Varvel commented. "That means sometimes I have to manufacture my own parts if I can't find them elsewhere."

Varvel believes just from looking at the clock that it needs disassembled, cleaned and re-oiled. More issues may arise once he begins the actual work though.

Normally, such a job would cost a bare minimum of $300, but Varvel is offering his services for free.

"I wanted to do something to give back to this community," Varvel said. "They are such nice people."

Varvel has built one clock in the past and is currently building a grandfather clock. He hopes to make a clock repair business out of his home in the coming months.

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