East face of Campanile clock face falls behind, swiftly repaired in time for 100th anniversary

Anissa Nishioka/Staff

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The Campanile’s clock, which has been ticking away for more than 100 years, was found to be running behind time on its east face Oct. 21.

According to University carillonist Jeff Davis, the four clocks have never been synchronized, so if a motor on one face falls behind, then that face will show the wrong time. While the east side, which faces LeConte Hall, was down, the other three sides of the clock were still working.

“A few years ago the west-facing clock needed to be repaired, probably because it is opposite the Golden Gate and is exposed to heavy doses of wind, salt, and moisture,” Davis said in an email.

Electricians from Physical Planet came to fix the clock immediately after Campanile operator Shirley Muramoto-Wong reported the face was behind time Oct. 23. According to Muramoto-Wong, the mechanisms are old, so they have to take more than a day to repair.

This is a standard maintenance problem, Muramoto-Wong said, and is to be expected from clocks that are this old. The east clock face has since been reset.

The clocks have been receiving maintenance for 102 years, according to Davis, who called this a “marvel of time-keeping.”

According to Muramoto-Wong, Friday will mark the 100th anniversary of the Campanile’s original 12 bells, which will be commemorated by having Davis play the original 12 bells twice that day.

“The mechanisms on the bells are over 100 years old, so they break just like any other bells,” Muramoto-Wong said.

Contact Gioia von Staden at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @GioiaVon.