My grandfather was an active, renown, all-round and true sportsman in his lifetime. He would have been 116 had he been alive now. He was at his peak in the 1920s and 30s in which period he had won many trophies in various sports, especially Tennis. To display all his wonderful and cherished trophies and medals, he had a fine rosewood showcase made, probably in the 1940s. But before that, he must have been keeping the trophies in some almirah. The subject for this post is the rosewood stand you see in thse pictures here. The picture on the left must be from early 1930s and the one on the right where he is older must be in the late 1940s.
The rosewood stand is used to display his beautiful medals he had won in his college days [esp. Presidency College, Madras].
The stand must have been some trophy shield he had won in some event, going by the shape of it. This is just a guess. After he had made that showcase, all those medals had gone in to be hung on little brass hooks. So this rosewood plate was dumped at the top of a law book almirah and it had collected a lot of dust! Nobody reached there as often as me, in the 1970s and 80s.
I wanted to do something out of it, but could not think any idea. In 1991, there was a need for a Wall Clock at home. I wanted to sparingly use our century old Ansonia Clock and so I used to rest it for some weeks and then make it work for some weeks, just to extend its life and reduce wear and tear.
By then, Quartz Movements had arrived and had been found reliable, successful, accurate, cheap and easy on maintenance. In Mysore, good movements [the electronic clock machine is called 'movement'] were not easily available. I knew this because of my little knowledge in watch repair. In that connection, I used to visit a watch spare shop [mechanical watches] and I got this hint from the owner, late Bhageerath, who had become familiar to me.
At the time, a colleague who was in Delhi for a number of years had joined us on transfer. He was well known to me. I knew these clock movements of good quality were available in Delhi. So I requested him to get me one on his next visit there, if he could. He kindly obliged and got me one pretty soon. It cost Rupees forty five. I had already planned and decided that this rosewood plank would serve as a nice wall clock.
The movement was ready for my new clock. I brought down the plank, removed the hooks and hinge at the back and cleaned it thoroughly. It was a beautiful piece!
The movement had to be fitted to the back. So I made a careful groove to 'embed' it properly. I had already gathered plastic letters discarded from an old set. I had some reflector tape to mark the minutes.
Marking of the minutes and placement of the 'hour numbers' had to be done very precisely in the perfect circle. I marked the circle and spots where these tiny 'minute stickers' [cut with a sharp blade] would be stuck. I also stuck some white sticker to the hands of the clock to make visibility really good. It was a stand out as it turned out! It was such a joy to see the clock on the wall, ticking. Gaudily I put my name on it. Such was the joy!
Twenty one years on, the "Newben" movement has stopped working. That it worked for 21 years continuously is something in itself. It had to retire. Now it is time for a replacement movement. It will work again, soon.