Time was Bilbo’s final answer to Gollum’s riddle, “This thing, all things devours,” in J.R.R. Tolkein’s “The Hobbit.” The same can be said of obsession, and it is clear George Pease has become engulfed in his passion for things that tick and tock.
Stepping inside Pease’s home near Suquamish, one is met first with the syncopated sounds of his clock collection.
“I love it,” Pease said of the sound. “It’s kind of the heartbeat of your house.
“You turn it all off, and you either have to turn on the TV or the stereo or else listen to the ringing in your ears,” he added just as the resident of the German cuckoo clock behind him emerged, cooing the hour.
It is with no ego that Pease says he has become the foremost authority on O.B. McClintock street clocks, and rightly so; the man has one of the massive 800-pound, brass and copper bank clocks attached to his house.
“I’m the only guy I know of that’s got one screwed to the side of his house,” Pease said. “They used to be in towns all around the country. Now there’s only a few left.”
Pease’s 1918 McClintock is also a rarity in that it chimes. Street clocks from that era, he said, weren’t musical. The clock also lights up at night, and the stained glass that previously bore the name of a bank now features a stained glass design by Frank Lloyd Wright.
“I have worked with other municipalities around the country in the restoration of their McClintock street clocks,” Pease said. While not a McClintock, Pease has recently been working with the Port of Kingston to restore an old Brown Street style clock, which is set to be placed at the recently finished Port of Kingston Kiwanis Park.
Not only does Pease restore the movements of the clocks back to their former glory, but he also employs his skills as an accomplished woodworker. Pease rebuilds many of the clock bodies from scratch, carving mirrored embellishments himself and precisely recreating the antique cases anew. Pease’s workshop is outfitted for metalworking as well.
With some of his clocks dating back as far as the 18th century, Pease estimates he has some 200 clocks in his possession, not including those that are dismantled or stored in his attic. The stories behind each clock are as varied as the styles, uses and designs of the clocks themselves. All of them contribute to the heartbeat of Pease’s home.
“They are multidimensional in the fact that they are beautiful to look at for their craftsmanship, but they’re also a functional timepiece and something that requires a little bit of maintenance that keeps my interest,” Pease said of his collection. “If they don’t need me, I don’t need them. I’ve actually sold and given away a lot of clocks. We parted ways just because I was done with them and they were done with me.”