By David Wade


BOSTON (CBS) – Time in Boston has been out of whack since at least Wednesday night, if you go by the clocks on the iconic Custom House Tower. About 11 minutes slow, in fact.

So we wondered, what do they do about that? On Thursday we found out, and got a look at the inner workings most people never see.

It stands like a sentinel, the Marriott Custom House, Boston’s first skyscraper. Pedestrians count on the clocks, but they’re running behind. Enter David Hochstasser to the rescue.

David Hochstasser adjusts clock inside Marriott Custom House (WBZ-TV)

“Most of my adult life I’ve been taking care of this clock,” he says.

David owns David’s Clock Shop in Hanover. The Custom House clocks are engineering marvels of gears, chains and 640 pounds of cast iron weights. They started ticking in in 1919, and didn’t do such a great job.

Marriott Custom House (WBZ-TV)

“If you go back to look at old newspapers, they called this clock the four faced liar because it was never right,” Hochstasser says.

David and his brother restored the mechanism in 1987, and they had to get creative, fabricated some gears and using skateboard wheels to support a drive shaft. So when the clock isn’t running just right, he’s the guy they call.

To reset, he starts by climbing up on a six foot structure and pulling out the set pin. “Then grab onto one of the counter balances,” he says gently pushing the rod. That sets the clock ahead and gets everything back where it should be.

David Hochstasser adjusts clock inside Marriott Custom House (WBZ-TV)

The view from the ground confirms it, right on time. What caused the clock to lose time? High winds from yesterday’s storms could have jiggled the hands, or it could be just normal wear and tear which requires the clock to be reset periodically.

David just likes the chance to get inside the machinery. “It’s a great privilege to be able to work on this,” he says.

David Wade

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