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NSG Visit April 19, 2008

The Hoffman Clock Museum

and the Arcadia Historical Society Museum

Newark, New York


Donovan A. Shilling

Banjo, Regulator, Tall Case, Steeple, Blinking-Eye, Thomas, Kitchen, Eight-Day, Empire, Shelf, O-Gee, and Grandfather plus scores of other clocks were viewed and their origin and movements explained to twenty-eight members of the New Society of the Genesee on Saturday, April, 19th, 2008. The many time pieces are on display at the Hoffman Clock Museum that shares a portion of the Newark Public Library in Newark, New York.

In 1910 Augustus L. Hoffman and his wife Jennie operated a jewelry store in Lyons, New York. When they passed away the Hoffman Foundation, created in 1954, established the remarkable museum of "time machines." It was their dream that the "core" of their clock collection should be expanded and made available for exhibit to aid the public in learning about the fascinating history of time-keeping. The museum's curator, Eric Hooker, pointed out time pieces ranging from the simple hour-glass, sun dial and hour-marked candle to elaborate and precision made marine chronographs.

Passing through the museum's long corridor visitors find neat cabinets holding displays where one can marvel at clocks made in many countries: the United States, England, France, Germany, Japan and China and even the popular cuckoo clock from Switzerland. Several others were clocks locally made in Ithaca and Manlius and the bank-vault time lock mechanism made by John Sargent of Sargent & Greenleaf in Rochester.

Gerry Muhl had made the arrangements of the society and also scheduled a visit to the Arcadia Historical Society's museum just across High Street from the Hoffman Clock Museum. Here John Zornow, President of the Arcadia Historical Society explained a few of the many exhibits to be seen there. They included the Jackson & Perkins Rose Nursery, Sarah Coventry's jewelry plant, Bloomer Brothers Paper Box Company and other firms that once made Newark their home.

A delightful luncheon was enjoyed at the Quality Inn following the visits to the two museums. Good food and spirited conversation and a most informative talk on the Fox Sisters given by Emerson Klees were much appreciated by the membership. Some, following lunch, traveled to nearby Hydesville where the original foundation of the Fox family's home is preserved under a protective structure. Thanks again, Gerry Muhl, for a great Saturday trek into history.

© 2008, Donovan A. Shilling
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