Untapped Cities has been keeping tabs on the Barthman Clock since its mysterious disappearance over the summer and we are now happy to report that the quirky timepiece has been restored and reinstalled in the sidewalk at the intersection of Maiden Lane and Broadway!
The sidewalk clock was first installed by Jeweler William Barthman in 1896 to lure customers inside his business. In 1899 an updated clock designed by Barthman and his employee Frank Homm was installed. This clock was so technologically advanced, that when Homm died in 1917, no one knew how to maintain it. In 1925 Barthman replaced his and Homm’s design with a traditional round faced clock which ticked virtually unceasingly until this year. The original casing is that which you can still see today around the newly installed clock face.
Trouble started for the Barthman clock when it’s protective covering cracked earlier this year. Then, according to reports, in August 2018, a delivery man pushed a heavy load over the clock and shattered the glass. You can see the clock in disrepair on Instagram and Reddit, where people speculated over the clock’s whereabouts and uncertain future.
The Barthman Clock in August 2018, Photograph by Luke J. Spencer
According to NY1, it took workers four visits over the summer and fall to fix the clock, squeezing into the tiny space below the sidewalk in the basement of the building to access it. Though William Barthman Jewelers no longer has a store on the street (they have a location in Brooklyn), they made an agreement with the current building owner to fix the historic timepiece and the owner will now maintain it. Since the clock is not landmarked, its spot in the sidewalk is not guaranteed forever, but it is good to have it back for now.
Next, check out 13 Unique NYC Sidewalk Installations