October 17th, 2013
02:54 PM ET
8 years ago

The Senate's landmark 'Ohio' clock ticks again as staff winder returns to job

Washington (CNN) - A majestic old clock that stands near the U.S. Senate chamber is ticking again after the man in charge of winding it returned from the federal government furlough Thursday.

The "Ohio" clock ran down and stopped with the hands at about 12:15, eight days into the government shutdown, when its mainspring reached the end of its capacity.

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Staffer Rich Doerner, dressed in a light blue laboratory smock and wearing a historian's protective gloves, arrived with a small step ladder, climbed within reach of the antique dial, opened the old glass face, inserted the crank and swiftly wound the clock back up.

He then climbed down, opened an ornate wooden door on the body of the clock, nudged the pendulum, and got the mechanical timekeeper started again.

What may have seemed routine to Doerner, who acknowledged he had been winding the clock every Monday, brought another symbol of what stopped when parts of the federal government quit running.

The "Ohio" clock was purchased in 1815 by the U.S. Senate and has kept time for most of its nearly 200 years. The Senate's website does not explain any linkage between the state of Ohio and the clock, which was actually made in Philadelphia.

But congressional reporters and members of the Senate refer to the "Ohio" clock as a meeting place for news conferences and statements delivered by lawmakers about legislative developments. This time, it was the "Ohio" clock itself that drew about two dozen reporters and cameramen to the location.

No Senators were present.

Filed under: Government Shutdown • Senate
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    CNN Politics: Mark Sanford: Furloughed workers should be working for back pay CNN Political Ticker
    If Mr. Sanford were smart, he'd keep his down and try to stay off of the radar screens. I'd love to tell Mr. Sanford that the federal workers did, indeed, work for their back pay. They did exactly as they were told and asked to do. Perfect employees.

    October 17, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Data Driven

    A clock.

    Again, I ask CNN: where is the story on the cost of the rebels' shutdown? You seem to be hurting for headlines today. Here's one: "GOP Shutdown Cost America $24 Billion". Let's get to work.

    October 17, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. Wake up People!

    Don't hold your breath waiting on THAT story Data......

    October 17, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |