When Steve Lavia says “I’m a bit of a time nut,” it’s a bit of an understatement.
Lavia has been collecting and tinkering with clocks of all shapes, styles and sizes since the mid-’70s, and it looks like things aren’t expected to slow up any time soon.
“If I brought any more clocks into this house, my wife would kill me,” says Lavia. “That’s why I have to sneak them in and hide them (in my work area).”
A clock can be found inside every room of Lavia’s home, including his garage. Oftentimes there’s no less then five in each. It used to be that Lavia would go around each Sunday and wind up all the clocks, but that doesn’t happen so much anymore. There are two reasons for that: There are just too many clocks — it would literally take a whole day or more to wind them, and that many clocks can cause quite a bit of noise.
Tinkering with clocks followed Lavia’s interest in them.
“I bought this clock and took it up to Don’s Jeweler (used to be in Beaverdale) because it wasn’t working right. Instead of waiting the five months it would take to fix, I took it home and started poking at it,” Lavia says. “After looking at it for a while, I figured out what was the matter and fixed it. After that I wanted more. I was into this.”
Lavia has amassed more than 100 clocks of various styles. Some fall into the category of collectables with clocks that feature Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker and other cartoon characters. Dozens of cuckoo clocks line the walls of his workshop. Still others come from a different era, long before digital clocks replaced analogues. One line of clocks in the garage is calibrated to eight different time zones.
As retirement nears, Lavia looks forward to keeping up his hobby of fixing up clocks. At some point he knows he’ll have to sell them, but for the time being they’re safe to take up space in his home.
“I love to get ’em when no one else has touched them. If I can find one in a basement or attic that’s all dirty and no solder on it, that’s what I want,” says Lavia. “Chances are they just stopped working and put it away. That’s how you get the good stuff.”
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”