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CHARLES TERWILLIGER
In the Seventies and Eighties

It is difficult for me to pin down dates and projects he was working on after 1970.   Charles was a multi-tasker.   There are resources I hope to tap and include in this biography as it continues to develop.   In the meantime I will go with what I have.

After a short period of uncertainty it became apparent that leaving MacFadden Bartel was actually a step forward - and the timing was excellent. The Horolovar Company was stable and profitable. The Guide was in its fifth edition and selling well. The Guide had also proved its intent by demonstrating to the clockmaker that 400-Day clocks were actually one of the easiest clocks to repair.

The convenience provided by the Guide coupled with attractive packaging and professional marketing lead to consistently increasing sales of Horolovar Suspension Springs.

The senior employees now were two motherly types. One filled parts orders. The other did the bookkeeping.

Charles now tapped a significant new base for employees - the local high-school students. Over 90% of Bronxville High students went on to college. They were intelligent and motivated. The students filled and shipped orders for Horolovar products, others assembled suspension units. A senior student was designated supervisor and between them they organized and performed all the tasks necessary to maintain the company, with only occasional need to consult "Mr. T".

In 1970 Charles was 62 and in the quite enviable position of being able to devote all his time to doing what he loved - and make good money too.

The business was still located in the basement of the family home. Both children had moved out by now. With the loss of income from MacFadden-Bartel, the company began to maintain the Terwilliger home and household expenses. Charles' wife Roberta had always been the family bookkeeper and every month a check was taken upstairs.

Colleagues had already dubbed him "Mr. 400-Day Clock". I always saw him as "The only fish in a small puddle"

            PROJECTS

The Charles Terwilliger Silent Auctions

The 9th Silent Auction was November 1969. I believe this was the first auction after his retirement and the first to be published in the booklet format that continued throughout the series.

Since The Horolovar Company demanded little of his time he began to concentrate on the silent auctions. They were not only a source of income but also real source of enjoyment for him. He would visit auction galleries in New York City (Southeby's and Christy's - but also Doyle and Birnbaum's) on Thursdays as I recall. He was well known to all the galleries and only attended the actual auction if there was something special that he really wanted.

Generally he would look over the exhibition and leave written bids. He bid at a price that he thought could make a profit and really didn't care whether he won the lot or not. There would always be more clocks.

Anyone who has enjoyed browsing a Charles Terwilliger Silent Auction catalog will probably notice that Charles tended toward the unusual. [Eventually I will expand on what Charlie considered "unusual".]

As more and more clocks were purchased it became necessary to utilize the attic of the Bronxville home for storage. (Three flights up and previously "Anne's room").

The interval between the purchase of a clock and the publishing of the catalog was an important (at least to me) place where I fit in. For most of this period I was living in Miami and teaching music. Teaching anything goes slack in the summertime so I would close shop and go to Bronxville, there to spend my summer in the Bronxville basement repairing the clocks and helping with the auction descriptions.

In addition to the blessing of being able to spend time with my parents, I had the opportunity to work on many different types of clocks including the rare and unusual. My experience with these often exotic clocks served me well in my future occupation as a clockmaker.


The Horolovar 400-Day Clock Repair Guide
[A more extensive analysis of the various editions of the Guide is planned.]

In 1970 The Repair Guide was in the   5th Edition 3rd Printing    (See Victor Tang's page on the covers of all the Horolovar Repair Guides).

5th Edition September 1965
5th Edition  2nd Printing June 1967
5th Edition  3rd Printing August 1969
6th Edition March 1972
7th Edition April 1974
7th Edition  2nd Printing March 1977
8th Edition Leather Bound
Limited Edition
April 1978
8th Edition 2nd Printing March 1980
8th Edition 3rd Printing February 1982

In my opinion the 8th edition of the Repair Guide was the final edition to be strictly a "Repair Guide". Having offered a leatherback limited edition he was obviously pleased with it. When the 9th edition went to press in 1984 the 8th had been in print for six years.

The 9th edition was more than a repair guide. More about the 9th later.

9th Edition January 1984
9th Edition 2nd Printing November 1987

Publications

Having been in the magazine publishing business for some 40 years and single-handedly publishing the Repair Guides and Silent Auction catalogs, Charles had the background he needed to enter the field of professional book publications. I am hoping to expand on what can be found on the Publications page on this site.


Horolovar Reproductions of American Clocks

There are five reproduction clocks on the Reproduction Clocks page. Eventually I am hoping to provide more details.


Clock Trade Enterprises


Today Mr. Terwilliger operates The Horolovar Company, largest supplier in the world of various repair aids for 400-Day Clock repairmen, and Clock Trade Enterprises, a subsidiary company, involved with other horological activities, including publishing and distributing horological books.