In Covid-19 times, reality often becomes virtual, which is exactly how WAI presented the annual Clockwinding tradition, its annual meeting and the Mordica Lecture on Nov. 11. See p. 6 for related comments by WAI President Jan Sørige.
Former WAI President Ron Reed, Lloyd & Bouvier, was physically at the Association’s headquarters in Madison, Connecticut, accompanied by his wife, Mary. Also present was WAI Executive Director Steve Fetteroll and Director of Technology Chuck Szymaszek.
Reed explained the history of the Clockwinding tradition, wherein a U.K. representative annually comes to WAI’s headquarters to wind the grandfather clock that was presented to the Association on behalf of the U.K., wire industry for help during World War II. Reed then introduced Clockwinder Martin Thacker, who spoke for the occasion from his home in Britain. Below is his speech, which was followed by Reed performing the actual winding of the clock.
“With the benefit of modern technology, our tradition of clock winding is able to continue in spite of a worldwide pandemic. As a result, we are creating a new first today. It is a real privilege for me to be invited as the very first clock winder to participate in this prestigious ceremony without even leaving my home! Although it saddens me that I cannot be with you in person today, we should be glad that the clock winding is going ahead and the annual tradition remains unbroken.
“On this day 80 years ago, the British Royal Navy launched its first ever aircraft carrier strike in history on the Italian fleet. Particularly poignant, is that on this day in 1918 an Armistice was signed which marked the end of World War I.
“During that war, my grandfather became an apprentice at Johnson and Playfair Wire Manufacturers in Sheffield. His wages were eight shillings a week with a war bonus of a further two shillings. The company produced patent and plough steel rope wires, as well as high strain steel wire. The advent of the Second World War saw my grandfather move to Brealey and Company as a wire drawer for the princely sum of 80 shillings a week. The company was well known for production of bright wire for all purposes. My grandfather was proud of the work he did and how the wire produced made a difference to the world he lived in. He was equally proud to be an official in the Amalgamated Union of Wiredrawers, founded in 1840, the oldest trade union operating in the wire industry. My grandfather was a union official when there were 13,000 members and he attended the Trades Union Congress in 1968.
“His love of the industry inspired me to become a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Tinplate Workers Alias Wireworkers in the City of London. My proposer for membership was Peter Rigby, a past Master of the Livery Company and clock winder. His father, John Rigby, presented the clock in 1948 on behalf of the British Wire Association. Just like the hands of this clock, the many links ensure we come full circle.
“A clock’s primary purpose is to display the time. We know that this clock is so much more than that. It is a symbol of the friendship between our countries, a practical connection of our wire industries and the continuation of a bond linked by a metaphor of time-honored tradition. Thank you for allowing me to participate in the ceremony today and ensuring that this wonderful tradition is maintained and has meaningful relevance in our 21st century world.”
Following Thacker, Dr. Gil Baker presented his Mordica Lecture, which was published in the July issue of WJI. His presentation, which included commentary on some aspects beyond the printed paper, can be accessed—along with the Clockwinding ceremony and annual meeting—at https://bit.ly/2020Clock.