Family’s legacy of fixing clocks
By Angie Landsverk
In an old schoolhouse in rural Waupaca, Heather (Krauss) Jensen engages in a virtually lost art.
She repairs and restores clocks of all shapes and sizes.
“I think a lot of people do it as a hobby,” Jensen said. “It’s definitely a dying art, which is one of the things I really treasure about it.”
Krauss is following in the footsteps of her father Steve Krauss, who once had a clock repair shop in Weyauwega.
“I started apprenticing with him in 2012,” she said. “I went through the same course he pretty much did.”
Jensen decided to follow her father’s footsteps for several reasons.
“I think part of it was just kind of thinking for the future. I was working full time when I started,” she said.
“Mom had passed away. I was looking for something to do with my dad. I started tinkering with him.”
When she lost her full-time job in May 2014, she decided to give the clock repair business a try full time.
“It’s been very good,” Jensen said. “I think out of anything, it’s been a good experience all around as far as being able to work with my dad.”
Passing Time Too Clock Repair and Restoration is the name of her business.
It is a take on the name of her father’s previous business, which was Passing Time Clock Repair.
Jensen works out of the former Sunny View School.
Located at E4183 State Highway 22/54, the school was built in 1910 and closed after District No. 2 joined the Waupaca Unified School District in 1958.
First sold in 1959. Jensen bought the old schoolhouse a little more than a year ago.
Her father put a lot of his own time into helping her get started.
He set up a room in his home as a little clock shop to teach her how to repair clocks and also gave her some of his extra tools.
Her father initially accompanied her on service calls.
“He’s been great, the knowledge he has,” Jensen said.
While it has been about 10 years since her dad had his shop in Weyauwega, he continued to work on clocks but was at the point of wanting to retire from it, she said.
“One-half to three-fourths of the people who call remember my dad. They were his customers,” Jensen said. “It’s really fun to have the customers who were my dad’s.”
She also appreciates knowing those clocks “were done right,” Jensen said.
Fletcher’s Jewelry has also been instrumental in the success of her business.
“I cannot say enough about Fletchers. They don’t offer clock repair anymore,” Jensen said. “My first two years, all my work was strictly working through Fletchers, and I did very well. It was enough to give me the work and to give me confidence that work is out there.”
In addition to calls from her father’s previous customers and referrals from Fletchers, Jensen picks up clocks at auctions and estate sales.
“It’s partly to use the parts off them or to fix them and sell them,” she said.
Of course, some of the clocks she picks up end up in her own home.
In fact, she has more than 30 of them in her living room.
“When I first started picking them up, my intention was to collect them for their parts, but like everyone, I get attached.”
Jensen’s business includes repairing and rebuilding clocks.
“There are a lot of antique clocks not working, because there is no one to fix them,” she said. “I think one of the most important things is there is a difference between repair and restoration. Repair is to get it functioning again. Restore maintains the value of the clocks.”
Jensen says it is nice to offer people the option to rebuild their clocks.
“People are very attached to their clocks and for good reason. Many of them were handed down or given by a spouse,” she said. “Each has a story. It’s always fun to hear the story of how they acquired them.”
Jensen, who tries to work by appointment, may be reached at 715-252-2053.
“For bigger clocks, I do house calls. I also offer house calls to those who are homebound in the area,” she said.
Jensen enjoys the problem-solving aspect of her work and says there is almost an art form to it.
Her long-term goal is to have a “full-blown clock shop in Waupaca,” where she would also be able to offer clocks for sale.
Jensen said there is always something new to learn in the business, and she is thankful she was given the opportunity to learn from her father.
She likes fixing clocks, which have been in families for generations, and said that growing up, she always spent a lot of time following her dad around in his workshop.
“When I was 5, he had his old Mickey Mouse watch, which was probably from the ‘40s,” she said. “I had the whole thing apart. I was destined to be in clock repair.”