The Friend, Volume CXVI, Number 2, 1 February 1946 Edition 01 — The Liliuokalani Clock [ARTICLE]
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The Liliuokalani Clock
Simeon K. Ncrwaa
On Sunday, October 7, 1945, the rededication of the Liliuokalani Clock by the Rev. Samuel Saffery, pastor, took place at the Waialua Congregational Church, whose edifice bears the name of the late Queen and the last Sovereign of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Thanks to the ingenuity of Mr. Benjamin Hulu Mahoe, not a clock maker but a retired mechanic of twenty years' experience with the Honolulu Iron Works, the clock is now in running order. The present church was built during the pastorship of the late Rev. Enoch S. Timoteo (1880-1896), and dedicated December 7, 1890; but the clock itself has an interesting story, probably dating back to 1887, the jubilee of Queen Victoria of England, to which the Queen, then a princess and heir-apparent, was one of the invited guests. Where the clock was made must remain a mystery and unknown for the present, and the assumption that it was made in England, by order of the Queen when she was there, is substantiated by the story told by Mrs. Rahab Kaalouahi and her sister, Mrs. Rebecca Meyer, daughters of John Kapu Kaianui, janitor at the time the presentation of the clock was made. They agreed that they often heard their father mentioning that the clock was brought from England (mai Knelani mai); but Mr. S. P. Dayton of Los Angeles, a clockmaker and Horological Editor of the Jeweler's Journal of the Pacific Coast, to whom the clock was left for repair by the Rev. Jerome Holmes when he visited the mainland in 1935, wrote to Mr. George Awai of the Waialua church, saying: "I know by the style of workmanship as a rule where the clock was made and I am sure it was not England nor France, possibly Germany."
Presentation of the Clock From the Pacific Advertiser of December 31, 1891, the following story is taken: "The Waialua Church has received a Christmas present from Her Majesty the Queen in the form of a Church Clock. Over the dial figures are letters of the Queen's name—L-I-L-I-U-O-K-A-L-A-N-I. A supply of hymn books has also been presented by Her Majesty to this Waialua Church which bears her name." Another account of this presentation appeared in the Nupepa Kuokoa, owned and published by the Hawaiian Gazette Company, of January 9, 1892; the translation of that story from Hawaiian to English is as follows: "The Queen spent her New Year's in Waialua, and on that day gave an audience and presentation of a large house clock to the Waialua Church, named in her honor, and presented on the Queen's behalf by Chamberlain Robertson and received on behalf of the Church by Magistrate S. H. Kalamakee. Her Royal Highness' name, L-I-L-I-U-O-K-A-L-A-N-I, representing the hours of the day. The Hon. John Richardson delivered the message of blessing for both the donor and recipient. The Royal Highness returned Tuesday, January sth, reaching the city in the evening. The clock was placed on the wall back of the pulpit." First Stopped After twenty-nine years of faithful service and hard grinding, the clock just refused to function any more; the church members went without a time piece, and many years later an ordinary wall clock was used, and about eight years ago Mr. and Mrs. John Kalili presented an electrical clock to the church. For fifteen long years (1920-1935) this historical clock re-
mained a mute memorial of that beloved Queen. Then came the long journey across the sea under the care of the Rev. Jerome Holmes, and its repair at Los Angeles by Mr. S. P. Dayton in 1935. It was returned and rededicated, possibly the last Sunday in September. In the December issue of The Friend of the same year (page 623) the picture of the clock and Mr. Holmes' article appeared. Stopped Second Time In 1938 the clock took time out, remaining inactive until the first part of 1945, when it was brought to Kawaiahao Church and placed in the kitchen of the Parish Hall. Why so much time was wasted in putting this clock in shape can only be answered by the fact that no jeweler or clockmaker ever dared to handle such a complicated piece of work. A space in the kitchen was Mr. Mahoe's laboratory and the writer and members of the Kawaiahao Church witnessed the clock mechanism taken apart and laid on the counter. While it looked so simple, I must admit that no one without some knowledge of machinery, like Brother Mahoe, could understand the working order of this clock. In the interior back of the clock, Mr. Dayton's card was found which reads: "Overhauled by S. P. Dayton, Los Angeles, California, July, 1935. Oil upper movement once each year with good clock oil. Do not oil calendar except spring up." The Problem The whole machinery was thoroughly cleaned at Honolulu Iron Works, crotch straightened, suspension spring adjusted, second hand teeth filed to fit, dial plate countersunk and replaced with new brass screws, new key for the door made, added a piece of wood to the bottom frame to which a screw was inserted to keep the clock vertical, and other minor repairs made. Ben, before taking all parts off, wisely made a diagram of the clock mechanism, noting every piece and its place, and in reassembling had no difficulty, with the clock running smoothly. But here Ben faced a problem. While the hour hands were all right, the other hands were not,
and it took him nearly two months to set them as they should be. Mr. Dayton's Description Mr. S. P. Dayton had the following article published in the September, 1935, number of the Jewelers' Journal of the Pacific Coast: "I have a clock brought in for repairs by Rev. Holmes of the Congregational Church, Waialua, Island of Oahu, Hawaiian Islands. It is a round wall clock, thirty-two inches in diameter, with a twenty-four inch dial, and around the outside are the figures 1 to 31 to tell the days of the month by the large center hand. Above the center is an eight inch dial with the hours and minutes, and two key holes to wind the double spring, eight-day movement, which has a standard Graham escapement with wood rod and beats seventy-two times per minute. Instead of the usual figures from one to twelve, there are twelve letters — L-I-L-I-U-O-K-A-L-A-N-I —in honor of the last Queen of the Hawaiian Islands who presented the clock in 1889, when the present church was built and in whose honor it was named. "Queen Lil, as she was affectionately known, was a colorful and popular international figure and the composer of several songs that have been enjoyed by millions, among them being 'Aloha Oe.' "To the right of the center is a six inch dial giving the phases of the moon, and to the left of center is a six inch dial showing the days of the week. Below the center is a two inch dial showing the years and leap years, and this hand makes one revolution in sixteen years. Below this is another eight inch dial, showing the number of weeks in a year, from one to fiftytwo ; also the months and date of the end of each week beginning January 2. "Altogether there are seven hands on the dial and it is a complicated mechanism. However, it is not a perpetual calendar, or in other words, it makes thirty-one days for every month and must be set five times each year. A strange coincidence is that
the calendar movement, which is about sixteen inches wide, is in the form of a cross and although it cannot be seen on account of the dial it must be of interest to the church that owns it.
"During the time it has been here, over fifty jewelers have been in to see it, and none of us has ever seen anything like it." Benjamin Hulu Mahoe Benjamin Hulu Mahoe, the sixth of the children of the Rev. Joseph H. Mahoe, and Libby Olivia, his wife, was born in Koloa, Island of Kauai, September 30, 1878. Mr. and Mrs. Mahoe were the first missionaries to arrive in the Gilbert Islands in 1875 and were stationed at Apaiang. He was wounded in the native uprising of 1869, and returned to Hawaii for treatment. He became the pastor of the Koloa Hawaiian Congregational Church. In 1889 the elder Mahoe was selected delegate to Micronesia by the Hawaiian Board of Missions. Ben, then eleven years of age, accompanied his parents and for the first time visited the land in which they labored years before. After visiting the Carolines and the Marshalls, they returned in 1890, and his father continued his pastorship for Koloa Church until his death, June 21, 1891.
Mother Mahoe moved to Opihali in Kona, where her daughter Abbie was a teacher, and Ben enrolled there and later transferred to Alae School and became a pupil under Mr. Thomas Haae. Leaving the school in 1894, he went to work for the Naalehu Sugar Company, removing to Kauai in 1899, and was employed by L. E. Pinkham, and later with the Mcßryde Sugar Company. He was with the Nawiliwili Garage in 1911, and with the Kauai County as a steam-roller operator until 1916, when he came to Honolulu and entered the Honolulu Iron Works as a mechanic and continued there until his retirement in 1937.
His first experience as a clockmaker came in 1926, when Mr. William Brede, a foreman mechanic with the Honolulu Iron Works, was sent to repair the Ka-
waiahao Church clock and Ben assisted him. In 1939 the church clock failed to function correctly and the Advertiser publicly criticized it. In the meantime, Ben was the trouble-shooter for the Kawaiahao Church water pump which caused a great deal of trouble until a new pump was installed and the old one repaired and used as an auxiliary pump. On May 12, 1939, the Rev. Edward Kahale, on behalf of Miss Ethel Damon, trustee in charge of buildings and grounds, approached Ben about fixing the clock and he said he would try it. Within a week the clock again was in running order. When repairs were made to the four faces of the clock (1943-1944) Ben took all the worn parts and recast them at the Honolulu Iron Works and had all new arms made. In replacing the clock instruments, he found the new floor out of level and he had to readjust the footing in order that the clock would function correctly. Since then the Kawaiahao Church clock has been working perfectly, beating time day and night.
Mr. George Awai, trustee and treasurer of the Waialua Church, in his conversation with Mrs. Rahab Kaalouahi, a former Waialua resident and a member of the Waialua Church, heard of Ben, and now the Waialua clock is back and I presume that the Rev. Samuel Saffery is wearing a big smile and his congregation is happy as ever. Mr. Dayton's Comments "Give my special regards to Mr. Benjamin Mahoe," Dayton wrote to George Awai, "for his work in getting the clock going and tell him to get Heavy Liquid Petrolatum at a drug store to oil it with and not to put any on the calendar mechanism but plenty on the verge where the ticking takes place and on the pivots of the part of the clock and, if possible, between the coils of the mainsprings." Letter of Thanks A special meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Waialua Congregational Church was held on Sunday, November
25, 1945, to hear the final report of the Committee on Clock Repairs, unanimously adopted the committee's recommendation that a letter of thanks be drafted and forwarded to Mr. Benjamin H. Mahoe, on behalf of the church, enclosing a check of $100.00 as their token of appreciation and aloha for service rendered. Mr. C. M. Aika, janitor at Kawaiahao Church who assisted Mr. Mahoe in some ways, was not forgotten, for he also received a Christmas present of five dollars.