NAWCC Dixie Chapter 16 recently assisted collectors Kathie and Steve Fuston in mounting an exhibit of antique clocks from the collection of noted NAWCC member (1966-2005) the late Roy Fuston to be displayed at the James K. Polk Presidential Home and Museum in Columbia, TN. Fuston was born in Warren County, TN, in 1928. He worked part-time as a school bus driver during high school while teaching himself clock and watch repair. Roy carried his few tools to school with him in a cigar box and during study hall worked on watches and clocks brought by fellow students. He fixed some so quickly that the repaired pieces were sent home the very same day.
After graduation, Fuston went into the watch and clock repair business in Woodbury, renting space in the rear of a store on Main Street and hanging out a shingle advertising his watch and clock repair service. He also stocked an assortment of watches, clocks, and jewelry. In 1948 he moved into his own shop, the first air-conditioned store in Woodbury. In time, it would become a thriving multipurpose general store, the first of several Fuston owned.
To repair watches and clocks Fuston made frequent "house calls" to the home of Sterling Brown, a local writer obsessed with the idea that his many tallcase clocks should strike the hour simultaneously. When Brown passed away years later, Fuston purchased one of the grandfather clocks from Brown's estate, rekindling his interest in collecting clocks and watches.
Fuston joined the NAWCC to further his knowledge, becoming a prodigious collector. He often saw clocks profiled in the NAWCC Bulletin and contacted the owner to negotiate a purchase. He bought, sold, and traded clocks throughout the southern United States for over 40 years. His collection of more than 600 clocks included many fine clocks from all over the world. He remained a member of the NAWCC until his death in 2005.
The new exhibit Keeping Time: Clocks from 1795-1850 at the Polk Presidential Hall in Columbia, TN, features over 70 historical clocks mostly from the collection of Fuston's descendants, Steve and Kathie Fuston. Scheduled from October 4, 2013, through March 2, 2014, the exhibition showcases a variety of timepieces, including tallcase, mantel, banjo, steeple, and beehive clocks. Keeping Time features both imported and American examples, including works by noted New England clockmakers Eli Terry, Seth Thomas, and Chauncey Jerome, and reproduction nineteenth-century clocks by the notorious American craftsman Elmer O. Stennes.
For additional information, call (931) 388-2354 or visit the website www.jameskpolk.com.