"Clock of Many Faces"
the History...

Sign up for e-mail news
Sign up to receive news updates on the Dreger Clock restoration project.
Subscribe Unsubscribe

See OC Resgister Article

click to view originalBy Rochelle Frank
(Article is from May 26, 1963 "Southland Magazine", a Sunday feature section of the Long Beach Independent-Press Telegram.)

[Photo caption:] Watchmaker and machinist, the late Andrew Dreger Sr., above, built a handmade clock that is now at Knott's Berry Farm.

A monument to one man's pride in his own careful craftsmanship is a massive electric clock which stands like a many-faced sentry in the Ghost Town Rose Garden at Knott's Berry Farm, a few miles east of Long Beach on Highway 39. It was moved there shortly after the death of Andrew Dreger Sr., a Long Beach man who hand-made every one of the clock's precise parts using only his own skills and some simple machinery.

Dreger was a watchmaker and machinist by trade, and the impressive four-sided clock was his masterpiece.

During the last 20 years of his life the clock stood in front of the Dreger residence at 836 E. Anaheim, St., where he watched over it like a doting father.

Dreger's huge timepiece, with its 18 separated clock faces, is a complex piece of machinery.

Keeping perfect time for a dozen major cities of the world, 12 small dials surround a large clock face which indicates local time. The miniature clock faces, each six inches in diameter, tell the exact solar time in Tokyo, New York, Mexico City, Liverpool, Petrograd (Leningrad), Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Rome.

Opposite this "international side" other dials give passersby the day of the week, the date, the month, and even the phase of the moon -- as well as the hour in our time zone. A third side is simply one large dial wit 16 and 18-inch hands giving the correct local time. Dreger installed no dials in the fourth side which faced his house. A painting depicting the four seasons has since been placed in its round frame.

Since the clock was moved to Knott's, one of its most admiring visitors has been Mrs. Lucile barton, of 1644 Poppy St., Long Beach, who is a daughter of Dreger. Although the clock bears no nameplate recognizing its maker, Walter Knott, owner of the farm, has assured Mrs. Barton that he intends to correct that oversight.

Mrs. Barton remembers well how proud her father was of his clock.

"In fact," she says, "Dad was always working on it," noting that even after it was mounted on its tall pedestal beside the house, her father would sometimes partially dismantle the clock to make adjustments.

"Until just a few weeks before his death at the age of 84, Dad regularly climbed a ladder to inspect the works of his clock and to wash its hree glass faces," she recalls. "He always kept the clock running perfectly."

but the machinery of recognition seemed to revolved 10 times more slowly than the had of Dreger's clock which indicated the month of the year, for the plaque which stands in front of the timepiece has always identified its maker only as "a fine German watchmaker."

Dreger was born in a German village and came to California in 1897, moving to Long Beach seven years later. Shortly thereafter he began building his two-story wood frame apartment house on Anaheim Street where he lived for almost 50 years.

Mrs. Barton says that her father made an earlier version of the big clock, finishing it in time to be exhibited at the 1928 Pacific Southwest Exposition held in Long Beach. As Mrs. Barton remembers it, this smaller timepiece was pendulum driven. But Dreger, anxious to perfect his idea of a multi-faced clock, started on the electric model as soon as the first one was completed -- and worked for five years before perfecting his grand work.

Today, thousands of visitors to Knott's Berry Farm have stopped to study the clock's many dials and to compare them with their own watches.

[photo caption:] This is Dreger's clock of many faces, soon to receive a plaque with maker's name.

Home || History || Restoration Project || Latest News || Community || Help Us || Links || Contact Us

The Dreger Clock website design and maintenance donated at no expense by Pixeldigits Web Design / Glenn Frank.