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“You’re very careful with them,” he says. “Not that you aren’t with other (clocks), but when you see a piece like that, you respect how it was built. And you use the same respect when you’re working on it.”

‘Work with my hands’

Other than a small porch sign indicating his business, Steiger’s home off Upper Georges Valley Road could be the farmhouse of his youth.

He grew up here with three brothers and a sister, all still living. His grandparents had purchased the property in 1914, moving to 13 acres from a bigger farm about a mile away.

Steiger was a classic country boy: bib overalls, one-room schoolhouse, self-reliance, ingenuity.

“I always liked mechanics,” he says. “I liked to work with my hands.”

His talents came in handy when nails from his worn-down soles bloodied his feet on the way to school.

Back home, he solved the problem by grinding down the nails on his father’s lathe.

“You had to fix your own stuff,” Steiger says. “I couldn’t depend on my dad because, at that time, he worked seven days a week.”

Another success story introduced him to clock repair.

He was just 10. His parents had given him a pocket watch for Christmas, and he took it everywhere, tied to his overalls with a shoestring.

One day at school, he fell while playing. The blow bent the watch case and knocked off a hand.

“Well, what am I going to do?” Steiger recalls thinking. “I didn’t want to show it to my parents because it would prove to them that I wasn’t very careful with what they gave me.”

A bit of sleuthing turned up a solution.

“I found some old junk watches around here that my uncle had, just in an old box, so I took and pried the case off of mine, and I found a hand.

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