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Regardless of a clock’s heritage, whether it’s fancy or plain, rare or common, Steiger says he feels a great responsibility to its owner.

“When they say there’s nobody else out there (to fix it), now I’m really put on the spot,” he says. ” ‘(Be)cause you’re the guy to do it. They’re saying, ‘I put this in your trust.’ “

Jack Snedden, a Potter Township antiques dealer, has trusted Steiger with many clocks.

Duane is always as good as his word,” Snedden says. “He doesn’t let you pick it up until it’s right.”

‘Continual learning process’

Steiger has lived alone with his terrier mutt since his wife of 14 years, Patricia, died in 1998.

But sometimes, company stops by.

Keith Doster, a Stone Valley resident and the pastor of the Boal Grace Fellowship Baptist Church in Boalsburg, repairs clocks on the side. About six years ago, he became Steiger’s apprentice, learning the ropes and now handling house calls for larger clocks.

“In the summertime, when it’s warmer, if I drive over to his house, I may bring him a clock that needs repairs. He will often say, ‘Do you have time for a root beer?’ ” Doster says.

“We’ll sit on the porch for hours and drink a couple of root beers and talk about the Lord, the church, talk about clocks, politics. It’s like we’re living in the 1930s or 1940s, and I love it.”

Doster first met Steiger when he brought a clock to repair. Doster remembers stepping into the workshop, back when it had a wood stove, and being instantly entranced.

“The only thing I could hear were the clocks ticking and the fire on the wood stove,” Doster says.

“Immediately, I can smell the smoke. I heard the sounds but didn’t hear a radio or anything else. It was just the clocks and the smoke, and him sitting at his bench at the big window looking out onto the field. I thought, ‘Man, I could do this. This looks like something that I could get into.’ “

Steiger impressed him again once the clock was finished. He promised it would run for 100 years.

“I was just astounded that he could do it, and that he had so much confidence, that what he had done would be sufficient to keep that clock going for another 100 years,” Doster said.

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