Nearly all of the restoration work has been completed on the Camden town clock in the steeple of the Chestnut Street Baptist Church.

This is the second time Balzer Family Clock Works of Freeport has undertaken a complete restoration of the historic clock. The first time was in 1995. A few years after that restoration, water damage from leaks in the steeple caused rust to form on the steel components of the clock movement, according to the company's restoration proposal. Although the rust was cleaned annually and a metal protectant applied, the rust returns, and over time causes pitting, oxidation and wear on the clock's brass gears.

The clock is part of the $500,000 restoration of the church steeple and spire, completed this fall. The voters of the town of Camden contributed $75,000 to the restoration effort. The clock was given to the town of Camden in 1910 by Edward Howard, the owner of the E. Howard Clock company and a summer resident of Camden.

Howard's company "won many awards for their clocks, banker's scales and balances, watches, sewing machines and fire engines. However the watches and clocks remain their greatest legacy and are avidly sought after by collectors world-wide," wrote Linda Balzer in her company's proposal for the clock repair.

On Dec. 18, Balzer explained that the clock dials were removed, sandblasted to strip the paint and repainted, the clock hands were cleaned and restored, as well as the dial gears. While this may sound straightforward, the numerous steps involved in removing and restoring the cast iron dials are minutely detailed in the Balzer proposal.

During the course of the steeple and spire restoration, the floor beneath the clock was rebuilt, and Balzer commented that it is now much better than the old floor. Due to some changes in construction, the placement of clock mechanisms and supports within the steeple was also adjusted. Balzer said this will make it easier to access during annual maintenance.

After the work was completed in November, the clock and bell were tested. Inside the steeple, the clock dials and mechanisms were then wrapped in plastic to protect them from particles and dust released when insulation was blown into the church roof.

Balzer said the company is now just waiting to oil the clock, and set it in motion, as soon as the insulation job is completed and the dust is cleaned up. Until then, the clock hands remain at 12 o'clock, which is where the hands are always set when a clock is not in motion.