Very good news for one long blighted corner of downtown, the great old clock at 10th & J will soon be back onsite, as reported by the Sacramento Bee.
“Time is ticking down until the historic clock will be up and ticking.
“The so-called Fred Mayes Diamonds clock is due to return to 10th and J streets at the end of this month, after undergoing the last steps in a nine-month restoration effort.
“The clock, about 90 years old, is the only remaining historic street clock in Sacramento and has been the focus of restoration efforts since at least 2009.
“At one time, “clocks were everywhere,” said Greig Best, who headed the effort to fix the Mayes clock. “It’s been an eyesore for so long and it seems so unnecessary.”
“The huge clock – about 4 feet across – was being finished at Alpha Architectural Signs & Lighting Wednesday.
“Alpha, in an industrial area on the eastern side of Sacramento, is one of the few companies still doing neon work. They also do theater neon restoration projects, including the Roseville Theatre.
“Most lighting has moved to LED, said Jason Lane, co-owner of Alpha.
“Lick it, stick it, screw it in and you’re done,” he said of the ease of LEDs.
“By contrast, some of the two months the Mayes clock has spent at Alpha was just spent waiting for glass tubing from Italy.
“Alpha orders 50 percent more than required because, inevitably, some of it breaks.
“Glassworker Tony Tang carefully heats the tubes and bends them to fit the pattern of the original lighting.
“That includes big white circles of neon inside the case to illuminate the face and intricate yellow details to brighten the gold around the red case. The gold, with a glass cap on top, simulates a diamond ring to advertise Mayes’ jewelry shop, now long closed.
“At Alpha, workers painstakingly removed all the old paint, except on the dials, took out dings and repainted, reportedly with the same paint used on NFL helmets. The dials were buffed until the original painted letters and numerals look like new.”