Proud of East Texas: Michael Coker - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Proud of East Texas: Michael Coker

(KLTV) -

There's no need to look at your watch when you're in the Coker home in Hawkins, because their extensive clock collection will always keep you on time.

"It was brought from Germany by a school teacher in Oklahoma and was in her family until we picked it up at a clock sale," Coker said.

Little did Michael Coker know when he bought his first clock years ago, that clocks would become such a big part of his life. Growing up, Coker became fascinated with the clocks his minister built, so when he and his wife married, he ordered a handsome grandfather clock for their home.

"As time went on, we picked up one here and there. So what was a hobby became an obsession," he said.

During his 32 years on the Dallas police force, Coker took side classes in clock repair. So after his retirement in East Texas, he spends as much time restoring clocks as collecting them, something much more difficult than it may seem.

"There are a lot of parts in them and some of them have hundreds, and it's not just a matter of taking them apart, it's putting them back together in the right order," he said. "Some of them have a series of pins and things that have to be in sequence or the strike is off. It won't strike the right time. Some of the clocks will just stop so there's a lot to it."

There are dozens of clocks of all kinds and ages in Coker's workshop waiting their turn to be repaired. Many are antiques, and all are rare finds.

"There's one very unique clock on the bench, it's called an Atlas clock. It runs off of changes in atmospheric pressure or changes in temperatures, and it will run for years just without being wound," Coker said.

And of course, winding this many clocks is a problem within itself.

"The ones in my shop I don't keep running. There's too many to work with," he said.

But that's not the case for the clocks the Coker's keep in their home.

"The 50 clocks we have in the home, my wife keeps them running and wound, and my job is to fix them when they don't work," said Coker.

Keeping fifty clocks on time is time consuming, but then there's also the time change twice a year.

"The difficult time is when the time changes and you've got fifty clocks to move up or set back," he said.

Although most people seem to like the tick of a clock, fifty of them ticking and chiming away just might be overwhelming, and Coker admits that sometimes it is.

"It's a little bit difficult to watch TV on the hours or half-hours because about a series of three to four minutes, you'll have clocks striking one after another," Coker said.

Coker also admits that guests often have trouble sleeping because of the constant noise from the clocks, but that hasn't dimmed his fascination with collecting them.

"I'm especially fascinated by the older clocks, the precision they were able to obtain without the tools, modern tools we have today," he said.

From the majestic Black Forest Coo Coo Clock to the graceful Grandfather and Grandmother Clocks, each clock ticking away in Michael Coker's collection, has it's own unique story.

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