Hamilton Watch street clock

Hamilton Watch street clock at 149 N. Queen St. about 1918.

Dear Dr. Scribblercom:

Do you remember Red Eddy? A communist who, during the summers in the late 1930s, on Friday nights at 7, would stand on the steps of the Lancaster County Courthouse and speak? Almost nobody would stop and listen.

Jay F. Patton

New Holland

Dear Jay:

The Scribbler does not actually remember J. Granville “Red” Eddy, Lancaster’s most famous communist, because the commotion he caused around here had mostly died down by the time the Scribbler ditched his diapers.

But you are correct that Red Eddy apparently tried to speak about communism to anyone who would listen, which was almost nobody in this realm of rock-ribbed Republicans.

Eddy was born in Montana and came east to attend Franklin & Marshall College. He graduated first in his class in 1930, but not to applause from the college’s faculty members. They tried, unsuccessfully, to block his Phi Beta Kappa key.

This was because Eddy was already “red” and the conservative professors did not approve of his political opinions.

Sometime in the 1930s, Eddy joined the Communist Party. He did more than talk on street corners. In 1940, he was charged with conspiracy and perjury in connection with the circulation of communist nominating petitions.

Eddy was a lonely communist. In 1947, he said that “less than 100” Communist Party members resided in Lancaster County. He was the only one who admitted his affiliation.

In 1954, a former FBI undercover agent testified in Washington that Eddy, in his prime, had been a full-time Communist Party organizer and teacher.

By then, the country had moved on. Red-baiting GOP Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy had lost his credibility and the U.S. Supreme Court decided that Americans had a right to hold radical political opinions.

In later life, Red Eddy became a landscape gardener and won several awards at the Philadelphia Flower and Garden Show. He died in 1977.

Hamilton clock

Dear Dr. Scribblerclock:

I have a photo postcard, dated “about 1918,” that shows an end-of-the-war celebration on Nov. 12, 1918. The view is of the 100 block of N. Queen St., looking south.

I magnified a T. Wilson Dubbs Hamilton Pocket Watch street clock in the photo. I found that Dubbs, a jeweler, passed away in 1959 at 93. But I’d like to find out what happened to that clock.

Brett Snyder

Gap

Dear Brett:

The Scribbler does not know what happened to the clock or the “Dubbs” sign dangling from the bottom of it.

The Scribbler does know something about Dubbs and the clock, thanks to James Campbell, library and maintenance supervisor at the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors in Columbia.

Dubbs was a watch agent for the Hamilton Watch Co., according to Campbell. “In the early days of the watch company they relied on local watchmakers and jewelers to advertise and sell the new product,” he says. “Mr. Dubbs was one of them.”

Dubbs’ jewelry and watch shop stood at 149 N. Queen St., so that’s where he displayed the clock he had purchased through a supply house to advertise his business.

“I think the sign was made by Grout or Gillette and would have been electrified,” Campbell says. “As you can imagine, as the popularity of the watches grew, it was a feather in a watchmaker’s cap to be a Hamilton authorized agent.”

So what happened to the clock?

Jack Brubaker, retired from the LNP | LancasterOnline staff, writes “The Scribbler'” column every Sunday. He welcomes comments and contributions at scribblerlnp@gmail.com.