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Excerpt: The American Spirit
The American Spirit
Simon Willard's Clock
JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Senator Dole, Members of the 101st Congress, ladies and gentlemen. For a private citizen to be asked to speak before Congress is a rare and very high honor and I thank you.
Simon Willard was never a Member of Congress in the usual sense. Simon Willard of Roxbury, Massachusetts, was a clockmaker early in the nineteenth century and he did it all by hand and by eye.
"In cutting his wheel teeth," reads an old account, "he did not mark out the spaces on the blank [brass] wheel and cut the teeth to measure, but he cut, rounded up and finished the teeth as he went along, using his eye only in spacing, and always came out even. . . .