As federal employees returned to work early Thursday after a 16-day government shutdown, at least one Washington institution remained at a standstill: the official clock in the U.S. Senate.
But a museum specialist who had been among the 800,000 federal employees furloughed amid the budget impasse got the gears moving again, winding the nearly 200-year-old Ohio Clock on Thursday morning.
The arms on the timepiece had been stuck on 12:14 p.m. since it stopped ticking on Oct. 9, eight days after federal government operations came to a dramatic halt. All the while, the Senate staffers who typically tend to the clock were stuck at home amid the partisan squabbling.
Richard Doerner of the U.S. Senate Commission on Art — now back at work — climbed a stepping stool and restarted the famed antique during a short ceremony Thursday.
The Ohio Clock, which was commissioned by Connecticut Senator David Daggett in 1815, has sat outside the Senate chamber for nearly two centuries, according to Reuters.
Daggett asked for a clock "about two feet in diameter" with an eagle on the top and the "United States arms" at its foot, according to the order Daggett submitted to clock-maker Thomas Voigt, Reuters reported.
"We wish it good and handsome and expect to pay accordingly," Daggett wrote, according to Senate documents cited by Reuters.
Reuters contributed to this report.
First published October 17 2013, 7:31 PM