-019- The Clockmaker
05.29.2014 - By Damn Interesting
It was the middle of a cool September night in Munich, Germany. The year was 1939. In an otherwise unoccupied auditorium, a man knelt on hands and knees chiseling a square hole into a large stone pillar. The lights were out, but a small flashlight dimmed with a handkerchief provided a pallid puddle of light. The man's chisel was also wrapped in cloth to quiet his hammer strikes. Whenever there was some unexpected sound, he froze. Whenever a truck rumbled past the building, he seized the opportunity to chisel more vigorously. It was exceedingly tedious and slow work. The fellow was a 36-year-old German handyman named "Georg Elser". But "handyman" isn't exactly the right word. In his three and a half decades he had cultivated many skills, including clock making, cabinet building, master carpentry, and stone quarrying. And the task at hand required all of his diverse expertise.