In the middle of 2012, we researched our options for repairing the tower clock at Chateau Liteň. We wanted the place to live again after many long years of silence. Thanks to the first season of the Jarmila Novotná Festival, we decided that Liteň deserved to have a chiming clock to mark the passage of time. The original clock disappeared around 2002, leaving behind nothing but an empty box and the memories of the locals who used to go to the tower to wind the mechanism.
We set off to find out whether a clock could be reinstalled in the tower and how much it would cost. By a stroke of luck, we got in touch with the Prague-based Hainz. Hainz is a top clockworks firm: they did the general repair of the Prague astronomical clock in 1865, 1945, 1994 and 2005.
They have also been doing regular maintenance of the astronomical clock and 80 more tower clocks in Prague. Hainz was founded in 1836, at a time when the Liteň estate started to bloom, also thanks to the Daubeks. Hainz was nationalized in 1948, and returned to the founder’s descendants only after the velvet revolution of 1989.
We put Ms. Nesnídalová (the sixth generation of the Hainzs) on the spot with our questions. She promised to visit Liteň and do research on who made the clock and if some of the parts left in the tower could be used in making a new clock. To a general surprise, she found upon arrival to Liteň that the clock was actually made by Hainz, thus adding a piece to the puzzle of their family and firm’s past. In 1906, the firm L. Hainz supplied a quarter-strike tower clock to Chateau Liteň. Placed in a box below the spire, the clock had two dials, and little bells striking each quarter hour whose sound carried far into the land.
By a quirk of fate, history repeated itself. The owners of Chateau Liteň asked Hainz for the same job the original owners did five generations earlier.
The clock was installed in the spring of 2013, and started to chime symbolically on the first day of the Jarmila Novotná Festival’s second season on September 6, 2013.