Thomas Zane Roberts built a house on Middle Creek Road in Belleview (Boone County, KY) in 1900. He was creative, so he hand-carved elegant large letters over his fireplace that spelled GOD. He also carved his name and the building date over a large stained glass window in the stairway of his now personalized house. He built a sophisticated draft for his fireplace in the living room. He built what we now call pocket doors to separate the dining room from the kitchen.Thomas Zane Roberts died in 1925; the house and clock were then acquired by his nephew. In 1975, the clock was purchased by Northern Kentucky University. Since 1991, it has been on display in the Heritage Bank in Burlington, KY.
Roberts was a devout Christian man. He served as a deacon in the Belleview Baptist Church and taught Sunday school for 54 years. He never missed services, even in the worst of weather.
One bright Sunday morning, neighbors noticed him working in his field on their way to church. They commented on his working on Sunday. He replied that he thought the day was Saturday. Embarassed, he resolved to never lose track of time. Thomas Roberts began building a timepiece that would not only tell him the time of day but the day of the week (a.m. and p.m.), the phase of the moon and the position of the planets in relation to the earth and sun.
He studied all the astronomy books he could find. He built an observation tower on top of the hill behind his house, complete with a telescope, where he could observe and record his findings. He began calculating mathematical equations to determine gear ratios. He precisely cut gears and cogs from brass plates. His work was so nearly perfect that even leap year was included. After one year of planning and calculating and one year of construction, his clock, more than six feet tall, began moving its intricate parts. Since 1884, it has continued to operate with significant accuracy.
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