The Doctor Is In at the Cuckoo Clock Hospital

Greenspring resident Dr. Lloyd Lehn repairs cuckoo clocks in his apartment workshop

Dr. Lloyd Lehn in his workshop at Greenspring(Springfield, Va.) — Dr. Lloyd Lehn officially retired 12 years ago, but you wouldn’t know it. Today you can likely find him in his own personally designed and constructed workshop, the Cuckoo Clock Hospital, as he calls it.  He has been fixing cuckoo clocks for 20 years: oiling; cleaning; replacing/adjusting movements and music boxes; and making a variety of other adjustments.

Lehn retired in 2003 after a 35-year career as a mechanical/manufacturing engineer with the Department of Defense.  He moved from his home in Annandale to Greenspring retirement community in 2013 and set up shop in his apartment.  He receives many referrals from local clock shops and on average, works on one or two cuckoo clocks per week.

“Most clockmakers won’t work on cuckoos,” he said. “It takes a lot of trial and error work.”

Lehn first attended a clock class offered through Fairfax County about 30 years ago. He began working exclusively on cuckoo clocks about 20 years ago. Much of Lehn’s business is local, but he has also repaired cuckoos from all over the country: Idaho, Illinois, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Tennessee, and Washington. The largest cuckoo clock he’s repaired was three-feet tall and it lives in a Georgetown restaurant.

Lehn uses a timing device called MicroSetTM and its associated computer software program to record, analyze, and adjust cuckoos. “It’s sort of like a clock EKG,” said Lehn.  The device provides detailed information and precise measurements regarding the timing and beat of a clock. These metrics and diagnostics allow him to properly adjust the cuckoo.

A music box from a cuckoo clockMost of the cuckoos Lehn works on are German-made Black Forest cuckoo clocks with movements made by Regula and Hubert Herr.  He avoids estimating the monetary value of any cuckoo clock he sees and notes that most people value their clocks for personal reasons.

“Ninety-percent of the value is related to emotional attachment,” he said.  He specifically recalls one customer’s tearful joy after hearing her grandmother’s cuckoo clock for the very first time.

Dr. Lehn earned his BS, MS, and PhD in mechanical engineering.  He completed 12 semesters of the local clock repair class/workshop.  He went on to earn the designation as a Certified Clockmaker from the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute (AWCI) and was elected to the AWCI Board of Directors. He currently represents the local Potomac Clock Guild as a Board member of the Horological Association of Virginia (HAV).  The Cuckoo Clock Hospital’s web site is at:  http://www.cuckooclockhospital.com/. 

ABOUT GREENSPRING:
Greenspring, one of 18 retirement communities managed by Erickson Living, is situated on a scenic 58-acre campus in Springfield, Virginia.  The community is home to nearly 2000 residents, many of whom reside in the community’s 1404 independent living apartment homes.  At Greenspring, over 200 resident-run and resident-driven programs promote an engaged, fulfilling lifestyle reflected in resident satisfaction levels that exceed the industry average.  Additional information about Greenspring can be found at www.ericksonliving.com.