Business manager

Grandpa’s pocket watch, a timeless treasure for Barnyard Boys business leader | Home & Garden

Steve Hurst is no stranger to sentimental items.

He is the business manager of The Barnyard Boys, a company that salvages and resells antiques, reclaimed wood, reclaimed flooring, furniture and more.

Mountains move through the company’s Peach Bottom showroom and Little Britain township barn where periodic Barnyard Boys sales are held.

But Hurst himself keeps relatively few antiques at home. One exception: a pocket watch that belonged to his grandfather, Paul Hurst, who first checked it as a teenager. The Barnyard Boys’ Hurst says he has researched the watch – which he has owned for around a decade – and believes it is from around 1915 or 1916. That would have given him around 30 when his grand- father received it as a gift.

“I just left it pretty much original,” Hurst says. “I don’t know if I ever cleaned it.”

This watch is silver but Hurst isn’t too concerned with its shine. This is one of those cases where it’s the inside that counts.

Why do you keep it?

In fact, I bought it at my grandfather’s auction. He had a family auction and he put it up for sale. I think I paid $50 or $55 for it. And there was a little note with it that said his mother gave it to him when he was little. She said she would give him this watch if he didn’t smoke. And, from what I understand, it helped.

Have you ever met his mother?

No. I remember very little of my great-grandfather.

How was your grandfather?

He is actually still alive. (He just turned 90.) He was always a happy, very likeable man. Always… a very big smile.

What prompted you to buy his watch?

I just thought it was a cool piece. I don’t think I knew there was a story behind it when I bought it. … But an old pocket watch like that? I don’t know if you’ve ever disassembled one. But all the little mechanisms that click straight? I do not know. It just fascinated me.

Do you wear a watch?

No. With cell phones these days, you don’t need a watch.

You must, in your work, come across so many items that have stories that most people will never know. Have you ever wondered about these stories?

Yeah. Sure. We get a lot of stuff. We buy it at auction or we get it from other domains. And it sometimes makes you wonder what the stories are behind it. It’s very rare that something comes with a note to tell you the story.

So is it wrong to assume that someone with your job would have a house full of old stuff?

I usually don’t save a lot. I don’t tend to hoard. I’ll buy something and think, “Oh, that’s really cool.” Then I think, “I bet I can get money for this.” And I’m going to turn around and sell it.

For the business side, you have to be a bit like that. You cannot save everything. You have to resell it and make a profit. It’s part of the business. But this watch? It’s… from grandfather. There’s no way I’m selling this stuff.