Thread: Named German Gongs
08-07-2012, 04:29 AM #1
Named German Gongs
A brief study into the numerous coil gong and chime rod blocks (gong blocks) predominant on German clocks throughout the 1920's onward.
The gong sold the clock, as cited in a NAWCC bulletin article a few years ago. And indeed, many makers tried out different gong blocks throughout the years. Each maker was attempting to out-do one another in terms of how good their clocks sounded.
Typically, gong blocks in wall and floor bore names which varied from meaning what striking method the clock had or simply vague resemblance to other sources. Mantle clocks usually didn't bear names on the gong blocks as gong blocks in mantle clocks are typically hidden away - they cam be easily spotted when one opens the door to a wall or floor clock and in some instances can be easily seen from a typical view.
An example of an aptly named block would be Kienzle's "Glocken Gelaute", predominantly featured on wall clocks and obviously based on the sounds of German bell ringing. Less bearing on it's product would be Gustav Becker's "Eroica Gong", a 2 x 3 bim-bam strike gong for floor clocks.
Then come the somewhat obscure gongs like HAC's "Parzival Gong", a 1 x 3 bim-bam strike which has nothing in common with the chime tune named Parsifal nor the Wagner musical that begat this chime. Kienzle had a habit of naming some gongs after Wagner features including the "Walkure Gong", a 3/4 strike on chime rods, and the Wotan Gong which was a 2 x 2 rods bim-bam strike. In contrast, Mauthe named some gongs after opera features or instruments including Tosca-Elite (4 x 4 bim-bam) and Viola Gong (coiled gong with deep tone).
Some names are not to be found on the product itself, but in catalog literature. Such gongs include the Bach Gong by Junghans - another bim-bam strike, the Diaphragm Gong - which referred to a diaphragm that enhanced the chime tone, and Kienzle's Maestro Gong - a monumental 4 x 4 strike on massive flat lying chime rods.
Likewise, many chime blocks with the Westminster chime often bore the name "Westminster", sometimes with enhancements such as Kienzle's Westminster-Orgel Gong (struck hours on a chord, typical Westminster Gong struck on one low note) or Mauthe's Copenhagen Cityhall Bells block.
As most of the gongs mentioned above are simply primed up bim-bam strikes, not all named Gongs referred to such. Kienzle's Potsdamer and Deutscher Gongs played tune segments at the half hour and struck the hours on a chord. These are further covered in this topic.
Likewise, Mauthe did the same thing with the Tessiner and Volks Gongs. Tessiner Gong played bell peals inspired from the city of Tessin, whilst the Volks Gong played the ending bars to the Third Reich favorite "Volk Ans Gewehr".
An interesting feature of the Volks Gong was the ability to convert to a simple bim-bam if preferred.
Gong blocks that bore names typically fell out of favor by the late 1920's but named terms were still in use until sometime after WW2.
Below is a brief gallery of some named gongs. The very last remnant of the named gongs would seem to be Kieninger's "Concerto Chimes", referring to a massive 16 hammer movement that plays Westminster, Birdhunter, and Ode to Joy.
Attached is a cornucopia of gongs, all of German origin.
For another article about German gongs, see Douglas Stevenson's "Gong Ho" article published in 2009 (NAWCC members only).
Other photos of different named gongs not shown are quite welcome.
Last edited by soaringjoy; 08-07-2012 at 03:19 PM. Reason: Last photos and references.Justin A. Olson
08-07-2012, 06:07 AM #2
Re: Named German Gongs (RE: chimeclockfan)
Wonderful, informative post! Thanks for sharing this. This gives perspective on some of our ornate Junghans Chime Blocks. Are the blocks also referred to as bosses?
08-07-2012, 03:50 PM #3
Re: Named German Gongs (RE: Bruce Alexander)Justin A. Olson
08-07-2012, 03:55 PM #4
Re: Named German Gongs (RE: Bruce Alexander)
Well done, CCF.
Yes, Stevenson's Gong Ho article with the advertizing slogan "A good gong sells
the clock" goes deeper into the subject, than anything else yet published in
None the less, it was merely an "appetizer" to the subject, one "sub-topic" of
In addition, there were some odd idioms used by the makers and terms of a
double meaning also, often only understood by the native German speakers.
None the less, only the tip of the iceberg has been revealed and gongs and
gong making could surely fill up a whole book, yet to be written...
In addition, a good piece of rather dark history goes along with the gong names
origins very often.
The Potsdam Garnisons Kirche that played the "Potsdamer Chimes" was blasted by
the communists after the war - no more Üb immer Treu und Redlichkeit (Be always
loyal and honest) there.
The Walküres, (Valkyries, Nordic amazons) and Wotan (Odin, the Zeuss of the
Northern mythology gods) not only inspired Wagner to his operas. The whole
idealism of the Nordic races became a credo then, not only for the Nazis who
also picked up that theme.
One could go on and on, I suppose.
There were, of course, corresponding with the tastes of the times some childish
and innocent gong names too, like Mauthe's Echo and Lyra gong, and HAC's
Kling Klang gong.
Oh, not to forget the Gnom(e) gong by Oscar Kreuzer
Gong making was quite competitive, true, and some clock manufacturers kept their
actual gong suppliers an enviously kept secret.
BTW, Germans do not differ between a gong and chimes in common speech; chimes
would rather refer to Glockenspiel (bells) and that's where we arrive back again at the
Glocken Geläute gongs and such, as already stated, because the fancy churches and
cityhalls all used to have these bell chimes.Jurgen "tempus nostrum"
08-07-2012, 11:04 PM #5
- Join Date
- Dec 2007
Re: Named German Gongs (RE: soaringjoy)
Here is Kienzle....you may already have it?
Zep would be proud to see the "Gong HO' continue!
08-08-2012, 01:11 AM #6
Re: Named German Gongs (RE: Jay)Justin A. Olson
08-12-2012, 09:16 PM #7
- Join Date
- Dec 2007
Re: Named German Gongs (RE: chimeclockfan)
It sounds great! It sounds like a much larger clock striking...can be heard thru the house.
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