Becker P42 Spring Driven Movement Dating

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by whcureton, Jan 10, 2017.

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  1. whcureton

    whcureton Registered User

    Oct 27, 2010
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    This question must have been asked before ... is there a general
    rule of thumb about dating the Gustav Becker P42 spring driven
    movements? They don't have serial numbers and only show the
    GB Anchor "Silesia" imprint on them ... at least those that I have seen.
    This leads me to believe the P42's are 20th Century later movements ... maybe bordering on the Junghans years.
    Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
    Many thanks,
    - Bill in wet Northern California
     
  2. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Sep 7, 2000
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    Bill, the P42 is not a model number, that is the pendulum length in centimeters measured from the suspension bracket to the bottom tip of the pendulum. The first use of a pendulum length stamp by GB was in 1891 but only on a limited number of models. General usage for both weight and spring driven models was started in 1899. Pendulum lengths of GB clocks range from P12 (small table clocks) to P112 (Grandfather clocks) with a very large number of different lengths in between.

    I believe you have described one of the GB "Amerikaner" design movements that have no serial number. I can date these with reasonable accuracy PROVIDED the movement is in its original case and I have photos of all stampings on the back plates as well as certain movement characteristics. Detailed photos of the movement and the clock case it is mounted in are necessary.

    What I can provide for the info you have given is that the movements that have the "SILESIA" stamp were made from early 1906 to early May 1925, and designated a grade of the Amerikaner movements having solid cut pinions and other upmarket features.
     
  3. whcureton

    whcureton Registered User

    Oct 27, 2010
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    Hello John
    Thank you for educating me on the "P42" meaning. I have included a photo of
    the fancy pendulum that came with the clock ... not sure if it's original. I had
    never heard about the "Amerikaner" design in GB movements before but your
    reply to my question certainly sounds like this is what I have ... and it is
    very probably a late model GB clock from the early part of the 20th century.
    I have included a few additional photos that might help you to shed some
    light on it but I think you zeroed in on it's era pretty darn close enough.
    Many thanks. Let me know if you'd like to see any other photos.
    Best regards,
    - Bill


    20170110_074749.jpg 20170110_074758(1).jpg 20170110_074826.jpg 20170110_074835.jpg 20170110_075639.jpg
     
  4. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Bill, thanks for the photos! Your clock does have an "Amerikaner" movement that will have been made around 1910 give or take a couple of years. It will be appreciated if you could post photos of the complete back of the movement and also a full front view of the clock. From those it is likely we will be able to find the exact clock in one of our available GB sale catalogs and provide a more accurate date.
     
  5. whcureton

    whcureton Registered User

    Oct 27, 2010
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    Hello John ... sorry for the delay in responding. I have attached four additional photos of the Gustav Becker "Amerikaner" for your perusal. You tentatively date it from 1910 which is good enough for me. I do have two additional questions, however.
    1. What do you think about that "fancy" pendulum? Is it possibly original equipment?
    2. I presume "Amerikaner" movement means that it was made for export perhaps? Or does it mean "after the American style" :???:
    Many thanks,
    - Bill in Northern California attachment.jpg attachment.jpg attachment.jpg attachment.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  6. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
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    It means the movement was in the American style (cut-out plates etc.)

    JTD
     
  7. tarant

    tarant Registered User
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    Pendulum hanger is not original. Was made probably by FMS and is a part of anchor protection patented by Heinrich Kielmann.
     
  8. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Bill, thanks for the extra photos.

    Regarding the pendulum, I've not seen that exact design before on a Becker and it could be that it came with the pendulum hanger. I agree with Piotr that the hanger is not from a Becker, it's definitely a Kielmann design and could have come from FMS or a Kienzle clock.

    "Amerikaner" refers to the movement design being like American mass produced movements (Ansonia, Gilbert, Sessions, Waterbury et al) with cutout plates, strap verge, and (in most instances) lantern pinions on the gears. This particular GB model has cut solid steel pinions and GB advertised that as being of better quality than the "others". This movement design debuted in 1906 for GB, much earlier for others, but when GB came in with it they decided to make a notch higher quality and designated it the "SILESIA" grade, thus the stamp of that name under the GB anchor logo. In 1913 they finally caved in to competitive pressure and introduced a lantern pinion version which was otherwise the same identical movement but without the SILESIA stamp under the logo. The SILESIA stamp continued in use until May 1925 when GB changed their identification systems, after that all their Amerikaner movements were identified by letter stamps or the lack of them. The lantern pinion versions were stamped with the letter "H" for Hohltreiben or lantern pinions in German; the solid pinion versions were the same grade as before but with no "H" stamp.

    The Amerikaner movements were for general sales, not just for export, and they made some million(s) of them between 1906 and 1932 when the Freiburg factory was closed. It isn't easy to get an exact date on when they were made during the early years up to May 1925 since they don't have serial numbers. After May 1925 most of them have date stamps on the front plate, the earlier ones have features, some letter stamps, catalog references, occasional presentation inscriptions or sales receipts and other info that allow us to date them within a couple of years, however. For example the dial logo on your clock was used only from 1910 to 1912 based on my global GB database, I picked 1910 because the case is a style that had been pretty much discontinued by 1912.
     

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