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Black Forest painted dial clock with front pendulum, surrerwerk, alarm, etc.

Chris Radano

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Feb 18, 2004
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I have seen photos of such hand made beasts, and I was able to pick up this one. This clock has a front hanging short pendulum, a la "cow tail". But instead of a crown wheel, there is an interesting escapement with two vertical wheels on one arbor. I was able to photograph. The clock was restored, including the dial with crooked chapter ring.

Date? I would say early 19th, but not sure. I am not sure how to date the 2 side-mounted spiral gongs. And the condition is excellent, looking at the back it doesn't look worn and is sturdy.

Perhaps not for the purist (although I consider myself to be one within reason), are the plexiglas side doors. Reminds me of the music number "Greased Lightning" from the movie "Grease", in which a 1948 Ford Deluxe is fitted with a clear pastic hood. A hot rod, indeed. 311930.jpg 311929.jpg 311931.jpg 311932.jpg 311933.jpg 311934.jpg 311935.jpg 311936.jpg
 

leeinv66

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That's a very nice acquisition you made there Chris! That escapement is quite unusual, but necessary to make that short, front mounted pendulum work. I'm just a little jealous ;)
 

Chris Radano

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It's part kinetic sculpture, and part clock. I've seen similar sold at auctions, and made up my mind years ago to see if I could find one. Although not a cheap clock, it was a better deal to find one in Germany than what they sell for in auctions here in the USA (but still rarely seen). Of course, the seller has to be willing to ship internationally, which is not always the case.
 

Uhralt

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Great clock and quite unusual. The escapement offers the same action as a crown wheel but is much easier to cut and to mount between the plates. Another example of the practical sense of problem solving of the Black Forest clockmakers. I agree that the mounting of the gongs is very unusual too, especially the use of the metal mounting post. Having lived in the Black forest area myself for 25 years, I've never seen this before. But, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Great find! It would be a very nice addition to my collection!
uhralt
 

Chris Radano

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I've seen maybe 3-4 clocks with similar movements, side mounted gongs included, sold during the last 15 years or so. My guess would be that maybe one clock maker made them all this way, perhaps his special model. The gongs mounted on a steel bar are very similar in style to the Neuchatel bracket clocks in the mid-19th century. I suspect maybe this clock dates to the mid-19th, one of those clocks that may date later than most would estimate...one of those clocks built in an older style, or even an older technology, than existed at the time of it's manufacture.
 

P.Hageman

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Wow Chris, thats a nice find!! I like those cow tail clocks very much, but I have never seen this type of escapement. Would love to see it in action on a small movie :clap:
 

Chris Radano

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Ok, I made some very amateur videos.
One video is the escapement and the pendulum swinging.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOt7cOtUHqE&feature=youtu.be


The other video is the striking. The clock is quarter hour grande sonnerie striking via surrerwerk. The clock strikes first the quarter hour (bim bam), followed by the hour. every quarter hour. So, in the video first is 10:15, then I move the hands to 10:30.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQvDwn6AdWc&feature=youtu.be

I have inspected the dial again, I believe it is likely original (although the chapter ring is crooked). This is one of my favorite clocks right now, the epitome of what a hand made clock should be. And country, too. I will have to spruce it up, refresh the oil, wax the dial to protect. but I hope you enjoy the clock, too.
 
Last edited:

JTD

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I enjoyed it very much. Thank you for sharing. I can understand why you are fond of it.

JTD
 

Chris Radano

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Here are some photos of behind the dial.

I had to be careful waxing the dial. The flowers in the dial arch have gold and silver metallic paint. I think Renaissance wax would have taken the paint right off. I used Behlen's Blue Label. 312741.jpg 312742.jpg 312743.jpg 312744.jpg
 

P.Hageman

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Jul 20, 2014
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Ok, I made some very amateur videos.
One video is the escapement and the pendulum swinging.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOt7cOtUHqE&feature=youtu.be


The other video is the striking. The clock is quarter hour grande sonnerie striking via surrerwerk. The clock strikes first the quarter hour (bim bam), followed by the hour. every quarter hour. So, in the video first is 10:15, then I move the hands to 10:30.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQvDwn6AdWc&feature=youtu.be

I have inspected the dial again, I believe it is likely original (although the chapter ring is crooked). This is one of my favorite clocks right now, the epitome of what a hand made clock should be. And country, too. I will have to spruce it up, refresh the oil, wax the dial to protect. but I hope you enjoy the clock, too.
Hi Chris, thank you for sharing the video's! What an amazing clock, if I had it, it would be a keeper for sure!!
 

JTD

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I was wondering why you thought Behlen's Blue Label was less likely to damage the paintwork than Renaissance Wax. I would have thought exactly the opposite - I would have been nervous of using Behlen's because of its turpentine content and would have (cautiously) applied Renaissance, having tested on a very small area of painting first.

I have never had any problem with Renaissance and I believe it is used by many major museums.

But anyway, you achieved a fine result.

JTD
 

Chris Radano

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I was wondering why you thought Behlen's Blue Label was less likely to damage the paintwork than Renaissance Wax. I would have thought exactly the opposite - I would have been nervous of using Behlen's because of its turpentine content and would have (cautiously) applied Renaissance, having tested on a very small area of painting first.
I have had Renaissance take off old paint, but never Behlen's. It is always important to test a small inconspicuous section first. I believe Renaissance is the best wax, but Behlen's is very good as well. I use Behlen's more, it is less expensive. it is what it is, my experience speaks for itself...Renaissance will take off paint, but Behlen's seems more forgiving to weathered, worn, paint :?|.
 

Chris Radano

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An author on Youtube has IDed this clock as an Entlebucher Kuhschwanz uhr , of Swiss manufacture. Dating is 2nd quarter-mid 19th century.
 

P.Hageman

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Interesting, never heard that name. It still is an amazing clock!!
 

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