BOOKREVIEW: Tang[Editor]: Gebr. Junghans, Schramberg, No. 1

Discussion in 'Horological Books' started by Fortunat Mueller-Maerki, Sep 5, 2011.

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  1. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
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    #1 Fortunat Mueller-Maerki, Sep 5, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
    Bookreview

    Facsimile of the earliest Junghans Clock ‘Catalog’ released

    Gebr. Junghans, Schramberg, No. 1, [A facsimile reprint of a scrapbook documenting ‘all’ Junghans clock models issued 1872 to 1885]; by Victor Tang [Editor]. Published 2011 by any400day.com, Singapore; 26 cm high x 35 cm wide, hardbound in leather, numerous high resolution color illustrations on virtually every page. ISBN 97-091-08-8349-2. Available from http://any400day.com for Sing$ 280 (ca. US$230,) plus shipping.


    By now anybody seriously seeking historical information about the early stages of industrial clockmaking in Germany must be familiar with the Singapore based researcher Victor Tang and his reproductions of rare original catalogs sold on CDs for a modest cost sharing.

    On April 15, 2011, Germany’s best known branded clock manufacturer, the Junghans enterprise, celebrated its 150th anniversary at their historic home in Schramberg in the Black Forest. Very little documentation survives from their earliest years, and virtually nothing has been published on their history during their first two decades. However Victor Tang found an original scrapbook/ledger that appears to be a contemporary –or near contemporary- effort of the Junghans Company to document all the models made in those early years. The book under review is a facsimile edition of that 124-sheet ledger as found, produced to a high quality standard (high resolution color reproductions on thick stock, leather bound with reinforced spine and corners). The book has two distinctly different parts, probably completed at different times.

    The first part of the ledger contains cut out illustrations (some engravings, some photographs, some hand colored) pasted on pages and labeled in ink (in cursive handwriting of German script). The image caption typically includes ‘Model Name’, dimensions and year. The early section clearly is an ‘ex-post facto’ effort, because the page one intro mentions a designation by rubber stamp for clocks “Wird nicht mehr fabrizirt” (‘No longer fabricated’), which subsequently appears on many models introduced between 1872 and 1882. The models are grouped loosely by case styles. The last models stamped as ‘no longer fabricated’ were introduced in 1881. Part A list on 59 pages 325 different models (with 132 of them marked as no longer current). While the stamps do not indicate how long (or how short) a model was in production, they allow some conclusions as to which early models were a enduring success.

    The second half of the book contains no more handwriting or rubber stamping, but only ‘cut-and-paste’ images which appear to have been cut (including the descriptions of the clocks) from published catalogs. There are three sections, labeled 1883, 1884 and 1885. (66 models on 23 sheets, xx models on 21 sheets, xx models on 16 sheets). A two page handwritten index by 15 types of clocks concludes the ledger.

    This reviewer assumes that part A was put together by someone at Junghans around 1880 to 1882, and that the three sections in part B were added once the respective yearly catalogs became available. To the best of my knowledge, few or no catalogs from those years are known to have survived. The fact that Victor Tang acquired this unique historic document when it became available, and chose to release it publicly in facsimile format at a price that barely covers his cost, is a great benefit to horological research libraries and Junghans enthusiasts around the world.

    Any scholar of the history of American style clocks made in Germany will be fascinated by this publication. It is absolutely amazing how closely Junghans copied the case styles of the market leaders in Connecticut made clocks: Most styles from the gothic steeple clock, to the octagonal drop school clock show up in “made in Schramberg’ variations, if not to say ‘copies’. Thanks to this nicely illustrated and informative book we can now date these clocks very accurately.

    Thank you Victor for sharing your knowledge.


    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki, Sussex NJ September 2011
     
  2. zepernick

    zepernick Deceased

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    And thank you, Fortunat, for your review of this superb volume!

    Zepernick
     

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