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Congress Clock Co-Any info?????????

jeules0

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Bought this little table clock at a boot fair this morning here in the UK for £7.50. It looks a bit sad but is all there and is running! Pictures are as found.

I have Googled Congress Clock Co. but there is very little info to be found. Obviously a little known company, but I'm sure some of you guys will be able to enlighten me........Thanks, Chris
 

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Steven Thornberry

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A similar one found on antique clocks priceguide.com indicates that it would be German made and puts a date of 1875. In that period German makers did copy American styles, and he name Congress Clock Company might lead the unsuspecting to believe it was American made. Beyond that, I can also find little. See here.
 
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jeules0

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A similar one found on antique clocks priceguide.com indicates that it would be German made and puts a date of 1875. In that period German makers did copy American styles, and he name Congress Clock Company might lead the unsuspecting to believe it was American made. Beyond that, I can also find little. See here.
Thanks, Steven. That would explain the rather Teutonic-looking eagle and crest on the label. I have to admit, I thought it was American, but we see relatively few of your clocks over here, so I have little knowledge of them.
 

Steven Thornberry

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The movement didn't seem quite American, though obviously at least modeled on them, and the escape wheel appeared to be a bit "oversized" proportionately. So, I had my doubts anyway, but information seems scarce. I guess the Congress Clock Co. may have been set up as a marketing firm, similar to Jerome and Co. in England.
 

zepernick

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Fritz Köhler, who wrote a hagiography of Erhard and Arthur Junghans in 1941, thought that the "battle for the English market" (as he put it) was especially interesting as it was "fought out between the Black Forest and Connecticut without the British clock industry having anything to do with it." Starting "after 1880," in what was an "embittered twenty-year battle for the British market," the Schwarzwald "threw out the Americans and conquered for themselves the wall and table-clock market" (my translations).

Yet the previous decade is perhaps even more interesting, as it saw what were often direct German imitations of American clocks made following (or attempting to) the "American system" being flogged in the northern European states and, above all, in the UK.

When it comes to a specific example, as here, the problem is that one needs to have a very good knowledge of both American manufactured clocks and early Black Forest manufactured clocks as well as their involvement in the UK market in order to sort out what is which.

One of the few scholars with all three is E.J. Taylor, and his (1977) Black Forest Clocks and (1981) American Clocks for the Collector are strongly recommended. Indeed, on page 62 of the former, Tyler lists 14 common German features which can help to distinguish German imitations from American originals. Three pages earlier, he illustrates what is termed "an early Black Forest movement produced on the American principle" (see the clip below).

He identifies the timepiece as from the "Badenia Black Forest Clock Manufactory" and believes it probably dates from the early 1870s. This company was evidently a for-the-UK named Badische firm (the Lexikon shows part of a front cover from a "Badenia..." catalogue). Tyler discusses the movement's more German characteristics (p61). His conclusion is that "whatever its imperfections, this movement is of extreme importance in the history of Black Forest clockmaking."

It also looks as if it could be an earlier, less finished version of the one shown above.

Among the German manufacturers who tried to pass of their clocks as American-made, it was more common to find an American eagle (the early Junghans and HAU logos familiar examples). Here however there's no doubt that the coat-of-arms eagle is the earlier German imperial eagle. German patent specification sheets are convenient indicators of when which eagle was used. The first (below) is from an 1877 published set of specifications. The second is from 1899/1890, and the third from 1890/91. The feathers droop in the last.

If the label was German and the coat-of-arms timely, it might well indicate that the clock was made when it was most likely made "in any case" :)

Regards,
Zep
 

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jeules0

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Zep, many thanks for taking the time to compose such a comprehensive answer to my query-much appreciated.

It just shows that you never know how interesting a seemingly mundane little clock is going to be!

Chris
 

bashby

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Hello jeules0, I have a similar clock, almost identical but missing the pendulum and bob. It would be very useful if you could send me a photo of you pendulum arrangement and any info regarding the general arrangement, sizes etc. so I can get mine up and running.

Regards

bashby
 

shutterbug

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You opened an old thread, bashby. Near as I can tell, jeuels0 hasn't posted in the last 3 years. However, I recall another thread currently running that has Congress Clocks. Here's a link.
 
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Steven Thornberry

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You opened an old thread, bashby. Near as I can tell, jeuels0 hasn't posted in the last 3 years. However, I recall another thread currently running that has Congress Clocks. Here's a link.
Yes, indeed, and bashby began the thread you linked to.

Sent from my iPhone using Forum Runner
 

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