Early South German Clocks

Rich Newman

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The Southern Ohio Regional was last week and I came home with a number of very interesting clocks. Very happy. I can’t wait to see what dealers bring to the National Convention next month and think its just a great time to be a collector. So, I picked up several early English clocks and these two Southern German clocks that were in the Regional’s parking lot sale on the first day of the show that I couldn’t pass up. I’ve bought many 19th century black forest clocks over the years but these are my first German cow tail clocks and I just don’t know that much about them.

Looking at prior posts on these Forums, I see that they are called Eisenuhr Clocks, or ‘Kuhschwanz Pendel’ which means ‘Cows tail pendulum’ in German and likely date to the early to mid-18th century.

Looking for help. Can someone tell me more about them and also recommend a good book or article(s) that discusses these clocks and the area in Germany where makers made them?

This is the earlier one. It is quite a heavy movement with very well made wheels and quality steel work. It is complete except missing the weights. Appears to have the original hand (single hand), both side doors and although the dial paint is wanting, I’m thinking the paint that has survived may also be original. The clock dial is approximately 6 inches. It sits on a (much later-made) shelf and has a solid iron back plate so never had hook and spikes. Verge escapement with count-wheel striking (text corrected). I put on a 4 pound weight and it started ticking away. I don’t know what the weights should weigh.



Cow Tail One (1).JPEG Cow Tail One (2).JPEG Cow Tail One (3).JPEG Cow Tail One (4).JPEG Cow Tail One (5).JPEG Cow Tail One (6).JPEG Cow Tail One (7).JPEG Cow Tail One (8).JPEG
 

Rich Newman

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This is the second clock. It has a 7 inch round dial attached with 4 pins through the dial. Hands look right. Also a verge, snail to regulate the striking (text corrected). This is a hook and spike. Seems to also be complete except for the weights and also ticked away when I hung a 4 pound weight. I don’t think it ever had side doors or a top to keep out the dust.

Any help appreciated!

Cow Tail Two (1).JPEG Cow Tail Two (2).JPEG Cow Tail Two (3).JPEG Cow Tail Two (4).JPEG Cow Tail Two (5).JPEG Cow Tail Two (6).JPEG Cow Tail Two (7).JPEG
 

DeanT

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Not really my field of expertise but I had a look in John Robey's new book "Gothic Clocks to Lantern Clocks" and there are detailed descriptions of many which are quite similar examples.

Nice clocks BTW they are most interesting.
 

Ralph

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Rich, I looked long and hard at those two clocks. I liked them too. Here are some I have squirreled away.

IMG_8658_(1600_x_1200).jpg IMG_8659_(1600_x_1200).jpg IMG_8660_(1600_x_1200).jpg IMG_8654_(1600_x_1200).jpg IMG_8655_(1600_x_1200).jpg IMG_8656_(1600_x_1200).jpg IMG_8657_(1600_x_1200).jpg

This one I think may have been converted..
alarm.jpg back.jpg face.jpg strike.jpg
 

Chris Radano

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Very interesting, never saw a passing strike example.
I never found anything in English on these clocks. Not too much in German either, come to think of it.
 

Andy Dervan

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Hi Rich,

Johannes Graf, Curator of the German Clock Museum at Furtwangen. might be a good resource. He spoke at 2018 NAWCC Symposium.

You might want to check out Ted Orban's "Horology The Index:: he has a lot of links to european websites.

Andy
 

Rich Newman

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Thanks for comments so far!

Dean T (Post #3) – I just ordered John Robey's new book "Gothic Clocks to Lantern Clocks” from his website Mayfield Books this morning. Thanks for the recommendation. I've a number of his books on tall case clocks and they are all excellent.

Ralph (Past #4) – Thanks for posting your similar clocks. Your first pictures with the iron posted-frame movement and double bells seems from about the same time as the first clock that I posted in post #1. What great steal work, something I always examine first and the quality just jumps out.

Chris (Post #5) – You’re comment about “passing strike” made me correct the descriptions. A mistake on my part, yikes. The older clock in Post 1 has a count wheel on the back plate like English clocks of the period. The second clock in Post 2 has a snail on the front plate behind the dial.

Andy (Post #6) – Thanks for the tips. I’ve looked at Horology – The Index (under Research / Horology Resources) but so far not much in-depth information found.
 
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Chris Radano

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Your second clock is really very interesting. First of all, it looks small. The dial feet are pinned through the front of the dial. The way the hammer is remote off the back plate, unusual to say the least. It is a very economical clock if it's time and strike. And to top it off, very attractive 3 dimensional hands. I think you have a special one there. Some of the old German wall clocks were skillfully carried out exercises in simplicity and economy.
 

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