German novelty Clocks

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by hansen, Jun 3, 2005.

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  1. hansen

    hansen Guest

    I am collecting German novelty eye clocks. The type that the right eye is the hour and the left eye is the minute. The hours are notched around the eye socket of the right eye and the minutes are notched on the left side, as the eye revolves around a hash marks on the eye balls points to the appropriate hours and minutes.
    The majority of the ones that I have and have seen were made by J. Oswald, Freiburg, Germany. I have three that are marked Sinn, Frankfurt, Germany, and I have one that is not marked except for a six digit number that could possibly be a third maker.
    I am surprised at the lack of information that is available regarding these interesting and unique clocks and the companies that produced them. I have found one page references to them in two books. Thanks to fellow member Mr. Douglas Stevenson who directed me to the book “Price Guide to Collectible Clocks 1840-1940" by Alan and Rita Shenton on page 256 there is a brief description and a picture of four models available. In the book “Pastime Telling Time From 1879 to 1969" there is one picture of a dog that was produced and a very brief mention of J. Oswald.
    These novelty clocks seem very scarce in my area of Michigan and the few that I was able to find even at clocks shows were the common Scottie dog and Pekinese dog (these are being reproduced by the Chinese). Since I have become hooked on E-Bay I am surprised and somewhat amazed at the variety that were produced, very tall to miniature shelf models of human forms as well as animals, and wall hanging plaques.
    Is anyone aware of a more detailed history of J. Oswald or of any publications that show a more complete line of novelty clocks available?
     
  2. hansen

    hansen Guest

    I am collecting German novelty eye clocks. The type that the right eye is the hour and the left eye is the minute. The hours are notched around the eye socket of the right eye and the minutes are notched on the left side, as the eye revolves around a hash marks on the eye balls points to the appropriate hours and minutes.
    The majority of the ones that I have and have seen were made by J. Oswald, Freiburg, Germany. I have three that are marked Sinn, Frankfurt, Germany, and I have one that is not marked except for a six digit number that could possibly be a third maker.
    I am surprised at the lack of information that is available regarding these interesting and unique clocks and the companies that produced them. I have found one page references to them in two books. Thanks to fellow member Mr. Douglas Stevenson who directed me to the book “Price Guide to Collectible Clocks 1840-1940" by Alan and Rita Shenton on page 256 there is a brief description and a picture of four models available. In the book “Pastime Telling Time From 1879 to 1969" there is one picture of a dog that was produced and a very brief mention of J. Oswald.
    These novelty clocks seem very scarce in my area of Michigan and the few that I was able to find even at clocks shows were the common Scottie dog and Pekinese dog (these are being reproduced by the Chinese). Since I have become hooked on E-Bay I am surprised and somewhat amazed at the variety that were produced, very tall to miniature shelf models of human forms as well as animals, and wall hanging plaques.
    Is anyone aware of a more detailed history of J. Oswald or of any publications that show a more complete line of novelty clocks available?
     
  3. zepernick

    zepernick Deceased

    Aug 8, 2004
    2,602
    7
    0
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Greetings Hansen -- Would encourage you to continue collecting these German novelty clocks. And moreover, not to be discouraged by the lack of secondary literature. More recent clocks and clockmakers *are* often harder to find information about than are the older ones. On the other hand, you have an opportunity to carry out research, boldy at that, where few have gone before. And taking another quick look at "J. Oswald" as an example, it's interesting how with all the web-footed sources available today, even new basic information can be found.

    For instance, the "J. Oswald" in ads etc. turns out to be (or have been) a woman named Josa. As can be seen in downloaded documents via the present German patent office's site from a 1950 Gebrauchsmuster patent application. We can see a copy of the letter she wrote, and even her signature. But the full legal reference is "Frau Josa Oswald geb. Reisbeck", that is, her maiden name was Reisbeck. This patent was for a clock with a flower dial. There's a drawing of the flower face too. Pretty good drawing. Has a butterfly and a ladybug.

    And the same year, in fact about three weeks later, one "Dipl. Ing. Fritz Oswald" of the same address applied for another GM patent -- this one for a clock with an animal's face (a drawing of a lion's face dial is attached with lion looking as if a vet had just inserted a thermometer in his nethers). Fritz's signature is also there. So we know that both Fritz and Josa were alive at the same time -- married? Then if we actually check the 1926 Brit patent mentioned by Shenton and Shenton) which the S&S text says was given to J. Oswald, it (276738 June 2, 1926) turns out to have actually been given to one F. Oswald (according to the Patent Abridgements). Assumedly Fritz the graduate engineer.

    The last known address I've seen for an "Osuhr" Oswald was for 1966: Waldkircherstrasse 49 in Freiburg i.Br.(i.e. the Freiburg "im Breisgau") and, more particularly, in the city section known as Littenweiler (= "Freiburg-Littenweiler"). There are no Oswalds at the address in Freiburg today, according to the telephone book. Yet there would be records available, and probably newspaper articles, and marriage and death certs, etc. And there aren't all that many O's in Freiburg in any case. A couple dozen? Bet if you wrote a letter and mailed a copy to each.... And it's fun stuff, this rocky horo-research show! Regards, Duck
     
  4. hansen

    hansen Guest

    Thanks for the information it is very interesting. I find the laguage too much of a barrier for me. I did try to get in touch with the Sinn Watch Company but I couldn't get anywhere because of the language and probably my skills with th computer.
    You sound as if you have already done some research. Do you collect Oswald clocks also?
    Are you here in the States? Do you speak and write German?
    Douglas Stevenson wrote a nice article about German trademarks for the Bulletin at the end of the article I noticed he gave an e-mail address in Germany. I emailed him and hinted that J. Oswald clocks would be a good subject for an article. I figured he is in Germany and probably speaks German, he didn't seem to think it was something he wanted to do. I put the bug in his ear, maybe he will change his mind. Thanks again. Arthur
     
  5. Richard T.

    Richard T. Deceased
    Deceased

    Apr 7, 2005
    5,064
    2
    0
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hansen,

    While looking at auction catalogs for something else, I came across several of these rotating eye clocks. In Bob Schmitt (NH) May 2004, Lot 139 is an "Oswald" molded Fakhir (Genie) from 1950, 30 hour movement, "off Yellow" paint. In the April 2002 there were four Oswald rotating eye clocks. Lot No. 576a. Scotty, C.1926, Carved from wood H 7 1/2". Lot 576b, Oswald, genie carved from wood This came in two sizes, this one is the early large version 9 1/2" H. Lot No. 576c. Oswald, Owl, molded case attached to its original wood book base. H 7 1/2" C. 1935. Lot 576d. Oswald Genie, carved from wood, two tone case showing dark skin and light clothes with bright red lips. H 7 3/4". Some of the past auction catalogs can be viewed on-line. R.O.SchmittFineArts.

    regards,

    Richard T.
     
  6. hansen

    hansen Guest

    Thanks, Richard T.
    I have been buying his catalogues for several years now.I was lucky to win a very nice uncommon dog about two years ago. I have 74 eye clocks, so I have all the common ones.
     
  7. hansen

    hansen Guest

  8. Richard T.

    Richard T. Deceased
    Deceased

    Apr 7, 2005
    5,064
    2
    0
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hansen,

    Great collection of German novelty eye clocks!! I don't think I've ever seen so many in one location. Apparently you knew fairly early what you wanted to collect. Many of us, myself included, went in many directions to start with and when we found what we wanted to collect it was too late. The result a very eclectic collection. Part of this I attribute to lack of knowledge in the early stages and just liking everything that I saw. Thanks for sharing your collectionl

    Partial collection:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/richard_t/

    Regards,

    Richard T.
     
  9. hansen

    hansen Guest

    Richard T:

    Thanks, we enjoy them. Actually we started the same way you did. We bought every type of clock we could afford. The problem was we didn't look in the right place at the right time. We have a house full of clocks, but a lot of them aren't what a lot of collectors would call high grade. We do not sell any so we don't have much room left for clocks that are too large.
    Since I retired in 1999 we started going to more regionals and since 2000 when we got a computer and went on Ebay have we been able to find this variety of eye clocks. We never see many of them in our area except for the occasional common dogs.
     
  10. Richard T.

    Richard T. Deceased
    Deceased

    Apr 7, 2005
    5,064
    2
    0
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Hansen,

    Thanks again!

    Richard T.
     
  11. Richard T.

    Richard T. Deceased
    Deceased

    Apr 7, 2005
    5,064
    2
    0
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    Sorry,

    Message board rules do not allow the discussion of values. You might search on "google" or some other and find auction results that would give you some indication of their value.

    Regards,

    Richard T.
     
  12. hansen

    hansen Guest

    Hi Jonnie:

    Values vary quit a bit depending on the type of dog it is and the condition it is in.
    If you are familiar with Ebay you can watch items #6543722277 & 6544421704.
    You can also do a search on Ebay for"oswald eye clock". Make sure you check the box for item description and completed items also.Good luck.

    hansenschippel@wowway.com

    Edited to make the email address live
     

Share This Page