Gustav Becker Decorative Brass Embellishers.

Discussion in '400-Day & Atmos' started by Michael Davies, Jan 12, 2006.

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  1. Michael Davies

    Michael Davies Registered User

    Nov 29, 2005
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    "The Book" says that the below dial embellishers (10th Ed p230 item 87) "may be fitted" to GB Standard models. I have two GBs without them - Nos.1914471 and 2450563 - though both front plates are drilled for the attachment screws. Could anyone please tell me:
    1. whether they should have the embellishers?
    2. whether all GBs have the front plate drillings anyway?
    3. was there any rationale, reason or plan to fit or not fit the embellishers?
    4. whether it is possible to obtain replacement embellishers from any source?
    Any help greatly appreciated.
    Michael Davies.
     
  2. Michael Davies

    Michael Davies Registered User

    Nov 29, 2005
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    "The Book" says that the below dial embellishers (10th Ed p230 item 87) "may be fitted" to GB Standard models. I have two GBs without them - Nos.1914471 and 2450563 - though both front plates are drilled for the attachment screws. Could anyone please tell me:
    1. whether they should have the embellishers?
    2. whether all GBs have the front plate drillings anyway?
    3. was there any rationale, reason or plan to fit or not fit the embellishers?
    4. whether it is possible to obtain replacement embellishers from any source?
    Any help greatly appreciated.
    Michael Davies.
     
  3. Bill_NY

    Bill_NY Registered User

    May 23, 2005
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    Hello Michael,
    There was a discussion on this a short time ago. See Mr Hubby's post in the following thread:old ref::GB Decorative Piece

    Bill
     
  4. Michael Davies

    Michael Davies Registered User

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    Many thanks Bill_NY - that is most helpful -if I hadn't been so new to the scene I would have found it!
    One question remains: the "Book" says "may be fitted" - does that mean some were produced without embellishers even though the holes are there, or is it more likely to mean that they have been "lost" through the years?
    Thanks again
    MichaelD
     
  5. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Michael and all, some very interesting questions that have led me to dig into my database and come up with what may be surprising answers. Here is the situation as best I can determine after having documented 700+ GB 400-Day Clocks:

    1) All front plates were drilled and tapped to enable mounting the decorative trim. That started with the very first standard rectangular movement made in 1902 and continued through the end of production in 1933.

    2) Clocks having a large diameter dial, rectangular dial, or other dial configuration that covers up the lower part of the front plate will not have the decorative trim installed. This represents nearly 35% of all GB 400-Day clocks.

    Now it gets complicated.

    3) The "A" Decor, which would be on clocks sold from 1902 through early 1922 (serial numbers 1,630,000 to 2,370,000) was installed on only 44% of the clocks in my database that "could" have had them.

    4) The "B" Decor, which would be on clocks sold from early 1922 through early 1925, serial numbers 2,370,000 to 2,468,000, was installed on more than half now in the database, 57%.

    5) The "C" Decor, which would be on clocks sold from early 1925 through mid-1933 when production ceased, serial numbers 2,468,000 through 2,490,000 and 1-5,000, was installed on nearly 90% now in the database.

    So, contrary to my earlier thought that the decor was originally installed on all the clocks that would permit its viewing, I now think that it was most likely an optional feature at least for the "A" and "B" decor.

    Even more intrigueing is the possibility that the "A" decor was only used for clocks being exported to the U.K. You can see clearly in the photo provided HERE in the earlier thread that it is a Shamrock, Thistle, and Rose which represented the U.K. in those days (Ireland, Scotland, England). A few years back I bought a very large number of 400-Day clocks from England that included nearly 100 GB clocks. Now having dug through my records I find that "ALL" of the GB clocks that could, had this decor mounted on them!! This has a certain degree of logic, because GB had a strong marketing presence in the U.K through BHA, which even had their logo placed on some GB clocks.

    Finally, I've serviced a few hundred of these clocks in my shop. I don't recall noting any where the decor was missing also having any indication that one had previously been installed. For example, if you remove the decor from a tarnished clock, the area behind the decor will be much brighter and outline where the decor was mounted. I have not seen such evidence on any that were missing. No broken off mounting screws, or any other evidence of one having been there. Although some most certainly would have gone missing when the movements were cleaned, the huge majority appear to have remained as they were sold, either with or without the decor.

    Conclusions:

    >> If your clock does not have the decor mounted on it: Unless there is distinct evidence one was there at some time before, most likely it wasn't put there in the first place.

    >> If you wish to add one, that isn't a problem: Since it appears to have been an optional extra, just be sure you follow the serial number guide above when selecting the "A", "B", or "C". Refer to the photo or to Appendix 87 in the Repair Guide, page 230 to be sure you pick the right one.

    John Hubby
     
  6. Michael Davies

    Michael Davies Registered User

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    John - all I can say is "WOW". You've encapsulated everything I wanted to know in your erudite summary. It reminds me of an old Professor of mine who said about a colleague's paper "It reports the facts accurately and concisely and has the major additional benefit that the conclusions appear to be absolutely right"!
    Regarding the two clocks I mentioned - both have large dials and absolutely no evidence of previous attachment of embellishers; I can now stop worrying about them!
    Many thanks to all - I'm a very happy customer.
    Michael.
     
  7. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Tommy, very interesting info!! By my data your clock was made in March 1906 so the recollection of dates is spot on. Assuming my data are good, and knowing transit times from a few instances where I have authenticated sale dates, I would say the clock made it to Denver between July and September 1906.

    The speculative questions I would now ask are:

    1. Did someone buy it in the U.K. or in Germany and then take it to Denver?
    2. Did the store in Denver buy direct from GB or through an importer?
    3. Did GB put the "A" decor on clocks sold to the U.S. as well as those sold to the U.K.?

    The second and third questions prompted me to go back to my database, since I knew already that the Kuehl Clock Company of Chicago imported GB 400-Day clocks to the U.S. from about 1904 until early 1926 when Junghans took over GB operations. This name is on a number of dials in my database, as well as their initials shown generally as "K. C. Cº. Germany". This info is at the bottom of the dial under the minute ring. Kuehl also had offices in Germany as well as Chicago.

    A quick search of the database shows I have documented 34 clocks with the Kuehl name or initials on the dial, indicating that all of these clocks were imported into the U.S. Six of these had large dials and thus no decor, but ALL the rest of them had the decor: 13 with the "A" decor, 9 with "B", and 6 with "C".

    Conclusion: All the decor examples including the "A" style were exported to the U.S. I suppose there would have been no objection from us Yanks re the representation of a U.K. symbol at the time, since we were enthralled with all the Victorian era expositions and all else British back then. Yesterday I mentioned that all the clocks I bought in the U.K. had the "A" decor, now it looks like at least all those exported to the U.S. via Kuehl also had the "A" decor and possibly others.

    One bit more of historical fact confirmed! :)

    Michael, I didn't mention earlier the manufacturing date of your two clocks. The 1914471 clock was made in June 1906 and the 2450563 clock in March 1925. Sure would appreciate if you could post photos of both of these, both front and rear views. Tommy, same for the clock you have! :biggrin:

    John Hubby
     
  8. any400day

    any400day Registered User
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    #8 any400day, Jan 14, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2017
    John, I have a clock SN 2087903 with no holes on the front plate.

    Clock Front
    Front Close-up
    Back Plate

    Vic
     
  9. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Vic, thanks for the photos. Your clock is the exception that proves the rule "never say all". I've dug through a pile of GB clocks since seeing your pics and have not yet found any without the holes drilled. Oh, well . .

    Tommy, I got the pics, thanks for that. They confirm your story that the clock was likely brought from England. The clock has the "A" decor, but it does NOT have the "K. C. Cº Germany" on the dial. That means it is unlikely that it was imported by Kuehl, and thus much more likely to have been brought from England as per your contact's story.

    You mention your contact also has a GB wall clock. Is it possible to get photos of that including one of the back of the movement, including serial number?

    John Hubby
     
  10. bevanjones

    bevanjones Guest

    #10 bevanjones, Mar 7, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2017
    Mr Hubby:

    I'm extremely interested in your reference to the BHA logo on the Becker 400-day anniversary clocks sold in the UK. My father-in-law has recently (and very belatedly!) inherited his own father's clock, which is a Becker clock (serial 1,527,999; dated by a local jeweller to 1906 but I suspect a few years older). I've been searching the web for information on the BHA logo on his behalf, and have discovered several possibilities but none I'm particularly happy with and definitely no certainties. The musical clock manufacturer BH Abrahams is one idea; Hamburg American another. Then I discovered this message board, and your mention of Becker having "a strong marketing presence in the U.K through BHA" - which sounds to me as though you know what BHA stands for! I'd be grateful if you'd let me know...

    Best wishes,
    Bob Bevan-Jones (London, UK)

     
  11. zepernick

    zepernick Deceased

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    Greetings Mr. Bevan-Jones,

    Am sure that John will be able to identify the BHA logo. But would just insert here, as a 'by the way' and 'in the meantime' a reference from the German side.

    The _Adreßbuch für die deutsche Uhren- und Mech. Musikwerke-Industrie mit Einschluß verwandter Branchen und Hilfsgeschäfte_ (Leipzig 1904), the "1904 Adreßbuch" for short, lists among many other things Vertreter or representatives of various German manufacturers both at home and abroad.

    Landenberger & Co. of London were of course the UK office of the Hamburg-American Uhrenfabrik from around 1884 until 1914 (when it was represented by the Ernest A. Combs firm). This isn't mentioned in the Adreßbuch as, I suppose, it was self-evident.

    Yet they are specifically listed, in three separate entries, as Vertreter for Gordian Hettich Sohn, VFU, and Lenzkirch. The VFU or "Gustav Becker" entry is as follows:

    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Landenberger & Co., London E.C. Aldersgatestreet 91. _Vertreter_ der Vereinigten Freiburger Uhrenfabriken, Akt.-Ges., Freiburg (Schl.).
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    Yes, "Aldersgate Street" is spelled as one word. Regards, Duck
     
  12. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Bob and all, have been traveling and just now home. I'll dig into my files for the BHA info and post shortly.

    John Hubby
     
  13. bevanjones

    bevanjones Guest

    Sorry to be a pest; but have you been able to discover in your records what "BHA" stands for -?

    Best wishes,
    Bob
     
  14. zepernick

    zepernick Deceased

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    Bob -- Please see the very recent "BHA" thread on this same MB. Best regards, Duck
     
  15. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Bob, also could you provide photos of the clock you mention above with serial number 1,527,999? Or, perhaps a description of the clock. Does this clock have a BHA logo? Is it a 400-Day clock?

    Thanks in advance,
    John Hubby
     
  16. bevanjones

    bevanjones Guest

    Dear Mr Hubby:

    Firstly, many apologies for the delay in replying. I confess that I stopped looking for clues to my father-in-law's "BHA" mystery soon after posting my last message on the NAWCC message board. I suddenly thought to look this afternoon.

    I will get hold of a photo of the clock from my father-in-law and post a scan of it. In the mdeantime, I can confirm that it is a 400-day clock; and yes, it has the "BHA" logo on its rear plate.

    The clock was originally my father-in-law's father's. My father-in-law (who is 85) remembers it on the mantlepiece when he was a child. Only his father was permitted to touch it. It came into his hands when his sister died recently.

    More to come...

    Best wishes,
    Bob
     
  17. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Bob, I'll look forward to seeing the photos of the clock; a closeup of the back plate will be of particular interest but also a complete front view. Also, could you please verify the serial number on the back plate?

    John Hubby
     
  18. bevanjones

    bevanjones Guest

    Dear Mr Hubby:

    I spoke to my father-in-law yesterday, and he told me he didn't have any photographs of his clock. I will take a digital camera with me next time my wife and I visit him; but that will not be for a few weeks. I don't know if I'm going to be able to photograph the rear of the clock, though, because my father-in-law is reluctant to stop the clock. Fortunately, I made a sketch of the "BHA" logo when he first showed me the clock in its pride of place on his mantlepiece (using a mirror!). I attach a scan of this sketch: it's a scrappy 20-second job; but in my defence, I didn't think I'd be displaying it to an international audience...

    http://b-j.org/images/BHAsmall.jpg

    As you can see, the initials are engraved in an incised serif font, contained within an oval frame with exterior hound's-tooth edging.

    I did a quick web search to try and find a clock which looks similar to my father-in-law's; and was lucky enough to find one on an auction site: http://www.antiqueclockspriceguide.com/pages/clock1774.php. The clock illustrated on this page still has its glass dome; but my father-in-law's doesn't.

    I can confirm the serial number: it's definitely 1,527,999. The list of Becker serial numbers quoted by "Antique Clock Guy" on his website (http://www.clockguy.com/SiteRelated/SiteReferencePages/GustavBeckerHistory.html) says that serial number 1,500,000 was used in 1900 and 1,850,000 in 1913. In other words, an average of about 27,000 serials were used in each of the years between these dates. I guess there were productivity fluctuations, but I think it's a fair assumption to say that my father-in-law's clock dates from 1901 (although a local jeweller dated it to 1906).

    Incidentally, the clock pictured on the auction site had serial number 2,273,467, and its age was estimated as "circa 1908". Hmmm...

    I hope that's enough to give you some early clues. I'll follow up with actual photographs as soon as I can.

    Best regards,
    Bob
     
  19. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Bob, the BHA logo you have sketched is correct.

    The reason I am particularly curious about the serial number is that the earliest GB 400-Day serial number recorded to date for a standard movement clock is 1632654, made in early 1902. All contemporary records (e.g. Deutsche Uhrmacher Zeitung business reports from 1902) show that GB first made their standard movement 400-day clocks in early 1902, and from statistical records the first 1902 serial number would have been about 1,600,000.

    Regarding the dating information you have referenced on the "Clockguy" site, that is from Karl Kochmann's book "The Gustav Becker Story". Unfortunately the data after 1900 is highly incorrect, being based only on four examples and poorly documented. I have compiled a database of more than 500 GB clocks from 1900 through 1940, and they were producing between 60 and 70,000 serially numbered clocks per year between 1885 and 1913. The first serial number for 1913 was about 2,225,000, and there were more than 2,490,000 clocks in all made in the Freiburg factory by early 1926 when Junghans took over, not counting the inexpensive ones with no serial numbers. The clock in the Price Guide site (2,273,467) was made in 1916. I have no idea where they got the 1908 date from.

    A second reason I am curious is that so far, the lowest serial number for a BHA logo 400-Day clock is 1953468, made in 1907. IF your clock has the serial number you have posted, it will be very important from an historical perspective to have a clear photograph of the full back plate including the logo and serial number to confirm, as that could result in a major change of dating premises.

    I will certainly look forward to seeing the photos.

    John Hubby
     
  20. bevanjones

    bevanjones Guest

    Dear Mr Hubby:

    I come to you in sackcloth and ashes. My rash words will haunt me; and there is no need for you to be concerned about the integrity of Becker clock numbering. My wife visited her father today, and returned with some photos and further information. The photos are not as good as I would have hoped; but do at least show (a) that a glass dome has been obtained, (b) the layout of the spindles on the rear indicate a Becker clock, and (c) it has the "BHA" logo. The serial was checked and is NOT as I previously stated but: 1,957,999. This seems to be consistent with his jeweler's dating (1906) and the presence of the "BHA" logo. Here are the best of the photos (front and back):
    http://www.b-j.org/images/clockfront.jpg http://www.b-j.org/images/clockbackx.jpg

    I'm sorry that a clearer and closer shot of the rear panel wasn't taken. It would have been if I'd been there!

    Excepting that, I think all we now lack is an explanation of what "BHA" stands for...

    Best wishes,
    Bob Bevan-Jones
     
  21. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Bob, thanks for the photos! No need to apologize, the serial number indicates this to be the second lowest BHA logo clock now in the database, made early 1907.

    With regard to BHA, we now know what it stands for. Go to the thread on this forum titled old ref::"BHA"for complete information.

    John Hubby
     
  22. bevanjones

    bevanjones Guest

    ... So "BHA" does stand for BH Abrahams, as I speculated on 7th March -?!

    I'm curious - did this speculation play a small part in leading to Duck's revelation on 27th May -?

    Bob
     
  23. zepernick

    zepernick Deceased

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    Sorry I just saw this Bob. I'd been chasing the BHA mark -- which had been an unidentified horological trademark for a long time -- for over a year. I'd become serious about it so to speak when Schmid's _Lexikon_ was published in 2005. B.H. Abrahams for BHA had come up previously on simple BHA "googles" linked with music boxes as a possibility. Yet there's nothing in the established music box lit that speaks of BH Abrahams' dealing with clocks. So until a Britannia/BHA/Made in France clock came up on eBay it was just a possiblity. Regards, Duck
     
  24. Michael Davies

    Michael Davies Registered User

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    The earlier part of this thread dealt with the three types of below-dial "embellishers" fitted to some GBs, and one of the "rarities" was a frontplate not drilled for an embellisher. I have found another one, number 1731996, which is pre-suspension guard and dates from John Hubby's research to around 1903 I think.

    What really interested me about this one was the frontplate below-dial GB trademark anchor which I have not seen in this position before.
    Photographs are below and I would be very interested to receive any information or comments about the frontplate configuration; the dial seems a bit unusual as well for an early Becker.
     

    Attached Files:

  25. John Hubby

    John Hubby Principal Administrator
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    Michael, this is a really nice early GB from about September 1903. So far as my database is concerned, you may have a "rare bird" . . the only one found to date exactly like that.

    I presently have four other clocks documented with the GB anchor logo on the front plate, one a bit earlier than yours (S/N 1717503, Plate 1191) that has a small porcelain dial with the GB anchor at 6:00. It also has the full serial number stamped to the side of the logo. There are also three of the trapezoidal plate wall clocks (Plate 1193) with the logo stamped as is yours but also the serial number; all these were made in early 1904. Among what I have in my list there are probably more like all of these, but I wasn't recording that detail in the early days of my research and don't have the photos to cross-check.

    I also have six documented with just the serial number stamped where the GB logo is on yours, all these are among the earliest standard GB 400-Day clocks so far recorded including the very earliest one S/N 1632654 (also Plate 1191) made early June 1902, and so far the highest S/N being 1684875 made about February 1903.

    So, looking at the data as it stands right now, here is what appears to be the sequence of FRONT plate treatment for the GB 400-Day clocks:

    June 1902 to first qtr. 1903: Serial number stamped where the embellishment was later placed.
    Feb. 1903 onward, on some: The Type "A" embellishment or decor (NOT on all clocks)
    May 1903 to March 1904: Use of GB anchor logo in center together with serial number to the left.
    3rd & 4th qtr. 1903: Use of GB anchor logo in center, no other numbers or decor.

    No GB anchors on the front plates have been documented after 1st qtr. 1904. There is some transition overlap in the four treatments, and since there is only one sample so far (yours) I'm guessing about when that was used. The embellishment, once adopted, was used for possibly half or more of production until 1933. There are MANY clocks with the holes drilled for this but no evidence it was installed, so it apparently was an "added extra" as we have previously discussed.

    Regarding dials, GB used a very large variety early on. In the first three years of production I have documented the following: Small 2-1/4 inch porcelain, 2-5/8 inch silvered metal (yours), 3-5/8 inch porcelain, flat silvered 3-5/8 inch metal, 2-1/2 X 3-1/8 rectangular silvered metal. Your clock is the earliest one yet documented with the silvered round metal dial but quite a few over the next several years. The rectangular silvered metal dial is on the earliest known GB standard mentioned above, although a majority of the early clocks had the 2-1/4 inch porcelain dial. The larger dials were used for the 4-glass regulators generally although a number were used for glass dome clocks as well.

    Thanks very much for posting the excellent photos of your clock. This should have many of our collector friends looking for more of these.

    John Hubby
    >>>>
     

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