Help ID Unusual Black Forest Style Clock

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by dgmcrm, May 5, 2015.

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  1. dgmcrm

    dgmcrm Registered User
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    Oct 1, 2009
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    I've never seen this style of BF clock. I do not have access to the clock, only these photos. Does anyone have any experience with or knowledge this style? Thank you!


    Unknown BF 1.jpg Unknown BF 2.jpg Unknown BF 3.jpg
     
  2. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    Without seeing the movement, I'd guess it is a wooden movement (but, it could just as easily be cast brass), spring powered cuckoo clock. Quite old as it has bone hands and numbers by the look of it. The deer head looks a little off to me. But, all in all I would think it is a very collectable pre 1900 clock.
     
  3. dgmcrm

    dgmcrm Registered User
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    I'll try to get a picture of the works. The deer head does look small, but then the shield or whatever it is mounted on also looks small compared to the typical hunter style I'm used to. Thanks for your help!
     
  4. dgmcrm

    dgmcrm Registered User
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    I was able to purchase this clock at auction on Saturday (May 16, 2015) so now I can provide better photos. Nothing about this clock suggests Black Forest workmanship although the carving is well done. The wood is American Walnut, the case design is in my opinion not BF, and the movement is American. Based on comments on another web site (http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/111023-a-frankfield-american-made-8-day-cucko) I believe the movement to be Waterbury modified by a patent issued on April 24, 1866. Note the name on the movement is "A. Frankfeld & Co", not "Frankfield" as all other info I have seen states, but I think "Frankfield" is correct and the movement was stamped with a mis-spelling. There is lots of information on the internet about A. Frankfield. According to an online quote attributed to R. O. Schmitt "These were actually the first American made cuckoos, both cases and movements made in the US." Both trains want to run but the movement is very dirty. The case was made to accommodate a weight driven movement, but I see no signs that there was ever such a movement in the case. One of the bellows had a repair label from the American Chime Clock Company. The minute hand has a repaired break. I don't see a gong hammer and the replaced Masonite (yes, Masonite!) back did not have a gong. Maybe there is a place for a gong lever in the movement. The bird door is missing. The deer head looks original, but antlers are replacement. Please let me know of your opinion and observations.

    Frankfeld Cuckoo 1.jpg Frankfeld Cuckoo 2.jpg Frankfeld Cuckoo 3.jpg Frankfeld Cuckoo 4.jpg Frankfeld Cuckoo 5.jpg Frankfeld Cuckoo 6.jpg
     
  5. ANTIQUECUCKOOCLOCK.ORG

    ANTIQUECUCKOOCLOCK.ORG Registered User

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    Case is Black forest without a doubt. Hands are not original. Those hands are from a Beha cuckoo and likely worth as much as the whole rest of it combined. Movement is a marriage. So is the dial. You can see the holes where the original weight driven movements chains ran through the bottom of the case.. You can also see the screw holes from the original movement. The clues to the makers of the movement do not apply to the case.
    Th case though, (again) absolutely Black forest. :)

    Somebody took a pretty decent BF clock and slapped that movement in it.
     
  6. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Looks like a home made lift wire extension was made too. Not necessary, and not well done.
     
  7. JTD

    JTD Registered User

    Sep 27, 2005
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    As for the name Frankfield/Frankfeld, I see no reason to suppose that the name has been mis-spelled on the movement. If you search for Frankfeld clocks you will find a great many and it seems unreasonable to suppose that they were all stamped with the wrong name.

    I think this is a case of people seeing what they want to see, or rather, what they think they see, and of course once a mis-spelling gets onto the internet, it is repeated as gospel for all time. Some of the auction houses, who should really know better, write the name as ,,,field in one posting and ....feld in another, and then show the movement stamp which is clearly Frankfeld.

    Indeed, R.O. Schmitt, whom you quote, lists cuckoo clocks by Frankfeld and sometimes describes them as Frankfeld and sometimes as Frankfield. And in one posting, Schmitt describes the clock as 'by Frankfeld' and then goes on to talk about Frankfield being in New York. (Incidentally, the photo of that cuckoo clock shows the elaborately carved hands, similar, though not identical to yours, so perhaps they are original). I am not quite sure how Schmitt knows that Frankfeld/field was in NYC, since others put him in Philadelphia.

    There is an A. Frankfield listed in the 1880 New York trade directory, described as a dealer in watches and jewellery - but whether this is the same person who had perhaps anglicised his name, or another, I don't know.

    I suppose the thing which would finalize the matter would be to look at the patent granted on 24th April 1866. This ought to show the correct spelling. Perhaps someone who has access to the US patent records could look? In the meantime I put my money on the movements being right......!

    JTD
     
  8. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    It does appear that the inner part of the dial is a replacement, or perhaps just the numbers are replaced. They appear to be glued on, and the lower numbers (V, VI, VII, and VIII) are mounted upside-down. It does seem hard to imagine that someone would have gone to the trouble of removing an original weight-driven movement from the case and installing what I imagine is an uncommon American spring-driven movement modified for a cuckoo clock.
     
  9. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    Actually, the patent was granted to a Theodore A. Kohn. No mention of Frankfeld/Frankfield. However, other patents exist under the name A(rnold). Frankfeld. For example, this one concerning clock calendars. Here is a list of other patents held or assigned to Frankfeld. It comes from the NAWCC's patent data base, an apparently often overlooked resource.

    Given that "Feld" is the German equivalent of the English "field," it is not surprising that there is some confusion about the correct spelling, which may have existed in Frankfeld's day, as well. I was unable, in my brief search, to place Frankfeld in Philadelphia.
     
  10. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    Well done Steven, I am o.k. searching German patents but not so fine with US ones. It is good that you found it.

    Since Frankfeld signs his name without the 'i', I guess that's how it should be. But, as you say, it might have been anglicised at times, either on purpose or by mistake.

    JTD
     
  11. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Perplexed by some of the comments.

    I have seen shelf cuckoos by Franfeld.

    The movement is genuine and properly stamped. I don't think I'm seeing what I want to see.

    An example of cases done in a "Black Forest" style with modified American movements.

    There were immigrant craftsman working in the furniture trade in NYC in the 19th and early 20th century. No doubt they could have carve the cases using American walnut to produce product that looked "definitely" BF?

    See these references.

    http://www.nawcc.org/images/stories/2000/articles/2002/341/341_788.pdf

    http://www.nawcc.org/images/stories/2000/articles/2004/349/349_205.pdf

    In this reference, note how one of the cases was made for a cuckoo...but never had one. SO, he did use cases and they were modified for other uses. There is also a wall clock pictured.

    Finally: http://www.nawcc.org/images/stories/2000/articles/2008/372/372_77.pdf

    RM
     
  12. JTD

    JTD Registered User

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    #12 JTD, Aug 5, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2015
    RM - did you really mean to write Franfeld? All the movements I have found are stamped Frankfeld, and I agree with you, these are properly stamped. It is the people who 'translate' this to Frankfield when they copy it that are mistaken. (For some reason I couldn't open your links).

    JTD

    PS I've just tried again and was able to read the articles. Given that the patent Steven Thornberry found is signed by A. Frankfeld and the movements are stamped Frankfeld, it does seem to me that that was his name. The fact that he had cards etc. printed as Frankfield seems to suggest that he carried on business under an anglicised version of his name. But I still think that when auction houses etc. show a movement clearly marked Frankfeld, they should write it that way in their description.
     
  13. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    LOL

    Leave it to me to add to the confusion I noted in the literature (Frankfeld vs. Frankfield seem to be used interchangeably) by adding my own misspelling!

    My apologies for poor spelling and worse proof reading.

    Many immigrants did anglicize their names...or the printers of cards or labels or even immigration officials did it for them.

    Absolutely "FRANKFELD".

    I think this is an interesting group of American clocks. Sort of reminds me of the Philadelphia Cuckoo Clock Company.

    I have seen shelf cuckoos. They have had more standard looking American style dials. The references I linking to show clocks with those and more typical BF dials

    I don't know nearly as much about BF material as some of those who have already commented. However, I'm not so sure I would simply dismiss the subject clock.

    I would look carefully to see if there is evidence of a previous movement. The presence of holes for chains is problematic. However, those holes would demonstrated evidence from those chains. If used for any length of time, the holes would demonstrate wear. So, if there is no evidence of a prior movement nor wear from chains, could it be that Frankfeld used a case he had on hand?

    RM
     
  14. ANTIQUECUCKOOCLOCK.ORG

    ANTIQUECUCKOOCLOCK.ORG Registered User

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    The movement is a swap. No question. The dial came with it. Nice Black forest carving though. :) Beha hands too. :)
     
  15. Barney Green

    Barney Green Registered User

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    Bringing up this old thread because I just was digging into the Frankfeld / Frankfield history a little bit.
    Both versions A. Frankfeld and A. Frankfield have been seen in watches and clocks. The reason is that we are talking about two companies which were ran by two persons called A Frankf(i)eld. And they seem to have been brothers.
    A. Frankfield in New York anglicised his name, A. here stands for Adolph. He was running a jewelery shop called A. Frankfield & Co. in New York, 6th street, where he sold watches, silverware and jewelry even to President Roosevelt
    A. Frankfeld in Geneve, Switzerland was Arnold Frankfeld running the watch factory and sourcing division for the New York (and Havanna) shop. Initiated by Louis Frankfeld in 1873, Arnoldjoined from New York and took over the workshop 5 years later. He ran it until his death in 1906. Then his two sons Emile and Henry took over and renamed the Swiss organization to Frankfeld fils.
    So this is the reason why sometime we see A. Frankfeld on movements or clocks / watches, sometimes A. Frankfield. If it was factory marked, it was A. Frankfeld, if it was shop marked it was A. Frankfield.

    Barney
     
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  16. gleber

    gleber Registered User

    Jun 15, 2015
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    It is interesting to me for this thread to come up again. I recently had the privilege and pleasure of restoring an identical case. This one is ebonized and had several minor issues. The rabbit's foot at the top was missing and his ears were broken and bent down, but still attached, The bird's beak was missing and the deer's antlers were remade, but not ebonized or attached. A few of the leaf tips on the pendulum bob were missing. It also had a unfinished dial. Unfortunately, I don't have any "before" photos, but I do have this "after" one. It shows the same unusually small looking deer's head. The cuckoo door didn't / doesn't look original. I prefer this ebonized finish over the lighter one of the clock above.

    I only had the case while working on it, so I can't comment on the movement.

    cuckoo.jpg

    Tom
     
  17. dgmcrm

    dgmcrm Registered User
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    For what it's worth, Patent number 54,175 was granted to T. A Kohn on April 24, 1866 for a Musical Clock. The patent was witnessed by A. Frankfield and another person. The patent drawing shows a means of adapting an American time and strike movement for the purpose of actuating cuckoo bellows, a bird and bird door. So maybe this information about the Frankfield patent witness signature will help corroborate what you have said about A. Frankfield running a jewelry shop in New York.

    There are photos earlier in this discussion which show the patent markings and case of the BF style cuckoo clock I found at auction in May 2015. Since the time I posted May 5, 2015 I have learned of two other examples of this case design, One example is on the West coast and another was posted earlier today. The one I own and the West coast example both have the 'A. Frankfeld & Co.' marked movement. Since my original post in 2015 I have totally restored the clock and arrived at the conclusion that it is complete and original as-found except mine was missing the bird door and might have had a replacement American cast metal pendulum.

    However, it is still perplexing that the patent 54,175 would be witnessed by A. Frankfield while the movement is marked A. Frankfeld & Co. Actually, I have no idea where the three clocks/cases I know to exist were made. The question is this: Were these clocks assembled in the United States from a cases sourced/supplied by A. Frankfeld in Switzerland and American movements movements modified on this side of the pond?

    Regarding the case design, I have never seen such a design on a typical Black Forest clock of the late 19th/early 20th century. Maybe the design is a Swiss influence?
     
  18. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    Looking at the case and movement, the case has holes for weight driven chains, however if it were a B/F German case it would have had a opening for a back mounted pendulum, this being absent and what looks like an opening to the front I think the case was designed to be used for both weight and spring driven front escapement movements. I would say the movement and case started life together and probably both made in the USA.
     
  19. dgmcrm

    dgmcrm Registered User
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    JimmyOz: Barney Green makes an important comment regarding a link back to Switzerland with A. Frankfeld as a source for cases to be linked up with American movements modified for cuckoo service. I'm still stuck on the case design because it does not look like any purely BF design I have seen since the case lacks the bold oak, maple or grape leaves with vines. Switzerland may have produced clock cases styled much differently than BF style. If you notice, the foliage in the case design in this thread morphs from recognizable tree leaves at the top of the case to feather-like lance shaped leaves along the sides to the bottom. As Churchill said, it is "a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma". The clock I used to initiate this discussion had no door, but I made one that looks very much like the one in gleber's photo.
     
  20. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    I take the point that the case could have been made with the cut out for the pendulum on the front for the US market and made in Switzerland or even the B/F, however they would not have used Walnut to do it, in Europe that is a fine furniture timber and be way to expensive for a cuckoo clock.
     
  21. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    Also, look at the thickness of the timber used on the case, I just checked my Beha and it is a lot thinner. I actually work in a cuckoo shop and repaired cuckoo's from Beha to today (well over a few1000) I have never come across a German or for that matter a Swiss cuckoo built like this one.
     
  22. Dittrich

    Dittrich Registered User

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    cuckoo- and quail clocks with such kind of cases are really not so unusual as assumed. If you are intending learning more about them take a glance in Dr. Schneider's book " Beha-Uhren" on page 229. Several examples of them are depicted there.
    The clock shown on the first of the attached pictures has been offered at the Furtwangen Fair 2015 . The others show details of a clock, that I purchased at a German auction resonably priced , because there was no attentions for it .


    Dittrich

    DSC00291.jpg P1050467.JPG P1050473.JPG P1050474.JPG P1050475.JPG P1050480.JPG
     
  23. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    Dittrich, I was talking about the way the clock was constructed, it has a front mounted pendulum slot, solid timber body (American walnut) does not say German/Swiss to me.
     
  24. Dittrich

    Dittrich Registered User

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    Guten Tag JimmyOz,

    sorry, my post was not directed to you primarily, because it does not contain a response to your special question.
    My intention has been to contribute a bit about this type of cuckoo clocks which are categorized by Dr. Schneider as " Bahnhäusle-Kuckucksuhren vom Typ 5 ". I am sure that such posts are still welcome.

    Dit.
     
  25. JimmyOz

    JimmyOz Registered User

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    Dit, I should have read it a bit more closely and I will have a look at finding the book, Dr. Schneider's book " Beha-Uhren", is it written in German or English? and your posts are very welcome as this is how we determine what is what.
     
  26. ballistarius

    ballistarius Registered User

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    "Beha-Uhren" is written in German, Jimmy. I think it is out of print. I got my copy as soon as it appeared because I'll always regret having missed Schneider's earlier "Frühe Kuckcucksuhren!:mad:

    Aitor
     
  27. Dittrich

    Dittrich Registered User

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    Guten Tag Aitor,

    Dr. Schneider's book " BEHA- Uhren " is still available and can be ordered at the shop of the "Deutsches Uhrenmuseum Furtwangen ".
    An easy way for ordering is given by using:

    www.deutsches-uhrenmuseum.de/shop/all-produkte/publikationen.html .

    The listed price is EURO 48 plus porto . At deliveries outside EU possibly a tax is taking in account. Maybe for Australia also.
    Possibly it could be wise that you order this book for Jimmy .

    Already its rich illustration with nearly 600 pictures make this book essentially for BF collectors and it can be very helpful concerning all issues .

    Dittrich
     

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