Mantel Clock Carl Ludwig Buschberg Berlin w/ Verge escapement

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
Hello all, I think I really have caught this clockitis, I always seem to be able to rationalize to myself that I need another clock. I mean, who doesn't? I would appreciate any information given on this clock or a pointer to good reading material.

I got this one this morning, it is a mantel clock that once was gilded but now is painted with an unfortunate gold. The movement caught my eye more than anything. From the pics I thought it was a silk supsension but the pendulum actually hangs from a metal ring like I have seen in cuckoo clocks. Is there a term for this? Is this a later addition or original? It still has its original crown wheel escapement. The movement looks pretty heavy duty to me, much larger than I thought it was. The pendulum rod has no bob, I understand that the bobs on verge escapements are light weight, is there a way to tell how much is appropriate?

I have done a little research on Buschberg Berlin, and found a Carl Ludwig Buschberg in Berlin, who died in 1805. Would he have made the movement or just sold it? There is an example of one of his clocks in Stadtmuseum Berlin, the dial is nearly identical. As I did more reading I found he feuded with a fellow clockmaker over the job of setting the Domkirche Clock, a public clock. This turned into a very interesting read about the effects of time keeping on the public from a journal article by Michael J. Sauter Clockwatchers and Stargazers: Time Discipline in Early Modern Berlin.

The dial has been repaired kinda poorly in several places, but its hard to tell from a distance. I think I will leave it be. I would love to be able to restore the case. I have some experience with oil gilding but I would like to rebuild the gesso and try traditional water gilding. I will experiment with some picture frames first. Has anyone watched the video offered by NAWCC on gilding? I am sure a professional could do it, but I don't want this hobby to turn into just check writing. I've had some good success with case work so far. Clock movements, that's a different story.

The movement pics aren't very good since I didnt remove it yet. As always, thanks for any input, comments, criticisms, etc

Will

20200818_130928.jpg 20200818_130937.jpg 20200818_124922.jpg 20200818_124414.jpg 20200818_124810.jpg 20200818_124933.jpg 20200818_125113.jpg 20200818_125034.jpg 20200818_124941.jpg 20200818_131009.jpg 20200818_130314.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chris Radano

jmclaugh

Registered User
Jun 1, 2006
5,370
252
83
Devon
Country
Region
A nice clock and it is interesting, not a type of movement I've seen before and sorry can't help with your question on the case.
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
Thanks for the replies, I am still not sure if this is the right place on the forum for a bunch of questions. If it isn't please let me know.
 

Uhralt

NAWCC Member
Sep 4, 2008
5,114
641
113
Country
Region
Nice find!
I believe that the pendulum suspension is a later replacement of a silk suspension. On top of the back of the movement there is a (bent) brass piece with a hole that would have held the arbor for the adjustment of the silk thread. I think I see a hole on top of the 12 on the dial where the square for turning the adjustment arbor on the other end would show through. I shouldn't be difficult to retro-fit the suspension to something similar to the original.

Uhralt
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jmeechie

P.Hageman

Registered User
Jul 20, 2014
1,115
224
63
The Netherlands
Country
Will, what an interesting clock, love the dial and the hands. Those hands are amazing! Interesting movement as well, highly individual as far as I know and that a big bonus. Congrats.
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
Thank you, this one is really interesting to me, I took it apart today to take a better look. On the back of the dial is various repair signatures and a stamp of what looks like a date IANUAR 1767, January 1767? I took more pics of the movement, looks different than anything I've collected so far. What do you guys think about the date stamp?

Will

20200824_121724.jpg 20200824_123705.jpg 20200824_122933.jpg 20200824_122033.jpg 20200824_121713.jpg 20200824_122026.jpg 20200824_121901.jpg 20200824_121906.jpg
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
Hi JTD, the whole clock is pictured in post #1 along with the dial. The stamp is on the back and pictured in post #7. Maybe it would be referred to the dial plate? It is in pictures 2 and 3 from the left. Maybe I am missing something, please let me know.

Will
 

JTD

Registered User
Sep 27, 2005
8,850
780
113
Country
Hi JTD, the whole clock is pictured in post #1 along with the dial. The stamp is on the back and pictured in post #7. Maybe it would be referred to the dial plate? It is in pictures 2 and 3 from the left. Maybe I am missing something, please let me know.

Will
No, you haven't missed anything - I muddled two posts and posted in the wrong place and cancelled. My apologies.

JTD
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
I've started to strip the gold paint and discovered it is a silver color underneath. It's missing in a few area but mostly intact. I wonder if this is silver or white gold? Does anyone know how to tell? The top is definitely a replacement or addition.

20200825_161444.jpg 20200825_161447.jpg
 

JTD

Registered User
Sep 27, 2005
8,850
780
113
Country
I've started to strip the gold paint and discovered it is a silver color underneath. It's missing in a few area but mostly intact. I wonder if this is silver or white gold? Does anyone know how to tell? The top is definitely a replacement or addition.
I don't think this is silver or white gold. I think it is the base metal over which the gold paint has been applied.

Others may know better.

JTD
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
The clock case is wood. The silver color is attached to gesso and it has crumbled and come off in some places. It looks like gilding with a white metal leaf. I will have to take better pics.
 

JTD

Registered User
Sep 27, 2005
8,850
780
113
Country
The clock case is wood
Yes, I see that now, I should have realised.

I suppose it could be silver 'gilding' but I've never heard of anyone doing that over gesso before the gold finish was applied. Do you suppose there might be yet another finish under the silver before you get down to the gesso? Maybe someone thought it would look better silver, for I believe the original finish would have been gold.

But others may have better thoughts.

JTD
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
Hi JTD, thanks for the reply. I was convinced it was going to be gold underneath the paint until I saw it. I looked more closely, I only see silver present. It is the only color I see on top of the gesso, the chips were too thin to have another layer under the silver. On the high points it has a mirror shine. I was not able to find more than one example of a silver gilt wood clock case, here is one from close time period. They are very different clocks though. I did not look for that long yet. I dont think silver "gilding" holds up to the test of time very well (cleaning and inadequate sealing).

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/207345?rpp=30&pg=4&ao=on&ft=clock&pos=98
 

zedric

NAWCC Member
Aug 8, 2012
1,643
294
83
Country
Region
Silver finish was definitely more unusual than gold. Are there areas inside the case or elsewhere that may have been missed by the person who painted on the gold , and might reveal the original finish?
 

Ralph

NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 22, 2002
5,247
299
83
Country
Have you had the dial off? Does it look original to the movement? Could Buschberg be a retailer?

I'd be more inclined to think the clock is Swiss or the movement being Swiss influenced.

Ralph
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
Hello, the gold paint is all over every inch of it inside and out. There is even drips on the dial and behind the dial. It's almost 1/8'' in parts, it is multiple layers. I will have at it again on Monday when I have a day off. I really do think it is silver gilt with a terracotta or red bole underneath in parts. Here is a few more pics. It has some areas of restoration that are raw wood that had just paint like the top and one piece of the scrolling.
As for Buschberg being a retailer, I have no idea. There is a clock with the same dial, that is dated 1770. THe hands on my clock look like replacements, they are pretty long. But they are really nice looking. Here is the link Sammlung Online I was going to send them an email and see if they had pictures of the movement in that clock. The dial looks like it fits perfectly to me, but I am green with that. The enamel is heavily restored in places, it is attached to to the plate in a way I cannot see.
It is difficult to photograph the case well. Pics dont do the burnished shine justice. Thank you for all your input, it is appreciated.

20200826_192311.jpg 20200826_192314.jpg 20200827_173159.jpg 20200827_173214.jpg 20200827_173338.jpg 20200827_174220.jpg 20200827_174244.jpg 20200827_174255.jpg
 

Ralph

NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 22, 2002
5,247
299
83
Country
The dial is not attached in a way you would expect from a clockmaker. It appears that there are 3 pins protruding through the false plate and then soldered. Is that paint or enamel at the edge of the frontside of the falseplate?

Do you have pictures of the back of the movement that are not obscured by the bells?

Ralph
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
Hi Ralph, it looks like paint to me but its different depths, so it could be both? By different depths I mean it resembles overpainted chips in some spots. I have another clock that the enamel dial is missing its feet, could the solder be a repair?
I took off the bell stand and took a few pics for you to see. What do you think about the German spelling of January and 1767?

20200827_203035.jpg 20200827_203007.jpg 20200827_203000.jpg 20200827_202921.jpg
 

Ralph

NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 22, 2002
5,247
299
83
Country
I love the movement. It looks very Swiss and is probably 18th century. I'm suspicious of the dial starting life with movement. I'm thinking that you might find a different dial under your Berlin dial. Maybe remnants. The hands are probably right. To prove it out, would require removing the Berlin dial from the falseplate.

It's a nice clock and is worthy of restoring.

Ralph
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
Thanks Ralph for the info, I thought the clock was Swiss when I saw it at auction, I find myself very interested in their movements. I am happy either way I think I got a good deal for such an interesting clock. At some point I will investigate the dial further, more likely the clock shop I go to will. I am still working on removing the paint. The bezel looks like a replacement since there is a different latch inside that does not match. I will update with my progress, hopefully the museum in Berlin will send me a pic of the movement in their clock. Thank you for the guidance.

Will
 

Ralph

NAWCC Member
Sponsor
Jan 22, 2002
5,247
299
83
Country
Oh, oh... the jury is still out. The dial will tell the tale.

Great price.!

Ralph
 

Uhralt

NAWCC Member
Sep 4, 2008
5,114
641
113
Country
Region
What do you think about the German spelling of January and 1767?
Januar 1767 is correct German spelling for a date. It doesn't mean that the clock must be German, it could also come from another German speaking country like Austria or Switzerland.

Uhralt
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
I understand, that was rather short sighted of me to suggest that. Was really just looking for clues. Thanks

Will
 

Levi Hutchins

Registered User
Oct 21, 2012
114
19
18
... I was convinced it was going to be gold underneath the paint until I saw it. I looked more closely, I only see silver present. It is the only color I see on top of the gesso, the chips were too thin to have another layer under the silver. On the high points it has a mirror shine. I was not able to find more than one example of a silver gilt wood clock case, here is one from close time period. They are very different clocks though. I did not look for that long yet. I dont think silver "gilding" holds up to the test of time very well (cleaning and inadequate sealing).

https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/207345?rpp=30&pg=4&ao=on&ft=clock&pos=98
Silver leaf would tarnish over time (unless sealed with a clear varnish that would dull it.) I would guess that white gold (that is around 50% pure gold) is far more likely to have been used. Palladium leaf might be preferable now, but palladium had not been discovered until after the clock was made.
 

Jmeechie

NAWCC Member
Dec 8, 2010
402
99
28
Country
Region
Great looking clock! On the silver, white gold leafing it makes perfect sense as one must remember, electric lighting didn’t exist and a clock like this would have been a focal point to show off to guests and such by candlelight! For 1 gold would reflect duller and 2 it would have matched the main room / dining areas fixtures or tableware.
I really hate gold paint jobs! and trying to clean them off!
Cheers,
James!
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
Hello, I got the movement back from this clock after servicing and noticed that there is a jewel in it below the crown wheel. Is something like this original or a past repair? I do not think I have another clock with a jewel and found this interesting and cool looking.

On a side note, I have begun to restore the case on this clock after practicing gilding on a piece from another case. I have chosen silver as the metal as I think it is what was there originally because of the high reflectivity of the present leaf, I also discovered the bole used was gray and so I'll be using that to try and keep it more in spirit with the original. Wish me luck!

The case appears to have been put back together at some point after being badly broken, someone put a lot of time and effort into it. And bronze paint unfortunately, which I think is the reason for marking Ill Bronze #202 on the back cover. Maybe a shade from the Illinois Bronze Paint Company. It probably took over 30 hours to remove all the paint!!

20210120_160704.jpg
 

Alex K

Registered User
Jun 20, 2020
77
15
8
42
Country
The point where jewel setup is importans point where friction must me as less as possible, I would like to think that thos os original solution.
In English movements usually crown weel staying on screw face, since jewels is lost or broken (as I assume). And seems it is first time I see how it must be implemented in origin.

Also I noted you said that pendulum must be light weighted since it is verge escapement. I think this fully truth for verge directly connected to pendulum, for this case I am not sure, but it could be 1 kilo easely, depending on the power of verge drive.

This is 3 days movement, right?
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
Hi Alex, thanks for the info. I'm not sure about the duration, I havent run it yet and do not have a stand that it will sit on with clearance for the pendulum. It is kinda big with large barrels so it might be more than three days, I'll update you when I have it back in the case.
 

Jeremy Woodoff

NAWCC Member
Jun 30, 2002
4,188
94
48
Brooklyn
Country
Region
Carl Ludwig Buschberg is listed in Baillie's Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World, with dates 1780-1805. I've never seen a movement quite like this one. At first glance it looks like a standard French roulant, but the double bells and interesting two-train quarter strike (look at that count wheel!) are not typical. And, of course, you don't see verge escapements every day. Although the date on the movement is a bit before Buschberg's listed dates, I would assume the dial is original unless proven otherwise. The repairs to the dial don't seem so bad, but they could be redone to a higher standard.
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
Jeremy, thanks for the info. I finally found a picture of the movement in the clock in City Museum Berlin Foundation with the same dial. There is also a brief description of the clockmaker Buschberg including saying master was achieved before 1775 but doesn't give a date. There's a few pictures of the movement which to me looks pretty similar to mine, so maybe it is the original dial and it was repaired this way maybe when the rest of the case was put back together with the new wood pieces and dial repaired. Lotta maybes but some good information either way.

Here's the link to the other clock, which is in a beautiful porcelain case.

Carl Ludwig Buschberg, Stutzuhr mit Chronos und Aeternitas auf Sockel, um 1775, Inv. Nr. KGK 68/1 a + b :: Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin :: museum-digital:berlin

Here's a pic showing one of the seams where the case was put back together. I was able to blend it and the new top piece with layers of gesso and small carving tools. Finally some progress!! Pinholes are insidious.

20210117_142825.jpg 20210116_234453.jpg 20210124_233701.jpg
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
So finally I have finished restoring this clock case. It did not work out exactly how I wanted it to, but it came pretty close. The silver leaf that I used was too heavy and did not stick as well. I should have used a thinner silver lead which would have resulted in much better burnish and less faults. The "generous" faults occurred mostly while I was burnishing, on a plus side they did age the finish rather naturally. If at some point later this result and mediocre burnish bothers me, I can always go back and redo it. I had to tell the perfectionist in me to move on and climb out of the rabbit hole. At least I know mostly where I went wrong and have taken many lessons from this experience. During my work, I noticed only the front of the base was silvered, the flat part was black (after much sanding), so I put a few layers of black milk paint there. Nice matte look.

I made up some different colored glazes to patinize the case, I think I am happy with the overall effect. Before patinizing it looked like a spaceship. I put a topcoat on the shiny silver first so that I could undo any patina that I created in case I did not like the effect. I tried to keep everything as reversible as possible. I plan to tough up the dial a bit at some point.

After putting it back together, I noticed the glass has a strong blue color to it. Will have to look into finding a replacement for that, would appreciate any info on getting old or old looking convex glass. I silvered the existing replacement bezel to match. Altogether, I think it looks much more like the original than it did with the layers of gold paint. What do you guys think about this one? The flash and lighting does exaggerate things.

Here's a few pics. Still trying to work out a suspension adjustor, any tips are welcome on that! Thanks

Will

20210226_155535.jpg 20210225_211235.jpg 20210225_191734.jpg
 

Betzel

NAWCC Member
Dec 1, 2010
429
76
28
Country
Region
I noticed the glass has a strong blue color to it.
In Boston, there are many old (18th century) double hung windows on Beacon Street that have blue-violet tinted panes because the glass was unique to the period. I think it was a result of UV light and the sand they used or something, but they have kept them in because of their historic kung-fu. Unless someone has painted or irradiated the glass, or the time is not visible throught it, etc. are you sure you want to get rid of this?

I don't know much about old clock glasses from Germany, but it's about the same period in time. Just a suggestion :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Alex K

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
Hi Betzel, I had to look into that never heard of it. Very interesting. If I thought this glass was original, I would keep it even if I couldn't tell the time through it, especially after spending this much time trying to restore what was underneath the paint.
This glass has no wave or imperfection of any kind, looks very modern like glass they used to use in picture frames to reduce glare or block UV. I could easily be wrong, thank you for the new perspective. Maybe the glass guy will know more and I'll end up keeping it.

Will
 

Betzel

NAWCC Member
Dec 1, 2010
429
76
28
Country
Region
Will,

Just a wild hunch, as you have put so much work into the restoration. Apparently the glass in Boston was originally from France and the coloration caused by Manganese Oxide by UV light from the sun. Don't know if your glass even could have turned off-color, being form Germany and kept inside, but let us know what you find out? Other than intentionally stained glass, I don't know much about any glass being off-color beyond this. Always an adventure with an old clock, eh?

 

Jeremy Woodoff

NAWCC Member
Jun 30, 2002
4,188
94
48
Brooklyn
Country
Region
It's lookiing really nice, despite the "holidays" ("faults") you mention. If they ever bother you, just take a look at the "before" pictures.

I had a somewhat belated thought about the original finish. These photos show the border around the glass dial of a Black Forest wall clock. I thought it was gold leaf, but in fact it's silver leaf with a coat of orange shellac. I've since seen this on the border trim of many 19th century picture frames. It looks quite convincing. Is it possible when you cleaned the paint off of your clock the orange shellac came off with it? IMG_20210302_185634004.jpg
IMG_20210302_185733382.jpg
 

WIngraham

NAWCC Member
Apr 19, 2019
143
40
28
34
Country
Region
Hi Jeremy, thanks for the encouragement. I did come across that in my reading before doing this, and I wasn't really sure. It is certainly possible, does paint stripper take off shellac? I would say yes, considering the amount I used to get the layers of paint off lol. I considered top coating with shellac and even bought some platina flakes to reduce the color added. Not sure if I'll ever know, definitely food for thought.
I did find other examples of rococo style silver giltwood objects from this time period, but they were much harder to find than gold toned ones.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
167,112
Messages
1,456,237
Members
87,316
Latest member
Clockman1965
Encyclopedia Pages
1,057
Total wiki contributions
2,914
Last edit
E. Howard & Co. by Clint Geller