German Meine Kuckucks- und Wachteluhr

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Sep 13, 2019.

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  1. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Nov 26, 2009
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    Every so often I enjoy veering off the straight and narrow Americana path...if the price is right. In the past, that has typically lead me to something of European origin. That has happened again.

    On one of my regular picking routes, came across this:

    quail cuckoo 1.JPG

    It's larger than a typical cuckoo, being about 31-32 inches from the lower central carving to the tips of the antlers. Has quite the presence.

    What appealed to me were the carvings. No, not much of a fan of the dead critters that seem so prevalent on this type of thing. But their quality was pretty good and with only a few minor damages/losses:

    qual cuckoo 2.JPG quail cuckoo 3.JPG quail cuckoo 4.JPG

    I'm amazed that the antlers remain with only on small loss and a repaired break. Alas, poor Bugs and Tweety. I knew them, Horatio, cartoon characters of infinite jest.

    Here's the innards:

    quail cuckoo 5.JPG quail cuckoo 6.JPG

    Unfortunately, someone replaced 2 of the whistles with modern plastic ones. They work. The original gong base remains but is replaced with a too small more recent gong. So, when the quail goes off, the hammer barely reaches producing a rather feeble or absent "ding". I could probably fiddle with it but the whole clock is rather clumsy and unwieldy and I want to just leave it on the wall. Not the mark on the cast brass movement. Based upon the somewhat at times confusing entries I can find on the MB, I believe this is the mark of George Kuehl an early 20th century importer of these clocks and I guess somewhat later, a maker?

    Here's a page from a 1913 publication:

    kuehl cuckoo.jpg

    The first clock in the bottom row kinda looks like mine albeit it's just a cuckoo?

    I do like "Black Forest" carving.

    Here's a carved stag head but with real antlers:

    deer 1.JPG deer 2.JPG

    Well carved. Rather stern looking fellow. He keeps watch over the terlet in the downstairs powder room.

    Here's another carved stage head also with real a real rack:

    leach deer.JPG

    The picture doesn't give a good sense that it's about life sized. That pinkish paint is a bit funky but if not original, it has been there for a very long time. "Black Forest" right? Nope. American and die stamped on the back "H. LEACH/BOSTON". Somewhere I have pic of that but I can't find it and I ain't climbing up to take this thing down.

    H(enry) Leach was an important Boston area carver. Here's his business card:

    Trade card for H. Leach, sculptor in wood and fancy carver, No. 2 Indiana Street, Boston, Mass., 1865-1872

    He was an important late 19th early 20th century carver, first in Boston, than in the nearby town of Woburn. He is well known for his carved animal heads. I've seen bulls, elks and rams by his hand. All serve as mounts for real horns or antlers.

    His most important works were the creation of molds from which full body hollow copper weather vanes were produced. These master carvings are quite valuable:

    https://www.sothebys.com/en/search-results.html?query=henry leach

    Bellamy, info about whom can be found on the MB, is also reported to have done similar work. In fact, I have been to auctions where Leach's work was misattributed to Bellamy even though signed by the former! Some of this is due to errors in a recent book about the latter.

    RM
     
  2. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    RM,

    The GK trademark is that of George Kuehl. It was registered in 1909, but was in existence from at least 1905, as that TM was shown in advertisements from 1905.

    For some time, it was assumed that the G.K. TM was that of Gebrueder Kuner, based on an erroneous entry in a book on Black Forest Clocks, which referenced ephemera from a 1904 St. Louis Exposition. It was subsequently discovered (by contributors of this board) that Kuner was not in business until the mid-1920's.

    Regards.
     
  3. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thanks!

    That’s what I found, too.

    RM
     
  4. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I forgot to post 2 letters that accompanied the clock.

    The first is to a Mr. Elkins and is dated 1/28/72. It includes a brief description of the clock, a "dating" with a valuation, agreeing to "restore" and it take it on consignment:

    cuckoo quail.jpg

    I wonder if it was this self described "master clock makers to the trade" installed the plastic whistles and changed out the gong? By the way, they appear to still be in business.


    The next letter is from Mr. Elkins dated 3/12/77 describing the clock to a Mr. and Mrs. Albert Binkert, the buyers of the clock:

    cuckoo quail 2.jpg

    Guess it took a while to sell?

    The second letter is interesting in light of a recent thread about a clock winding poem and "My Grandfather's Clock" lyrics and the sentiments they expressed surrounding winding the old family clock. Clearly this clock held a special place in the family and the task of winding was, as Mr. Elkins wrote, "almost a traditional ceremony" becoming an important family tradition reserved for the head of the household. Nowadays, I've had general retail antique buyers expressing disbelief that a clock needed to be wound weekly and immediate rejection if required daily!

    The "facts" contained in both letters about the clock are, well, not very factual. Not 8 day, it wasn't even a twinkle in anyone's eye in the 1870's. I do believe that Mr. Elkin's letter has several misconceptions. Yes, it might have been bought in Germany in 1906 (though George Kuehl was importing these clocks) for great grandma. I doubt it was acquired from the person whose father made it 30 years earlier. I do not believe that Mr. Elkins was fabricating this. Many family histories are so often a lot of bunk for many reasons and just don't stand up well to scrutiny. They should always be taken with a grain of salt.

    RM
     
  5. new2clocks

    new2clocks Registered User
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    I remember an episode of Antiques Roadshow from some years ago where a person brought in a piece of china from the early 1900's and the person wanted to know more about the piece. I am not sure if it was a family heirloom, but the person believed the dating. The appraiser flipped over the plate and written in small print was "Dishwasher Safe".

    Regards.
     
  6. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I’ve seen many instances where a fervently cherished passed down family history is basically, as we used to say in the Bronx, a “bubby meinseh”.

    Worse is when a story & provenance are created based upon real facts but if looked at critically, they don’t really have a connection to the object or objects but are still swallowed hook, line & sinker. Like those cigar clocks that stimulated much discussion.

    RM
     
  7. woodlawndon

    woodlawndon Registered User
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    Nice clock and the letters are fun, I love finding stuff like that in clocks or old furniture. Family provenance stories are always kind of iffy and my family is no exception. Mom has some doozies about some of her stuff, the stories get passed down as fact. But don't dare try to challenge the stories, just wait until it's your turn to pass them on or risk scorn ;)
     
  8. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thanks.

    Indicated in everything that George Washington slept there.

    george washington slept here.jpg

    RM
     

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