Review: Lexikon Der Deutschen Uhrenindustrie 1850-1980

Discussion in 'Horological Books' started by Hugh Dougherty, Apr 19, 2012.

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  1. Hugh Dougherty

    Hugh Dougherty NAWCC Staff

    Mar 18, 2010
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    This book review has been reproduced here from the May/June 2012 Watch & Clock Bulletin of the NAWCC at the request of author Doug Stevenson.

    Second, revised and much enlarged edition, by Hans-Heinrich Schmid.
    Published by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Chronometrie. Nuremberg/Berlin, 2012.
    ISBN 978-3-941539-99-0. Hardback. Two volumes, each 496 pages, and 7" x 10".
    Approx. $120 (€89). Available through the Historische Uhrenbücher Verlag:

    It was clear when the first edition of the Lexikon appeared in 2005 that it was a remarkable work, a fundamental resource that should be in the library of everyone interested in German clockmaking—in fact, the standard reference to the German clock industry—the volume you reach for first.

    Seven years later, on the welcome occasion of the revised and much enlarged second edition, it’s clear that this earlier judgment was an understatement. Not only has the Lexikon been validated as the standard reference to the German clock industry, and in a class of its own at that, it has also served as a common meeting ground for researchers internationally and has encouraged research. The second edition reflects this additional, by now implicit function.

    The first edition was already a hefty 674 pages. Schmid’s own intensive efforts have garnered more material, aided by collectors, museums, horological organizations, online forums, and Lexikon users from around the world. Specialists in various areas, from electro-mechanical clocks to gongs, have also contributed to what is seen as a common cause. Many more original German catalogs have become available as well, thanks largely to the efforts of fellow NAWCC member Victor Tang, and Bernhard Huber, Librarian of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Chronometrie.

    Then too, important historic German clockmakers’ journals such as the Deutsche Uhrmacher-Zeitung and the Allgemeines Journal der Uhrmacherkunst—once only accessible at a handful of libraries in person—have also been digitized by the DGC. A wealth of information has come from them. As a result of all of the above, the new edition of the Lexikon has grown by 48 percent, thereby requiring two volumes, for a total of 994 pages.

    The format of the second edition follows the pattern of the first. The first volume contains an alphabetical listing of German firms, with each entry offering fundamental information. This could include the various names a firm used over the years, when and where it was founded, street addresses and dates when known, firms it might have merged with or been sold to, how long it existed, what types of watches and clocks were made, along with trade names and illustrated trademarks.

    The first edition had 2,173 German clock and watch firms in this section. The new edition has been expanded to a total of 2,360 firms. It contains 1,649 trademarks (compared to the first’s 997) and some 2,800 German trade names (500 more than in the 2005 edition), or 4,500 German trademarks and tradenames altogether.

    Some wholesalers and dealers are included in the new edition to the extent that they handled watches and clocks under their own marks, Adolf Stern of Vienna is a good example. Yet the listings are of firms, not individual watch or clockmakers who, as the century matured, although able to make a clock or a watch, were increasingly concerned with retail, service, and repair. For the earlier Uhrmacher in the German-speaking traditions from the fourteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries, the standard reference is the second (2010) edition of Abeler’s Meister der Uhrmacherkunst. For individual clockmakers in the Black Forest tradition, there are the listings in the fourth (2008) edition of Schaaf’s Schwarzwalduhren.

    The number of firms in this section often surprises those who, when it comes to German manufacturers, tend to mentally kneejerk, so to speak, on Becker, Junghans, Kienzle, Lenzkirch, Mauthe, or Winterhalder & Hofmeier. It’s also quite common among those who still rely upon earlier references to assume that, say, a clock with Haller in its name will have come from one of a few, when the Lexikon lists over a dozen. Similarly, with some 19 firms that used the surname, one Schlenker does not an identification make.

    Collective experience with the first edition indicates that this first section is also useful for those who only have what linguists term a threshold-level ability in German, and what the rest of us call getting a beer, a brat, and if lucky a wink. Indeed, it is also approachable for those with no German. The format remains the same throughout. The same terms occur repeatedly. And with a little effort they’re soon familiar.

    Past its utility, this section also represents the best available information. Googling has become the first approach for many, and yet the Net has not only provided convenient access, it has also meant that outdated information (or misinformation) that might be imparted in a source from a generation ago is sometimes recycled as if it were current.

    A conveniently brief example is the misspelling of a clock manufacturer and the misnaming of its successor (the Uhrenfabrik Mühlheim, Müller & Co.) in a self-published volume over 30 years ago. Both were taken over when the information was adapted for a website, which served as a source for a recently published reference that now quoted as an authoritative source. That such is hardly a tragic flaw goes without saying. It is nonetheless somewhere between vexatious and ridiculous when current and reliable information is readily available. It should be about leading horologists to wine, not horses to water.

    The second part of the new edition, now the second volume, remains the most remarkable in this reviewer’s opinion. From the 2,361 firms in the first volume, 480 were selected for more complete descriptions. This is 170 more, a 75 percent increase, over the 2005 edition. Nor are these histories simply reworkings of earlier material. They represent consistent, careful, and self-critical scholarship. Just the thought of writing four dozen “or so” would be enough for most of us to seek asylum on a sofa. That Schmid has done the research for and written 480 of these descriptions is extraordinary, to say the least.

    As one would expect, more information is available for some firms than others. This however is often significant in the sense that if more were available it would be there. The description for a firm such as Mauthe covers over five pages. By contrast, one of this reviewer’s favorite firms, the Regulatorfabrik Germania, does well with just under a half. A list is given of the firms.

    The second section offers considerably more illustrations, around 300, than were in the first. Especially appealing are the old trade advertisements and the original material from catalogs. A bibliography contains 314 references. Throughout both volumes there are footnotes that refer to other sources, additional material, various uncertainties, clarify inconsistencies, and so on.

    Hans-Heinrich Schmid has earned our admiration, as well as our gratitude, for thus improving upon what was already a unique resource. The Lexikon is one of the most important contributions to German horology, not just one of the most useful. There are no doubt typos to be found and minor points to be raised. But to rabbit out a few (mightn’t it be Pabst of Haller, Jauch & Papst instead of Papst?) just to show that the reviewer is thorough would be untoward as well as petty.

    The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Chronometrie is also to be thanked, and congratulated, for their role in assuring that the volumes are of a fitting quality, and that the future of the Lexikon will be in the best of hands. After all, the new, second edition of the Lexikon is a remarkable work, even more so than the first. It’s a fundamental resource that belongs in the library of everyone with an interest in German clockmaking.
    D. K. Stevenson (AZ)​
     

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  2. soaringjoy

    soaringjoy Registered User
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    Feb 12, 2009
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    Very enjoyable reading, thanks for posting, Hugh.
    The author of the review, Dr. Douglas K. Stevenson (the Dr. not to be neglected in Europe)
    again makes his point, with his own, uncomparable humor.
    Thanks for that, Doug!
    Especially the "Pabst / Papst" thing rocked me.
    One must, of course consider, that we, the Germans, that is, are Pope indeed, according to
    a headline of a widespread "boulevard" newspaper. Papst meaning pope in German, is one's first
    thought over here.
    Except for me, of course, because I think of (Pabst) beer all the time, and brats, too. Prost. ;)
    While we're at religion - and no blasphemic thoughts intended at all - most of the German clockies
    consider H.-H. Schmid's Lexikon as "the bible" of the clockmaking industry. The book of books, yes
    and it has nothing to do with the color of the cover.
    The author, Hans-Heinrich Schmid, is simply dedicated to clocks. It was and is his quest, to gather
    the vast amounts of information in that book.
    He did an excellent job.
    Yupp, I already have my 2nd edition Lexikon nearby - and, to speak with Doug's words, a nifty copy
    in the glove compartment of my car, just in case a cop should ask for it.
    Here's to you, Hans-Heinrich, well done again, prost! ;)
     
  3. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
    NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Life Member Donor

    Aug 25, 2000
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    The above bookreview may well be the last Message Board contribution by Douglas Stevenson. He passed away in late April 2012. His many insightfull contributions to this message board and his love for horological books will be sorely missed.
     
  4. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
    NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Life Member Donor

    Aug 25, 2000
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    #4 Fortunat Mueller-Maerki, Jul 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2012
    Who made this German Clock? With Two New Editions of Classic Reference Books the Answers are now Readily Available
    Bookreview

    Here is an additional review of the reference book on German clockmakers reviewed at the beginning of this thread by the late Doug Stevenson (plus related book). The review below was published in ANTIQUARIAN HOROLOGY, the journal of the UK based Antiquarian Horological Society and is reprinted here with their permission:


    Lexikon der Deutschen Uhrenindustrie 1850-1980, Second significantly expanded edition. By Hans-Heinrich Schmid. Published 2012 by Deutsche Gesellschaft fűr Chronometrie, Nűrnberg, Germany. ISBN 978-3-941539-99-0. 979 pages (483 & 489p.) in two hardcover volumes, 25 cm x 18 cm. Numerous illustrations (1650 trademarks illustrated, plus over 300 additional images in the companies history section; bibliography with 300 entries. Available at http://uhrenliteraturshop.de/DGC-Publikationen/Schmid-Lexikon-der-Deutschen-Uhrenindustrie::56.html for Euro 89.-, plus postage.
    Meister der Uhrmacherkunst, 2nd significantly expanded Edition. By Jürgen Abeler. Published 2010 by the Author, Wuppertal (Germany). ISBN 978-3-00-030830-7. Hardcover, 656 pages, 24 cm x 17 cm. Index. Text in German. Available from the author at
    http://www.juwelier-abeler.com/?id=63&prlid=ACC&prbid=LIT or from www.amazon.de for Euro 98 plus postage.

    Reference books listing the known makers of clocks and/or watches of a specific era or a specific area obviously are a vital tool for both horological scholars and horological collectors, and there are countless such titles, many of them achieving iconic status, and some going through repeated updates and new editions. Attentive readers of this magazine will recall that the second title mentioned above was reviewed by this reviewer in the December 2010 issue of Antiquarian Horology. Jürgen Abeler’s Meister der Uhrmacherkunst’, first published in 1977, is the classic title regarding Germany among these reference books. It was out of print for about twenty years before its update in 2010, which led to incredible prices in the used book market. Abeler by design also had excluded all industrial horological manufacturing; collecting factory made clocks in Europe back in the 1970’s was only in its infancy.

    But horological collectors in America, where non-industrial clocks were much scarcer had few such reservations. This created a demand for information sources, a demand that initially was filled by the late Karl Kochman, a Californian of German origin, who in 1977 self-published the pioneering Clock Trademarks – 1000 Names Index’, a photomechanical reproduction of a 128 page typescript. This book was based on Kochman’s significant and longstanding personal collection of trademark images, some of them only hand-drawn sketches based on oral reports of sightings.

    There was an obvious demand for this kind of information and Kochmann’s book went through a rapid series of editions to the fourth edition of 1984 in spite of its ‘home brewed’ qualities, the somewhat idiosyncratic organization scheme, and several outright errors. A fifth edition in 1988 more than doubled the number of entries, now on more than 600 pages, and the 1992 edition expanded to 960 pages. Unfortunately most of this growth came in the form of added chapters and geographic expansion of the coverage, without any improvement in the structure or quality of the presented data. By the mid-1990s Kochman’s health had decreased and he passed away shortly thereafter, although his Trademark Index book saw additional editions, warts and all, published by his legal successors. The work, although greatly cherished by many casual collectors was not considered a reliable resource by horological scholars.

    This void was felt most acutely by people interested in the history of German clock making, as during the era of the industrially produced mechanical clock, ca. 1840 to 1980 no country had produced as many clocks, nor as many clock making enterprises as Germany. Many horologists were frustrated, but only one did anything about it: Hans-Heinrich Schmid , a German clock historian, in the mid-1990s started a highly systematic database on the corporate history of all known clock making enterprises in the country, as well as documenting which brand names and trademarks were used when and by whom. This was a labor of love rather than a path to riches, and commercial publishers are very reluctant to take on such projects. Fortunately Schmid was able to team up with the ‘Uhrenindustriemuseum , Villingen-Schwenningen’ a local German museum dedicated to the history of industrial clock making. They published in 2005 the first edition of ‘Lexikon der Deutschen Uhrenindustrie 1850-1980, a much acclaimed 674 page reference book. For the first time there was not only a reliable directory of German clock factories and their trademarks, but also a source for concise corporate histories of all the major players. The first edition won critical acclaim and universal praise, but was – in the opinion of this reviewer - not noted sufficiently by horologists outside of the German speaking part of the world.

    In the following years a team of volunteers of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Chronometrie (DGC) provided the manpower to process the thousands of additions, updates and corrections accumulated by Abeler in the 30 years since his first edition. The second edition of that book –covering German clock making in the handcraft era, i.e. about up to 1850 - was published (and reviewed in these pages) in 2010.

    In the meantime publishers stock of the ‘Lexikon’ was starting to run low, and Schmid had continued to expand his database of German clock factories. A new publisher was needed; the Uhrenindustriemuseum was unable to fill the role. Thankfully the DGC stepped into the void as publisher for this and future editions of the ‘Lexikon’.

    The second, substantially enlarged edition of ‘Lexikon der Deutschen Uhrenindustrie 1850-1980’ represents everything a scholarly reference book should be: It is comprehensive, well structured, easy to use, and virtually free of errors. The massive additional amounts of data necessitated a switch to a two volume format.

    Volume 1 contains the ‘Company Directory (Branchenverzeichnis) ‘ (expanded from 2180 entries to 2360). Entries are alphabetical, typically by last name of the founder, as most enterprises started as individual proprietorships. This directory is well cross referenced to successor companies, merger partners or prominent brand names. Entries typically consist of Name, Active from - to, Address, and what they produced when, as well as brand names and trademarks used (incl. illustrations). Unlike in the first edition, retailers that sold their own privately branded goods produced by third parties are now included as well. An additional effort was made to include makers of watches made in Germany. This ‘Company Directory’ stretches over 400 pages in Volume 1.

    Next is a visual directory of 1650 Trademark Images (470 new to the second edition) not containing any names or letters (giving their corporate owner), a listing of unidentified trademarks, and a few foreign trademarks (6 pages). This is followed by the 60 page listing of 2800 word trademarks 950 more than in the first edition).

    The biggest change however comes in Volume 2: It contains what were called ‘Firmengeschichten’ (corporate histories) in the first edition, but are now labeled ‘Firmenbeschreibungen’ (Corporate descriptions) , i.e. narratives on 480 corporations raging from a quarter page to 12 pages in length. In the first edition that section took 250 pages, it has now grown by 75% to 420 pages. Not only are the images of the trademarks listed here again, but several hundred other additional images (mainly factory buildings, advertisements, etc.) have been added, augmenting its value as an information source. A 300 entry bibliography (10 pages) and indexes conclude Volume 2.

    The big question for possible purchasers of such a book who have no (or a limited) knowledge of the German language is always how helpful all that information in a foreign language will turn out to be. That is a legitimate reservation, but this reviewer believes that in this case the problem is minimized by the well thought out and systematic structure of this reference tool, and the consistent use of a standardized limited vocabulary.. Even people who do not read German will find it possible to access most of the information in volume 1, and may well get the general gist of the narratives in volume 2. Furthermore the availability of scanners, OCR programs and the wide availability of online tools such as ‘Google translate’ have greatly increased the usefulness of these kinds of ‘foreign’ horological books for ‘English only’ readers.

    The thoroughness of research behind the first edition was already exemplary, and for this new edition it is absolutely amazing. Most of the credit belongs to Schmid, but he was aided by a fundamental shift in availability of historic horological information on Germany in the course of the last few years. Thanks to the tireless and systematic efforts of the Library of the DGC in Nűrnberg under the leadership of Dr. Bernhard Huber, the whole historic print runs of all German horological periodicals of the last 150 years have been scanned, OCRed and are now available to researchers electronically for full text (including adverts) electronic searches. This has made it possible to for the first time systematically search for - and find – original historic source material on a scale that hereto was only theoretically possible.

    What Dr. Douglas Stevenson wrote in his 2005 review of the first edition of the book: “The moment Hans-Heinrich Schmid's volume was published it became the standard reference to the German clock industry -- the volume you reach for first” is doubly true today.

    With the future publication rights for the two leading references works on German horology (Abeler for the craftsmen sector, Schmid for the industrial sector) now controlled by DGC, an institution dedicated to the not-for-profit dissemination of horological knowledge, this reviewer is confident that there will be future updates for both publications, maybe even in user friendly, interactive electronic formats.

    Once again all students of horological history are reminded that we all owe thanks to the individuals and institutions that make this research available to us. Thank you Jürgen Abeler, Hans-Heinrich Schmid and DGC.

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki, March 2012
     

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  5. Albra

    Albra Registered User

    Oct 17, 2006
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    What a source!. Incredible!!
     
  6. Albra

    Albra Registered User

    Oct 17, 2006
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    The third, revised and enlarged edition of the "Lexikon" is now available.

    http://uhrenliteraturshop.de/DGC-Publikationen:::3.html

    Published by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Chronometrie. Nuremberg/Berlin, 2014.
    ISBN 978-3-941539-99-0. Hardback. Two volumes. The price is still approx $120 (€89)

    Available through the Historische Uhrenbücher Verlag, Berlin:

    Florian Stern
    Baseler Str. 83 A
    12205 Berlin
    AB: 0049 (0)30 83203842
    Fax: 0049 (0)30 83202674

    bestellung@uhrenliteratur.de




    albra
     

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