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Seeking alte deutsche translation for painted clock dial lettering

Jim Duncan

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While this isn't exactly my newest clock acquisition (Dec 2020), it was just a few days ago I could see the next step in the puzzle.

Acquired out of Florida via eBay, this is a painted iron dial wall clock with a religious theme. As purchased there were portions of the dial painted over with sea-green paint. I thought there might be lettering under the over-paint.

Luckily I was able to find a semi-local professional paint conservator who had the skills to remove the over-paint layer. It will be a challenge now to decipher the lettering that was found under the over-paint.

Does anyone know a person with the skills to allow a translation of the lettering? I've made a brief attempt to have a go at it myself, but quickly realized that its not as easy as it looks. I was able to get far enough to be reasonably sure that it is Germanic in character. I think/hope .....text continues after the photos. memento - chap ring (good).JPG IMG_4592.jpg IMG_4593.jpg IMG_4594.jpg the context of the writing will be a big help in the areas where the paint has been damaged.
 
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new2clocks

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Does anyone know a person with the skills to allow a translation of the lettering?
the context of the writing will be a big help in the areas where the paint has been damaged.
Jim,

Others may be able to assist you, but JTD will most certainly be able to translate both literally and within the proper context.

Unfortunately, not all of the writing is legible.

Regards.
 

FDelGreco

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It may be old German which is very hard to translate because the letters are so unusual and different from current German. We had a German member in our chapter -- he's now deceased -- who could translate that stuff, as I had a tower clock book written in old German -- I couldn't even translate the title although I had an old German to English dictionary. I couldn't match the letters. But he was able to translate the title right off.

Good luck!

Frank
 

JTD

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The curved inscription at the top is very much damaged and although I can read some of the words, I can't read enough. Can you post a sharper picture of that part?

The first two lines of the lower inscription is, I think:

Wie g'schwind ist ein Tag verschwunden, (How fast a day disappears)
Was ist schnel(l)er als die Zeit (What is faster than time)

But I am still working on the last two lines, I would like to get them right.

It general terms, it is a rhyming verse reminding you that your days are limited and to be prepared for death.

I will come back when/if I get them worked out.

JTD
 
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Jim Duncan

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JTD - Thanks for your efforts! Can you give me a regular email address to use, and I will send the original image. I think the Message Board software modifies images to 'best fit' certain parameters.

I've been trying to figure out if the overall message of the images is "memento mori" or "memento vivere".

Based on the icons on the dial, the main image at the top is St Jerome, the skeleton is God's angel of death, the priest in the brown robes is St Francis Xavier.

Jim
St Francis Xavier.png St Jerome - Wikipedia (good).png
 

Uhralt

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The curved inscription at the top is very much damaged and although I can read some of the words, I can't read enough. Can you post a sharper picture of that part?

The first two lines of the lower inscription is, I think:

Wie g'schwind ist ein Tag verschwunden, (How fast a day disappears)
Was ist schnel(l)er als die Zeit (What is faster than time)

But I am still working on the last two lines, I would like to get them right.

It general terms, it is a rhyming verse reminding you that your days are limited and to be prepared for death.

I will come back when/if I get them worked out.

JTD
The last two lines seem to read:
"Seelig der zu allen Stunden
zu dem Tode sich hat bereit".

Meaning: Blessed is who at every hour has prepared himself for death.

Uhralt
 
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JTD

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The last two lines seem to read:
"Seelig der zu allen Stunden
zu dem Tode sich hat bereit".

Meaning: Blessed is who at every hour has prepared himself for death.

Uhralt
Yes, that's what I thought, but there seems to be an extra letter in Stunden (after the 'd').

JTD
 

JTD

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Looks like a “t.” Alternative spelling?
Given the vagaries of the spelling, I think you may well be right. I think these lines now read
'Seelig der zu allen Stunden
zu dem Todt sich hat bereit'.

Uhralt was grammatically right to put 'Tode', but that doesn't scan properly and on looking as hard as I can at the text, I think I see 'Todt'.

So:

Wie g'schwind ist ein Tag verschwunden
Was ist schnel(l)er als die Zeit?
Seelig der zu allen Stundten
Zu dem Todt sich hat bereit


Thanks to Uhralt and Steven I think we have got it right. I am pleased we got there.

JTD
 
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Uhralt

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Given the vagaries of the spelling, I think you may well be right. I think these lines now read
'Seelig der zu allen Stunden
zu dem Todt sich hat bereit'.

Uhralt was grammatically right to put 'Tode', but that doesn't scan properly and on looking as hard as I can at the text, I think I see 'Todt'.

So:

Wie g'schwind ist ein Tag verschwunden
Was ist schnel(l)er als die Zeit?
Seelig der zu allen Stundten
Zu dem Todt sich hat bereit


Thanks to Uhralt and Steven I think we have got it right. I am pleased we got there.

JTD
Yes, the "dt" instead of the simple "d" has often be used in the old times. I had written the text in nowadays German.
 

Jim Duncan

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I'm a bit behind the times today, but just finished sending (via email) JTD new photos, one a macro magnification. Ten photos were on the order of 37MB, which I'm sure the Message Board would "clip".

Could any of you suggest why someone would over-paint the lettering given the generalized interpretation?

Jim
 

Uhralt

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I'm a bit behind the times today, but just finished sending (via email) JTD new photos, one a macro magnification. Ten photos were on the order of 37MB, which I'm sure the Message Board would "clip".

Could any of you suggest why someone would over-paint the lettering given the generalized interpretation?

Jim
I think that someone who owned he clock didn't wont to be reminded "all the time" (pun intended) of his or her mortality. The same reason why so many people don't make a testament.

Uhralt
 

Jim Duncan

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Thanks to Uhralt and JTD and Steven T. for the tricky translations. I'm wondering if JTD is satisfied with the latest version shown in message #10? I remain convinced that the Message Board is the best benefit to NAWCC membership!
Jim
 

Jim Duncan

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JTD - Regarding the upper curved lettering - in message #4 you requested further photos for better clarity. Could you take a look at the photos I sent to you to see if a translation is possible? Thanks
Jim
 

Wade Hubble

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JTD - Regarding the upper curved lettering - in message #4 you requested further photos for better clarity. Could you take a look at the photos I sent to you to see if a translation is possible? Thanks
Jim
I wrote my German tower clock restorer and here is what his translation says. His English is not good so could have grammatical errors.
From the sense:

How quick a day disappears
Nothing is faster than the time
Blessed, who is to all hours ready for the death
 

JTD

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I wrote my German tower clock restorer and here is what his translation says. His English is not good so could have grammatical errors.
From the sense:

How quick a day disappears
Nothing is faster than the time
Blessed, who is to all hours ready for the death

That is rough translation of the lower lettering, not the curved top inscription. We have already dealt with the lower one.

JTD
 

JTD

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JTD - Regarding the upper curved lettering - in message #4 you requested further photos for better clarity. Could you take a look at the photos I sent to you to see if a translation is possible? Thanks
Jim

We have already corresponded about this in PM. I have not forgotten and will PM again asap.

JTD
 

Jim Duncan

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I wrote my German tower clock restorer and here is what his translation says. His English is not good so could have grammatical errors.
From the sense:

How quick a day disappears
Nothing is faster than the time
Blessed, who is to all hours ready for the death

Wade - I kinda like this translation, thanks! Could you have a go at the upper band of lettering?

Jim
 

Burkhard Rasch

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please more macro shots of the upper inscription, it starts with : "wan ich gedenk daran wo ich erschienen..." = "if (or when) I recall where I appeared..."
Burkhard
 
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c.kugle

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While this isn't exactly my newest clock acquisition (Dec 2020), it was just a few days ago I could see the next step in the puzzle.

Acquired out of Florida via eBay, this is a painted iron dial wall clock with a religious theme. As purchased there were portions of the dial painted over with sea-green paint. I thought there might be lettering under the over-paint.

Luckily I was able to find a semi-local professional paint conservator who had the skills to remove the over-paint layer. It will be a challenge now to decipher the lettering that was found under the over-paint.

Does anyone know a person with the skills to allow a translation of the lettering? I've made a brief attempt to have a go at it myself, but quickly realized that its not as easy as it looks. I was able to get far enough to be reasonably sure that it is Germanic in character. I think/hope .....text continues after the photos. View attachment 664692 View attachment 664695 View attachment 664696 View attachment 664697 the context of the writing will be a big help in the areas where the paint has been damaged.
I have a good friend from Germany and will see if she can make out the text.. My German is too rusty to help..
 

Wade Hubble

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please more macro shots of the upper inscription, it starts with : "wan ich gedenk daran wo ich erschienen..." = "if (or when) I recall where I appeared..."
Burkhard
The first part

Here is whaty friend Markus cae up with. I sent the dial in 2 separate photos so he could magnify it easier.

Wan ich Gedenk daran wo ich erscheinen muss

If I think of it, where I have to appear

[01/08, 13:23] Markus Baumeister: So treibet mich dies an, zu einer Bahre (last word I can't read)
[01/08, 13:25] Markus Baumeister: From the sense

If I think of it, where I have to appear
So this will motivate me to go(?) to a deathbed

I think the death, painted on the dial means this

Got this.. The religues symbols have been removed in the French revolution and it was painted in the colors of the tricolore

I hope this helps- Wade
 

Burkhard Rasch

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my attempt would be : Wan ich gedenck wo ich erscheinen muß so treibet mich diß an zu einer wahren Pueß ; considerning modern German spelling this would be : "Wann ich bedenk wo ich erscheinen muss so treibet mich dies an zu einer wahren Buß ´ " which in translation gives perfectly sense in context with the picture: "If I think over where I have to appear this (thought) drives me to truthfull penitence". HTH
Burkhard
 

JTD

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my attempt would be : Wan ich gedenck wo ich erscheinen muß so treibet mich diß an zu einer wahren Pueß

I think you have it right, but the word 'daran' (which I had originally read as 'durch') should come after 'gedenck', so that it reads 'Wan ich gedenck daran, wo ich erscheinen mueß.....'

But yes, I think you have got it - Hut ab!

JTD
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Stand corrected: Indeed I left out "daran" so here´s the correct version : Wan ich gedenck daran , wo ich erscheinen mueß , so treibet diß mich an zu einer wahren B(P?)ueß.
(the half bottle of wine yesterday helped to guess the letters and words but caused to miss "daran"...You cannot have it all...)
Burkhard
 
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Jim Duncan

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Stand corrected: Indeed I left out "daran" so here´s the correct version : Wan ich gedenck daran , wo ich erscheinen mueß , so treibet diß mich an zu einer wahren B(P?)ueß.
(the half bottle of wine yesterday helped to guess the letters and words but caused to miss "daran"...You cannot have it all...)
Burkhard
Burkhard - Can you provide the translation to English, especially the B(P?)ueß at the end? Google translate doesn't work so well.

Jim
 

Burkhard Rasch

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The modern spelling of this old- fashioned word is Buße which translates as pentítence, repentance, expiation...
HTH
Burkhard
 

Burkhard Rasch

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so the whole sentence is: " If I consider where I shall (once) appear , I´m forced to truefull penitence"
Burkhard
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Can You show some pics of the movement or the clock as a whole? I´d guess the writing was done together with the painting, and that the whole clock started life in the second half of the 18th century ; especialy in remote regions of southern Germany and the adjacent parts of Austria and Switzerland this style of painting incl. the lettering was popular until the beginning of the 19th century.
Burkhard
 

JTD

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so the whole sentence is: " If I consider where I shall (once) appear , I´m forced to truefull penitence"
Burkhard

Burkhard and I have corresponded with each other about various aspects of this whole inscription. He and I are in agreement that '....a true penitence' is the most suitable translation of 'eine wahre Buße'.

JTD
 

Jim Duncan

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Burkhard - Here are some photos of the movement. I've added comments on some of them. If you allow for now-missing alarm pieces, the extra holes are explainable.

Minute hand is later Black Forest, maybe hour hand is original?

Given the clock could well be süddeutsche, can you tell if the images (and lettering) are catholic or protestant?
Jim

memento mvmt -frt & text.JPG memento center dial as purch copy.png my Memento Mori- back.png my Memento Mori - RH si.png
 

Burkhard Rasch

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Thanks for the additional pics, that cofirms my opinion about being made second half 18th or verry early 19th century. I´d guess the pic and the inscription come from a catholic background due to the clothing of the figure on the left. Protestants didn´t have monks.
Just a guess though..
Burkhard
 

JTD

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I´d guess the pic and the inscription come from a catholic background due to the clothing of the figure on the left. Protestants didn´t have monks.
I agree - it's certainly in keeping with Catholic traditional religious painting of the time.

JTD
 

Uhralt

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Burkhard - Here are some photos of the movement. I've added comments on some of them. If you allow for now-missing alarm pieces, the extra holes are explainable.

Minute hand is later Black Forest, maybe hour hand is original?

Given the clock could well be süddeutsche, can you tell if the images (and lettering) are catholic or protestant?
Jim

View attachment 666027 View attachment 666028 View attachment 666029 View attachment 666030
I think the hour hand is likely original. It has some similarity to the hour hand of my ca. 1740 "Eisenuhr" made by W. Andreas In Buedingen (near Frankfurt).

Uhralt Andreas4.JPG
 

Jim Duncan

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I think the hour hand is likely original. It has some similarity to the hour hand of my ca. 1740 "Eisenuhr" made by W. Andreas In Buedingen (near Frankfurt).

Uhralt View attachment 666306
Thanks Uhralt. Those thin brass hands always look so fragile! I've seen some German ones that have a steel end at the center hole and then a fancy brass portion soldered up to the tip.

Jim
 

Uhralt

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Thanks Uhralt. Those thin brass hands always look so fragile! I've seen some German ones that have a steel end at the center hole and then a fancy brass portion soldered up to the tip.

Jim
This hour hand is soldered into a thicker middle portion (not vey well centered as you can see). The minute hand of my clock is steel and rather sturdy. It appears to be original to the clock. I have seen similar combinations of hands in other examples of this kind of clock.

Uhralt
 

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