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"Solid Steel Pinions" marked on back. ID?

AndyDWA

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Dec 26, 2013
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I just saw a clock but was unfortunately unable to take photos as my camera battery was flat.

The owner has been told he has something very rare but I was unable to id it or offer any advice.

It is a disc pendulum model with a bell-bottom suspension guard. The words "SOLID STEEL PINIONS" are stamped on the lower right of the back plate above the serial number 22856 (from memory). I could see no other markings. I looked in the book when I got home but was unable to find it.

Edit: The clock is otherwise a fairly normal looking 400-day standard.

The owner was of the opinion the clock chimed but I could see no way this was possible as there was just one winder and no obvious chime train, bells or other oddities that might would make striking possible.

Any thoughts on what it might be and any other useful info would be appreciated.
 
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shutterbug

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Sounds like an advertising gimmick! Far as I know, all pinions are "solid steel" :D
 

etmb61

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Kienzle sold virtually identical clocks with Huber movements, some with solid pinions and some with lantern pinions.

Was it like this one?
 

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shutterbug

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I wasn't thinking that "solid steel" was referring to a solid pinion - but that's likely what it was supposed to mean :) I was thinking even lantern pinions use solid steel for the trundles ;)
 

AndyDWA

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Hmmm, I can see I'll need to go back and get photos :) My memory isn't good enough to compare to Eric's photo.

The "solid steel pinions" was stamped in very clean all-caps. It was straight, correctly spaced and spread 3/4 across the pack plate, from click to right edge. Even the serial number was nicely spaced, if that matters (I assume that was down to individuals and the care they took).

One other thing I noticed was that the dial seemed to have a "back plate", making it like an envelope, and that the intermediate wheel seemed to poke into a rectangular (?) hole in the back of it.

The dial was large, unlike many of these disc-pendulum clocks where you can see the front plate around the dials.

I'm pretty sure the base was unremarkable, rounded like a Schatz or Kundo from the fifties, rather than sculpted like a GB or the catalogue Kienzles.

The owner has apparently been advised in the past it's worth thousands of dollars - but unless it is truly a one-off, I'm not seeing any reason why that might be.
 

John Hubby

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Andy, what you saw was a Jahresuhren-Fabrik clock. I have documented three of these to date, serial numbers 122717, 122822, and 131083. The first two have the same back plate you have described, neither one with any letter stamped at the lower left corner. I have identified the plate as Plate 1617 with the words added. The third one is a Plate 1439 with the letter "G" at lower left, "Made in Germany", serial number, and the SOLID STEEL PINIONS at lower right. I think the serial number on the clock you saw was likely 122856, being one of a number made at the same time. The clocks with the lower serial numbers were all made in 3rd quarter 1912, about four months after Huber produced their first lantern pinion movements having the two DRGM stamps for pin pallets and lantern pinions. The clock with the higher number was made about mid-1913.

Here is the back plate for serial number 122822:
122822 Back Plate.jpg

My conclusion when I saw the first of these was that it was a marketing ploy by JUF to show they had superior quality to Huber. Remember that when you are describing a gear train, the small gear on the gear arbor shafts is called a pinion. In this instance for example, Huber movements have lantern pinions and JUF clocks have solid steel pinions.

Will look forward to seeing photos, the first two above are fairly standard 4-Ball clocks with enamel dials, the third one has a 3-1/2 inch diameter enamel dial.
 

AndyDWA

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Thanks John, I think you've nailed it.

You are likely right about the serial number as it started almost behind the guard so the "1" was likely hidden.

I need to learn to pay attention to pinions (and I need to stop confusing them with pivots as I have been for this clock, until you mentioned it).

If you have only documented three of these, would that suggest this model is particularly special? The chap has apparently been given the idea by a jeweller, some time ago, that this clock is quite a scarcity and likely worth anywhere upwards of AU$5000-8000. I'm thinking there's at least one too many zeroes in that estimate...and then some.

I quickly set it running and it appeared to be in beat and picked up steam straight away, so that puts it ahead of a lot of the cupboard dwellers and dust collectors I've been introduced to in the past - but it does have a plastic dome so I'd be stuck to put a realistic value on it (and I don't really want to shatter the gentleman's long-held dreams of great riches so will probably leave that discussion alone).



As an aside, I wonder how many collectors here have been told by previous owners about the gold suspension thread and gold parts in these clocks? I had one chap change his mind about selling me a clock after he "realised" its "scrap gold" value far outweighed anything I might offer :)
 

Tinker Dwight

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Oct 11, 2010
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A brass suspension spring might be confused.
Any possible gold plating would require 20 clocks to be
worth heating it up to melt them.
HP used to have gold plated circuit boards. Again, it took
a lot of boards to be worth much at 15 mil plating.
Anyway, I think this fellow is confusing rare with valuable.
These are to different words.
Tinker Dwight
 

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