Wooden escape wheel on Bohemian oldie (holzräderuhr)

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by Jim Duncan, Oct 26, 2014.

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  1. Jim Duncan

    Jim Duncan Registered User
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    A few weeks ago a nice dusty, cobwebbed old clock arrived at the house. Seller said his elderly father bought it at a farm auction in Rochester, NY 20 years ago.


    Holzräderuhren = wooden wheel clocks.


    Thought I'd post a few photos to see what can be learned from them. Please go into great detail if you can.


    I've the book "Holzräderuhren" by B. Schaaf from the library, but since its in German I'm having a tough time learning much. Google translator just doesn't handle the clock terms very well (escape wheel = inhibitor, etc).


    Jim
    holz frt w:bell.JPG holz LH 3:4 rr.jpg holz anchor close.jpg holz motion whls .JPG holz teeth repair on T2.JPG holz frt - btr.jpg
     
  2. Bill Stuntz

    Bill Stuntz Technical Admin
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    Are those diagonal braces pieces of an old hardware store yardstick?
     
  3. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    Your a lucky man Jim! That's a great clock!!!!
     
  4. Jim Duncan

    Jim Duncan Registered User
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    Bill - Yep, the diagonals look to be from an old yardstick (printing seems to be in English). I've been tempted to remove them, but since the clock is hanging on my wall, I thought not.

    Jim
     
  5. Bill Stuntz

    Bill Stuntz Technical Admin
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    I'd leave them anyway - they're part of the clock's history now. I can't remember when I last saw yardsticks like that, free for the taking at hardware stores. I DO remember them from back in the 50's - 60's. The freebies now are usually paint stir sticks.
    Besides, I suspect that they're necessary for mechanical stability. The weights will probably drag the front plate down, misaligning the plates & stopping the clock.
     
  6. Jim Duncan

    Jim Duncan Registered User
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    Free paint sticks? Not here! Local hardware store is charging 75 cents/stick these days if you don't buy an order of paint.

    Jim
     
  7. Jim Duncan

    Jim Duncan Registered User
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    Before I started the thread on this old clock I debated whether to begin with a simple opening or to go with the long, more involved scenario. I opted to keep it simple and see what develops.

    Here is the long (too long?) version where I invite comments on my observations and assumptions.

    I am asking other clockies to lead me in old clock forensics on this one. Here are some factors to consider, research done so far is online and from B. Schaaf's 1986 book "Holzräderuhren" (in German, so not well deciphered by me).


    1. Clock Origin: Holy Roman Empire (now Germany, Austria, western Czech Republic). Most likely Bohemia (Czech Republic) based on reverse painted glass dial and scroll top.


    2. Period: late 1700's, early 1800's, most likely the latter based on brass bell instead of glass.


    3. Converted from verge & crown wheel with front pendulum to anchor & escape wheel with rear pendulum. Hole in top plate for crown wheel is carefully covered. Existing escape wheel is wood with turnings very much like the other wheels (not amateur work). Anchor is thick steel (not strip) and arbor is square section steel.


    4. Several teeth are broken and repaired with pins. It was once fitted with alarm components now removed.


    5. There are scraps of paper remaining around the center of the dial (behind the clear glass) but no printing on them can be discerned. An alarm disc would have covered the innermost portion of the paper.


    6. Brass bell has some machined surfaces.


    7. Pendulum rod (missing) is arranged to hang from a slotted metal support so it probably had a suspension spring and was not hung from a wire "trapeze" like Black Forest clocks.
    ---------------------------


    Given these observations I'm tempted to propose that the escapement was changed early in the clock's life, maybe even when it was sold new.


    These were about the most basic (inexpensive) clocks on the market in their day so someone paid good money to have it changed to a more accurate timekeeping system. If it was just a repair why throw away all the other bits for a whole new system?


    There are no signs that it ever had the more common (and fragile) glass bell. The support for the brass bell and clapper look the same age as the clock, so again this clock may have been a more premium offering to start with.


    An alarm system would also have been a premium feature.


    Did it come over to the States with a German or Czech family? Probably no way to ever know this.


    -----------------
    In a later section in the Schaaf book is a portion on American holzräderhuren. Shown are clocks by Asa Munger (signed 1803) and the earliest surviving clock works by Eli Terry (1792/93). I was amazed to see such similar looking clocks by American clockmakers, but it sort of makes sense that would be a starting point for apprentices and new clockmakers. There must have been a few of these wooden wheel clocks in the homes of emigrated Europeans.


    I would also wonder if my clock was "made in America", except that the glass dial is very much in the Bohemian style. And both these Americans used brass escape wheels in their clocks.


    With Munger & Terry starting with clocks like this I was impressed with how quickly the American makers moved away from the "old school" traditions and created their own interpretation of inexpensive clocks.


    Can anyone comment on these notes and provide other observations/assessments of the old thing?


    Jim
    glass dial glass bell Bavaria or Bohemia.png scan holz by Munger & Terry (p198-199 Schaaf).jpg
     
  8. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    Here's another example. BF1.JPG BF2.JPG BF3.JPG bf4.jpg bf6.jpg bf7.jpg bf8.jpg bf9.jpg bf10.jpg

    Here is a communication , I had with Doug Stevenson at the time. God, I miss that guy. RIP.

    From an expert friend of his...

    "The wooden-wheel clock (BTW in German the term Holzräderuhr differentiates these earlier clocks from those which later have brass wheels, sometimes with partially wood arbors, within wood frames) is of the "Deggendorf" type which is illustrated in Schaaf's (1986) volume Holzräderuhren. It dates from around 1770/1780. The quarter striking is unusual. Schaaf discusses these clocks from the Deggendorf/Bayerischer Wald area on pages 52-54 of the volume, with full-page color photos on pages 46f."

    Sidenote... I misplaced the weights and they still have not turned up after a couple of years :( I trust they are here somewhere in the abyss.

    Ralph

     
  9. ballistarius

    ballistarius Registered User

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    A really beautiful clock, Ralph!:coolsign:
    If the hammer heads are wooden, then probably it had grass belss in origin!ç

    Aitor
     
  10. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    #10 Ralph, Nov 4, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014
    Altor, the bells are glass.

    Regards, Ralph
     
  11. Jim Duncan

    Jim Duncan Registered User
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    Ralph - I saw your Message Board entry before I bid on this clock. Glad you wrote it. There doesn't seem to be much out there in English on these clocks. I wonder how they were priced compared to the iron/steel plated clocks that north central Germany was putting out at the same time? And who were the typical purchasers?

    And I miss Zepernick, too!

    Jim
     
  12. ballistarius

    ballistarius Registered User

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    Ooops...(I should have cleaned better my glasses):whistle:
    Many thanks, Ralph:D

    Aitor
     

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