Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Black Forest Musical Carillion Shield Clock "Spieluhren" playing 6 tunes on 11 bells

This next clock in our collection is an excellent example of early Black Forest horology.

Before the musical trumpeter clocks of Emilian Wehrle,there were some wonderful musical clocks made in the Black Forest. Although these early musical clocks are rarely seen outside museums in Europe, they are some of the most desirable of the Black Forest clocks to private collectors.

These early musical clocks include clocks that play on Glass bells,metal bells, strings(harp clocks or Hackbrettuhr)and wood pipes(flute clock).

This is an example of a early Black Forest Spieluhren. The early wood plate,wood arbor three train movement will strike the hour on a large bell located on the top of the clock.

After the hour is called the clock will play one of 6 musical tunes on a nest of 11 tuned bronze bells. By shifting the large pinned wheel you can change the tune.

This example is a true museum quality clock, a fantastic untouched well cared for example that has aged well. We are honored to be able to be its care taker, and are committed to make sure it survives for future generations to enjoy. It has a place in our collection next to a early harp clock (hackbrettuhr). We are still searching for an early Flute clock and a Glass bell Spieluhren. If you have an example of either one of these pieces we would love to hear from you.


Justin J. Miller

A Magnificent Black Forest Flötenuhren (Organ Clock) with 43 pipes playing 8 American Tunes with Automata

This fantastic Black Forest organ clock is a recent addition to the collection.Over the years we have owned several organ clocks, but none that we felt was the "perfect" fit to our collection. This clock in our eyes has it all, and will represent the end of our search and a permanent addition to our collection.
This magnificent organ clock was made in the Black Forest C. 1830 for the American Market and will run for 8 days on a single winding. The clock will tell the time and strike the hour, after the hour is struck the movement activates a large organ. The organ plays 8 American tunes on 43 pipes. These tunes include Yankee Doodle, Washington's March,and 6 other American Favorites.

The clock also features a complex automation with four figures. As the music plays the two musicians raise instruments to their mouth and turn side to side with the music. The two dancers in the middle of the dial have a fantastic automation sequence. The move in circles nearly 360 degrees pivoting on post. They are also on a track and move toward each other and back apart. They also jump up and down. The man is jointed in his arms, waist and knees... so there is a great deal of action in this automation sequence. Although we have seen other organ clocks with more figures, this is one of the most fascinating and automation sequences we have seen.

The clock was imported into Philadelphia by a German handler of clocks and music boxes. His label can be found on the inside of the case, as well as the back of the upper dial. Upon its arrival to the United States the clock was cased in a fantastic Flame Mahogany case that has gold leaf accents to the carved columns and the finials.

At this point the clock was retailed to a upper class American customer.

Although organ clocks can still be found on the market not all organ clocks were equal. To find an example of this quality, with a high pipe count, a complex automation function, American tunes, and a magnificent well proportioned case is nearly impossible.

The clock is complete, but is in need of a musical restoration. We hope to have the clock in fully restored playing condition by the end of 2010.

We will be sure to update our blog with a video of the clock at that time.


Justin J. Miller