Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Rare Black Forest Automaton Butcher Clock "Metzgeruhr"

In the days before PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals),and being a vegetarian was a trendy lifestyle… this butcher clock would be a socially acceptable fit into the everyday home! Even though many today might find this automation a little inhumane, it represented a crucial part of daily life, and for the Black Forest clockmaker’s it was a perfect scene to be incorporate into a clock.

This clock has a painting of an open door barn in the upper section of the shield, allowing the viewer to look into the barn.

Inside this room is a butcher, who is carved from wood and finely painted. He is dressed in is work uniform complete with cap, bib, and white apron (with light traces of blood)! In his hands he holds a large axe.
Lying on the ground of the barn is a ox, also is also carved from wood and painted (including a slight smile on his face!). As the clock strikes the following sequence takes place.

1. The cow immediately stands up
2. The butcher raises the ax
3. The ax is swung hitting the ox on the top of the head, with perfect sequence to the strike to the gong. (this is repeated once for each hour)
4. After the last trike to the gong the ox falls over dead and lies on the ground until the next hour.

The movement in this clock is quite complicated in order to replicate this automated sequence. It is equipped with two count wheels, one stacked on top of each other. The inner count wheel controls the strike, the outer controls the ox. There are also a series of levers that control that butcher, hammer to the gong, the ox, and a shaft that activates the automation at the hour.

This example is extremely original. It still retains its original side doors, and the wood housing behind the automation. The figures also retain their original paint, and after a professional cleaning look fantastic.

The butcher clock is one of the hardest of the Black Forest shield automata to find.

One must be careful purchasing Black Forest automata clocks these days, as many fakes are being made and are on the market. These fakes use old standard clockworks, which are modified to accept automation. They are easily spotted by experts, but many are quite good and are bought by unsuspecting buyers thinking they are getting an original.

We are always looking to add ORIGINAL automata clocks to our collection. If you have a clock that you would like us to consider please contact us through email.


Justin J. Miller

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