1910-1915 time period German open well antique clock
My grandparents, my mother inherited and after her death I inherited it
Thank you for sending in this ‘Hall’ clock to mearto.com for an appraisal. I shall do my best to help you with that today.
Light-stained oak, two weight, eight-day time and gong striking, ‘Open Well’ Hall clock, unsigned, attributed to Schlenker & Kienzle, Schwenningen, in the Black Forest region of southern Germany, circa 1910-1915.
“My grandparents, my mother inherited and after her death I inherited it.”
Case: Size not provided, but approximated to be 84 inches, oak hardwood floor clock or ‘Hall’ clock. The case is in a rectilinear form with a flat overhung pediment and ogival-shaped (S-shaped) moulding above a horizontal frieze. The hood section contains the square glazed dial door with oak dial-surround and flat pilasters as side-rails of the door. A second horizontal cornice transitions down to the open well trunk section, the upper end with an undulating carved solid fretwork, central applied volute and flanked by oak corbel supports with the front section having a small triple ringed ornament applied to the flat narrow facade. The bottom of the open well section has a carved pierced fretwork with a foliate carved shape and a volute at the center, again supported on either side by oak carved corbels. The upper and lower side corbels are large and run the full depth of the case from the backboard at the rear of the trunk to the front. The corbels are located at the top and bottom of the trunk, thus forming the shaped sides of the case and provide architectural support to the open well case structure. At the level of the trunk section the interior of the backboard has finely matched and grained oak along with an ebonized rectilinear picture frame moulding. The pendulum rod/bob hang in front of the backboard as well as two weights (not shown) descend within this open well in front of the pendulum.
A stepped and overhung horizontal cornice leads down to the rectilinear base. The base has a concentric applied wooden picture frame. There are four round volutes in the center of the frame and a vertically applied rectangular pyramidal block covering most of the volutes. The case rests on a narrow ogival moulding above a broad flat oak base moulding with square wooden block feet.
Dial: Round, two-part dial with enameled black Arabic hours, closed minute track, with a gilt foliate embossed metal dial center and a steel “Cubist” hour hand and a typical steel Teutonic Victorian minute hand (one is obviously a replacement since both hands should be matching. The replacement is likely the minute hand.) The dial is unsigned and has no winding apertures.
Movement: NOT SHOWN – Most likely this is a solid rectangular brass plate movement with tubular brass pillars at the four corners connecting the front and rear plates and screwed together. There are either steel cut pinions or German lantern pinions used, although I have seen the German clockmakers using cut steel pinions on the time side and lantern pinions on the strike side in the same clock movement. There would be a butterfly wheel to slow down the rate of striking, anchor recoil escapement, two sprocket gears to take up the link chain holding the brass canister weights (the Germans often used weights which resembled the shape of bullets or artillery shells). The weights are manually wound by pulling up the chain ends from the open well section of the case. The weights power the clock for a duration of eight days and strike on a coiled Gong on the hour and half hour. If you can see the gong base, see if there isn’t name on it. The gong base often has letters or a logo or name which we can use to identify who the clockmaker was. The movement may or may not carry a trademark of the manufacturer. Usually, when one opens the hood door one can see that the dial is connected to the movement which, as a unit, slides onto a seat within the case and is secured by means of two thumbscrews.
Case –A fairly straightforward provincial open-well linear design with simple patterns: rectangular frames, round volutes, pyramidal blocks and small ring turnings with a hint of foliage indicting the end of the Art Nouveau era of circa 1880-1910, an era that stressed forms taken from nature. Simple added wooden carved ornamentation suggests that the Art Nouveau era (Jugendstil in Germany) was not yet fully in the past in Germany when this clock was manufactured.
Dial: In very good condition except for one of the hands being a replacement and the dial unsigned.
Movement – Not seen but assumed for purposes of this appraisal to be original, genuine and functional.
COMPARABLES; https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/32650793_grandfathers-german-clock-kienzle-schlenker (sold for $500 in 2015 in mahogany) https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/88248058_german-kienzle-grandfather-clock-art-nouveau-1920 (sold for $125 in 2020) https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/64207023_kienzle-tall-case-clock (sold for $225 in 2018)
Many simple features of this open well Hall clock are reminiscent of signed examples of the work of two clockmakers, Schlenker & Kienzle. The major firms in Germany making the open-well variety of clocks were Furtwangler and Lenzkirch, both also located in the Black Forest region. Their examples were in mahogany or walnut with brass ornaments and much decoration. The name ‘Hall’ clock first was used when the modern Hall clock concept with a glass door or open well was developed in the 1880s by Walter Durfee of Rhode Island, a furniture maker. Durfee imported English movements and made cases in the USA. By the start of the 20th century, German clockmakers were copying and manufacturing such clocks for export to the English and American markets, making them of equal quality and selling them at a lower price point. (That ended abruptly with World War I)
This simple design suggests a firm such as Schlenker & Kienzle of Schwenningen, Germany. These were two fine clockmakers who combined their talents under the aegis of the Christian Schlenker Clock Company. Jacob Kienzle married Christian’s daughter in 1883 and joined his brother-in-law Carl Johannes Schlenker in business to form ‘Schlenker & Kienzle’, clockmakers. The business, named as described, lasted from circa 1883 until 1922 when it became a stockholder Corporation under the name, Kienzle Clock Factories, A.G. Kienzle has continued in business until today.
I hope that helps you with understanding this particular clock. The fair market value of the clock in its present fine condition is $360-$400. Retail values would be somewhat higher. This is a traditional German example from the early years of the 20th century and a fine family heirloom. I hope you run the clock and continue to enjoy it. Thank you for choosing mearto.com for the appraisal. It was my pleasure to help you with this.