- Museum number
Automaton clock; verge escapement with balance; striking-train (hours only); automaton figure moves the right arm at each blow as the hour is struck; tip of the sword indicates the time in addition to the conventional hand.
Train Count (OJC 2009)
2nd (6, 54)
Pinion of Report (8)
- Production date
- Curator's comments
- The following text is the entry for this object from the unpublished catalogue of pre-pendulum clocks by John Leopold, former Assistant Keeper of Horology at the Museum. This information is unedited and should be used accordingly.
ROUND TABLECLOCK, BY HANS GUTBUB, STRASBOURG.
Postcards (1925) no.9 (thought to be German, no maker).
Tait (1968) 39-40, pl.37.
Maurice (1976) fig.510.
Jagger (1977) 80.
Pearson (1979) 10.
Smith (1979) 48.
Tait (1983) 34-5.
Punched on the back plate the town mark of Strasbourg under three stars with under it, in three lines: "*HANS* *GVOT* *BVOB*" (the T upside down). On the back plate, under the set-up ratchet wheel of the going train, punched: "3 6".
Made of gilded brass. Case and dial have been re-gilded electrically, and there is now gold on all surfaces.
The band was cast after a single plaquette, representing a deer- and boar hunt. At top and bottom a profile ring has been riveted around the band; these rings were bent out of strip and brazed at the join. The bottom ring stands on three cherub-heads with ball-feet; the feet are brazed to the ring. Inside the band are two guiding-ridges for the movement.
The base-plate fits into the bottom ring and rests against the band. It is held by a lug on the base-plate and by a steel spring-catch. The base-plate is a replacement.
Dial and automaton.
The dial is a cast ring, pinned to the movement by three feet. At its centre a profile ring has been riveted to it (one rivet missing). The ring has two scales, the outer divided I - XII with dots as half-hour marks, the inner 13 - 24. Around the outer scale are twelve riveted touch-knobs, that at XII being longer than the others. Between 17 and 18 is a hole for inserting a peg to synchronize the striking.
Within the dial-ring is the bell, screwed to a steel bracket which is attached to the front plate of the movement by two screws. The hand of the dial curves over the bell. It is of blued steel and is attached to the hour-hand pipe by two clench-screws. The rear end of the hand has broken off and in this position a brass L-shaped piece has been soldered. Screwed to the hand and the brass piece is a second hour-circle, of silver, and read from the sword of the figure of a boy, which surmounts the clock. This ring is divided I- XII counter-clockwise, with small half-hour marks.
The arm of the figure that holds the sword is articulated and moves with the striking; a cover, held by a screw, on the back of the figure allows access to the mechanism inside. The sword reaches neither the silver chapter-ring nor the bell and is probably a replacement.
Plated movement, constructed largely of brass. Two circular plates connected by four ornamentally turned pillars, riveted under the dial and pinned on the back. All train wheels have four crossings, except the great wheels which are solid.
The movement has some original gilding: on the wheels, the pillars and portion of the inside of the front plate. The back plate has been re-gilded electrically all over; the furniture has modern blueing.
Movement and dial slide into the case from the top, being secured by two revolving latches. There are two guiding ridges.
20 ║ 48 54 45
── ║ ── ── ── 23 (x2)
12-hours ← 60 ║ 6 6 5
Barrel: one cap brazed, the other pinned over three studs. Spring modern, blued; 25 x .3 mm. Outer end of the spring hooked over a steel stud in the wall; the inner end similarly hooked, but the arbor retains the slanted slot of the original hooking. Conventional stop-work, the spring secured by an ornamental screw.
Fusee: split construction; 9½ turns, re-cut for chain (the hole in the fusee, which has largely disappeared in the process, appears to have been straight). Screwed-on ratchet steel nose and steel wheel of 18.
escape wheel: long arbor. Potence riveted. Counter potence screwed; steel dove-tail slide. The hole in the back plate for the staff is small and round rather than rectangular.
The pinion-of-report and the hour-wheel are of steel. The pinion is friction-tight on its arbor. The star for unlocking is riveted to the hour wheel, which rides on a steel pipe that contains the rod to activate the automaton figure.
55 ┌ 48 45 40
── │ ── ── ──
8 ┤ 6 5 5
8 ║ ┘
12-hours ← 78 ║
Cased spring; the outer end hooked into a steel hook in the wall, the inner end now hooked similarly, but the arbor retains the original slanted slot. Spring modern; blued, 22 x .3 mm. The casing of the spring has burst and has been repaired by riveting a brass piece over the rift.
Great wheel: made out of double thickness of material, to sink the steel click and steel click spring.
2nd wheel: eight steel lifting pins. The arbor carries a steel pinion-of-report.
4th wheel: brass stud near the centre for locking.
Fly: the heavy fly, which has no gilding, is a replacement; arbor original.
Count-wheel: steel wheel riveted to a brass disc.
Steel ornamental gate; steel detents, hammer and hammer-spring. Two empty holes (one plain, one threaded) may be the remains of an earlier, discarded hammer spring.
Unwarned striking with over-lift off the pin wheel and random locking on the 4th wheel.
The figure that surmounts the clock moves the arm with the steel sword during striking, thus simulating that the figure taps the bell. The figure is mounted on the square of a brass pipe (secured by two grub screws, one of which is missing). The other, round end of the brass pipe is friction-tight in the steel pipe around which the hour-wheel revolves; this friction-fit allows the position of the figure to be adjusted.
The hammer of the striking train trips, via a horizontal arbor, a vertical steel rod which activates the arm of the figure.
The clock has twice been converted to balance spring.
The first conversion has left a small trace on the neck of the cock: the stud with pinhole indicates that there has been a conversion to straight balance spring. This conversion probably took place in the end of the 17th century.
The second conversion was to conventional spiral spring. The extraordinarily elaborate regulating slide, which embraces the winding square of the going train, is held in position by three screws. Near the three screw holes for the slide there are three blocked holes which are probably a previous, failed attempt. The pointer of the slide indicates on a scale, which has been riveted to the table of the (original) cock. For this conversion the balance was made heavier by applying solder to its underside (the top retains traces of blueing). The blued steel cocqueret presumably forms part of the same conversion.
The engraving of the scale suggests for the conversion a date in the 19th century. This means that it formed part of an extensive overhaul, during which the clock and parts of the movement were (electrically) re-gilded. For this attempt to make the clock function reliably for the collector see introduction.
Going train: great wheel - 1 rev. in 4 hours.
escapement - 7452 beats per hour.
duration - 38 hours.
Striking train: in 24 hours the great wheel makes ca.2.8 revs.
Height - 198 mm.
Diameter - 120 mm.
Movement: distance between the plates - 35.5 mm.
HISTORY AND PROVENANCE.
Octavius Morgan collection; it is not known when or where Morgan acquired the clock.
Octavius Morgan bequest; reg. 1888,12-1,107.
The clock (i.e. the case, dial, automaton and hand only) was loaned to the exhibition "Die Renaissance im deutschen Südwesten", Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, 21 June 1986 - 19 October 1986 (not included in the catalogue).
Hans Gutbub, born in Weinberg (near Buchsweiler, Elsace), became a citizen of Strasbourg on 11 February 1587, and was made free of the Blacksmiths Corporation in 1595. He married Suzanne, eldest daughter (born 1569) of Isaac I Habrecht, the maker of 1888,12-1-100. In Strasbourg it appears to have been the rule that citizenship was acquired when a young man was apprenticed; another example is Hans's brother Carl Gutbub, who became a citizen in 1571 but was only made free in 1588: he may have spent some years away from Strasbourg 1).
One other clock by this maker is known to exist. It is smaller (diam. 9 cm), with a flat dial (which is a replacement) and a separate alarm-attachment. Its movement is also of gilded brass, engraved with concentric rings and signed in the same way as the Museum's clock. The movement is heavily restored. The cock has similar ornamentation, but is symmetrical. Interestingly the smaller clock has a case cast after a plaquette related to the present one, and it is supported by what appear to be the same cherubim, without the balls. Its back plate has the remains of a punched number 2 or 3 on one side of the hole for the barrel, under the set-up wheel; the other side is lost because of a large bush (2).
For a clock with a similarly small hole for the balance staff see 1891,3-9,1.
1) For the biographical details of the Gutbubs see Müller (1915) 112; Ungerer (1925) 37 and table.
2) Private collection, formerly coll.Dr.Jean Folschveiller, Strasbourg; exhib.cat. Pforzheim 1967 p.44, 45; Maurice (1976) fig.509; auction cat. Christie's, London, 5 July 2002 lot 2. The movement of a horizontal round table clock, marked "H G B S B" with the Strasbourg mark, may be ascribed to the same maker (Cat. coll. Feill  no.28)
Model of the case: related to Weber no.176 (same height: 5 cm!), which is said to be one of four, the others being another deerhunt, a bearhunt and a boarhunt.
These could be two of the missing ones. Weber calls no.176 South-German, 2nd quarter 16th cent.
Design of the case: is this Delaune? Compare Tardy 5 (1981) I 112. Tardy has born Orleans ca.1518, died Strasburg 1595. Thieme/Becker: born Paris 1518/9(?), died Paris prob.1583 (certainly before 1588); Calvinist, in Strasbourg 1573 and 1580, in Augsburg 1576.
For Hans Gutbub "horloger de Weinberg près de Bouxwiller, qui, le 11 février 1587, avait acquis le droit de bourgeoisie à Strasbourg" see Ungerer (1925) 37 and table. He married the elder daughter of Isaac I Habrecht, Suzanne, and had a brother Carl, also clockmaker, who became citizen of Strasbourg in 1571.
Carl (Carel Buttbub) was admitted clockmaker in 1588, Hans (Hanns Buttbub) in 1595 (Müller  112).
The mechnical globe in Greenwich, signed "ISAAC HABRECHT MDCXXXXVI" is by Isaac III (1611-1686), Gutbub's nephew (not by Isaac II as Robert Baldwin has it).
For the number 36 under the set-up ratchet compare the 22 under the pinion-of-report in 1888,12-1,103.
Depth of barrels: (going) 29 mm, (striking) 24.5 mm.
BIBLIOGRAPHY (Pauline Wholey – 2019)
Postcards (1925) - British Museum, Set 77, Clocks from the 16th to the 18th Century ... 15 Pictorial Postcards (London? ca.1925). Envelope containing 6 pages of text and 15 postcards. There exist two issues; in the earlier one the postcards are slightly larger and they have no printed material on the back. NB: "No photographs seem to be available" (HJ [April 1923] 158).
Tait (1968) H.Tait, Clocks in the British Museum (London 1968).
Maurice (1976) K.Maurice, Die deutsche Räderuhr, 2 vols. (Munich 1976). Page numbers refer to vol.1, fig. numbers to vol.2.
Jagger (1977) C.Jagger, The World's great Clocks and Watches (London etc. 1977).
Pearson (1979) - M.Pearson, The Beauty of Clocks (New Malden, Surrey, 1979).
Smith (1979) A.Smith ed., The Country Life International Dictionary of Clocks (London etc. 1979).
Tait (1983) H.Tait, Clocks and Watches (London 1983).
- On display (G38/dc4)
- Exhibition history
1986 21 Jun-19 Oct, Germany, Heidelberg, Heidelberg Castle, Die Renaissance im Deutschland Südwesten (movement not sent)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number