- Museum number
Horizontal table clock; spring-driven; going train with fusee and verge escapement; striking train driven by standing barrel; count-wheel for hours only; movement with restorations; gilded brass dial with (later?) applied pewter chapter-ring I-XII and engraved scene showing military encampment; engraved name, perhaps former owner; hexagonal gilded brass case with glazed sides; hour bell mounted in base. With carrying case.
Gt wheel 60 (fusee with 7.75 turns).
2nd wheel 50/6
Contrate wheel 45/5
Crown wheel 21/5
Pinion of 20 mounted on extended fusee arbor drives 60 tooth hour wheel
Gt wheel 56
Pin wheel 48/7 (with 6 hammer lifting pins).
3rd wheel 45/5
Locking wheel 40/5
- Production date
Width: 6.25 inches
- 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The following text is the entry for this object from the unpublished catalogue of pre-pendulum clocks by John Leopold, former Assistant Keeper of Horology at the Museum.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.
HEXAGONAL HORIZONTAL TABLECLOCK, By WOLF HEINRICH GAUER, KÖNIGSBERG.
3rd quarter 17th century.
Ilbert No. ---.
Baillie 2 (1947) 120.
Britten 7 (1956) 28.
Cat. Ilbert (1958) no.265.
Britten 8 (1972) 28.
Britten 9 (1982) 30.
Signed on the back plate of the movement: "Wolf Heinrich Gauer Könisg berg" (for Königsberg). On the dial the inscription: "Bohdan Chmielnitzkij".
Hexagonal case, made of brass; the case has been thinly gilded, but only traces of this now remain (mainly on the bottom and around the lower inside of the band).
The band consists of two parts, each bent into shape, and the two parts dovetailed and brazed together. Each side has an aperture for a piece of glass, held into place by a rim scewed on with two screws (the glass at X missing, that at VIII broken). At top and bottom the band is held within a profiled ring: these rings were cast in one piece, and they are fixed to the band by means of six steel screws each. The bottom ring carries the brass
hinge and keep for the bolt of the base.
At three corners turned brass feet are screwed to the bottom ring, alternating at the other corners with three turned brass finials. Each foot is screwed to a V-shaped brass plate, secured to the ring by long steel screws (one screw missing). This construction is not original: the plates hide the holes for the original feet (which were probably in the shape of split-lions, see Commentary).
The base-plate carries the steel bell-stand (screwed from the inside) and the engraved turning bolt. The baseplate has traces of silvering. The bell is missing.
The clock has a deal box, lined with brownish (originally probably pink) wash leather. The outside is covered with brown calf (damaged), with brass hinges, a brass lock (part missing), and an iron carrying handle with brass mounts. The box, which appears to date from ca.1700, is a very loose fit and is clearly not original to the clock.
Dialplate with three feet, pinned. The dial plate is engraved in the corners with leafy ornament; in the centre a representation of an encampment on a river bank, with a town opposite, with above it the text "Bohdan Chielnitzkij" (see commentary).
The present chapterring is of pewter, screwed on with four screws, is divided I - XII with half-hour marks; the outside edge has a simple rope-border. The ring overlaps the engraving on the outside and probably replaces a more narrow one of silvered brass. Steel hand.
Movement and dial slide into the case from the top and are secured by three screwed-on latches.
Movement with hexagonal plates, constructed largely of brass. Six turned pillars, originally all secured by nuts at either end. On the backplate all the decorative steel nuts survive except one, where the pillar is now riveted. Under the dial there were originally six steel, undecorated nuts, but only two survive; three have been replaced by steel screws (only two screws survive), the sixth is now pinned.
20 ║ 60 50 45
── ║ ── ── ── 21 (x 2)
12-hour ← 60 ║ 6 5 5
Split fusee of 7½ turns, brass hook; 19 ratchet teeth for winding. Fusee cut for chain (original). Hingeblock of the stopwork screwed to the plate.
screwed potence and counter potence.
Spring barrel has one cap snap-fit, the other pinned. The pinned cap, of larger diameter, has the hole for the sideways hook of the chain. Both caps have raised centres.
The spring is now hooked over steel studs in the barrel wall and the arbor. However, the wall has a square hole and the arbor retains the slot for the original hooking.
Set-up wheel: 16 ratchet teeth.
Wheel-balance doubled and repaired, but original. The cock has a red endstone held by a screwed steel setting (later).
56 ┌ 48 45 20
── │ ── ── ──
7 │ 5 5 5
4 ║ ┘
12-hour ← 52 ║
Great wheel: split arbor, 20 ratchet teeth for winding. Cased spring, the outer end hooked with square hook through the casing, the inner end folded to engage a lengthwise slot in the arbor.
Second wheel: 6 lifting pins; the pinion-of-report is a lantern of 4 cut into the end of the arbor.
Fourth wheel: brass stud near the arbor for locking.
Fly: heavy brass cylinder.
Steel detends with decoratively engraved gilt brass gate (screwed to the arbor from the inside). Steel block for the hammer.
Unwarned striking with overlift off the 2nd wheel and random locking; random ratio in the train (48/5).
Great wheel - 1 rev. in 4 hours.
Escapement - 9.450 beats per hour.
Duration - 30 hours.
The clock has been converted to balance spring; a conversion which, exceptionally, did not involve discarding the original balance. Instead the mass of the balance was increased by doubling the rim and the crossing, and a balance spring with simple annular regulator was added. This conversion probably took place in the late 18th or early 19th century. Presumably the endstone was fitted to the cock at the same time.
Possibly at the same time the original feet of the clock were replaced. The present feet are attached to brass plates, which themselves are screwed to the bottom rim of the case. These plates hide the screwholes for the original feet, which were probably in the shape of "split-"lions (see commentary).
HISTORY AND PROVENANCE.
The first owner clearly was a man with Cossack sympathies (see Commentary).
Ilbert Collection. The clock is not mentioned in Ilbert's ledgers, but he certainly owned the clock in 1947 (Baillie 2  120).
Presented by Mr.Gilbert Edgar C.B.E. in 1958; reg. CAI 1963.
Clock: width (without feet) - 154 mm.
height (without hand) - 97 mm.
Movement: width - 123 mm.
distance between the plates - 29 mm.
The ratio 48/5 in the striking train is unusual, but appears to be original. Since there is random locking the functioning of the train is not impaired (see introduction).
No historical details about the maker are known. Three of his clocks, all spring-driven horizontal ones, have been traced so far, the others being a hexagonal clock rather larger than the present one with complicated striking (now much renovated) 1), and a simple square clock 2). The hexagonal clock has "split-lion" feet, a type popular in Poland during the mid-17th century (compare no. 1876,7-16,4).
Bohdan Chmielnicky (ca.1593 - 1657) was Hetman of the Cossacks and their leader in the succesful insurrection of 1648 against the Poles. Chmielnicky allied himself to the Russians and established an independent realm in the Ukraine, where he is still a national hero. His name on the dial does not mean that he owned this clock, but rather that the first owner was in sympathy with Cossack nationalism.
1) Private coll. (unpublished).
2) Auction cat. Kegelmann, Frankfurt, 13 November 1976, lot 245. Abeler (1977) 222.
Going - 20 x .4 mm.
Striking - 19.5 x .4 mm.
There are no traces of additional ornaments on the corners of the case.
Private coll., New York: hex. hor. clock, signed "CH. Gauer Hierschberg" (near Breslau). It has rack striking and seems early 18th century. Seen via Wolfgang Kopke, MMA, April 1999.
BIBLIOGRAPHY (Pauline Wholey – 2019)
Baillie 2 (1947) G.H.Baillie, Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World 2nd ed (London 1947).
Britten 7 (1956) Britten's Old Clocks and Watches and their Makers, 7th ed. by G.H.Baillie, C.Clutton and C.A.Ilbert (London 1956).
Britten 8 (1973) -
Britten 9 (1982) Britten's Old Clocks and Watches and their Makers, edited by G.H.Baillie, Courtenay Ilbert, Cecil Clutton, 9th edition revised and enlarged by Cecil Clutton (London 1982).
Ilbert (1958) Auction cat. coll. Courtenay A. Ilbert, London, Christie, 6 7 November 1958.
Bohdan Chmielnitzky's name on the dial does not mean that he owned this clock, but rather that the first owner was in sympathy with Cossack nationalism.
- Not on display
- Latest: 3 (Aug 2015)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The Ilbert Collection of clocks, prints and other related material was destined to be sold at Christie's auction house on 6th-7th November 1958. As a result of the generous donation of funds by Gilbert Edgar CBE the sale was cancelled and the material purchased privately from the beneficiaries of the Ilbert Estate.NL1Ilbert's watches were then acquired with further funds from Gilbert Edgar CBE, public donations and government funds. These were then registered in the series 1958,1201.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Previous owner/ex-collection number: CAI.1963 (Ilbert Collection)