- Museum number
Horizontal table timepiece with alarm attachment; spring-driven iron movement with fusee; four-wheel train; verge escapement with balance; potences squared and pinned onto pillars; Detatchable alarm mechanism which could be removed when not in use.
Engraved gilded-brass canister case - the base engraved with a young boy playing a lute.
- Production date
Diameter: 2.87 inches
Height: 9.50 millimetres (mainspring)
Height: 4.25 inches
Thickness: 0.20 millimetres (mainspring)
- 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The following text is the entry for this object from the unpublished catalogue of pre-pendulum clocks by John Leopold, former Assistant Keeper of Horology at the Museum.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.
CYLINDRICAL HORIZONTAL TABLE CLOCK, MARKED "DANCING MAN", WITH ASSOCIATED ALARUM ATTACHMENT AND ASSOCIATED BASE.
(The alarum some time associated with CAI 2111.)
Ilbert No. 342 Q: ex Christie 20 June 1939 lot 103 (without alarum).
NB: in the same sale CAI 2110, 2111, 2112, 2150, 2151, 2152.
AH 2 No. 8 (September 1958) ii (with alarum but with wrong base).
Cat.Ilbert (1958) no.257 (with alarm but with wrong base).
Cat.BM I (1987) 31.
Stamped on the backplate with a mark, sometimes described as "the little dancing man".
On the inside of the base, in ink, the Ilbert number "342 Q".
Made of brass, gilded on the outside and the visible portion of the inside. The band was bent out of sheet and brazed at the join. At the top there is a profiled ring riveted to the band; this ring was bent from a cast bar and brazed at the join. The band is engraved with strapwork and foliage.
Many slots and holes have subsequently been cut in the case, some of them later refilled. At the bottom (from 3 to 8 o'clock) a ca.7 mm wide section was cut away; this section was later replaced by soldering in a new brass section.
The inside of the case has, near the dial, three splayed portions to prevent the movement from sliding in too deeply. There is no guiding ridge.
Integral with the case: it is a snap fit in the top ring. The dial has a chapterring with punched numerals I XII and simple half hour marks, surrounded by touchpins (those at III, XI and XII missing). Within this ring is another one, punched 13 24. The centre portion is engraved with a starburst.
The steel hand is probably not original.
The present base consists of a brass sheet disc brazed to a profiled ring; the ring was bent out of cast strip and brazed at the join. Three bun feet were riveted to the base, the outside of which is engraved with the figure of a lute playing boy in a landscape, surrounded by a leaf border.
Although the base fits the case the profile of the ring does not correspond with that of the case.
Constructed of steel, with many repairs in brass. Plated movement with skeletonized backplate. Three unusually ornamented pillars, riveted to the front plate and pinned at the back.
The movement slides into the case from the back, being secured by two latches on the back plate: one latch on the same rivet as the set up click and loaded by the same spring, the second a thin steel hook (later).
Going train only. Only the barrel and the greatwheel are pivoted in the backplate. The top pivot of the second wheel and the bottom of the staf carried by arms pinned over one pillar, the scapewheel pivoted in a C clip pinned over another pillar; this clip also takes the top pivot of the contrate wheel. All trainwheels run in brass bushes, except for the front end of the greatwheel, which has a copper bush. The front end of the barrel is pivoted directly in the plate; its back pivot runs in a steel bush.
4 ║ 54 45 32
── ║ ── ── ── 13 (x2)
12 hour ← 30 ║ 6 5 6
Split fusee of 12½ turns (upper portion replaced in brass); 19 ratchet teeth for winding. Spring barrel replaced in brass; set up with clickwheel of 22 (also replaced). Conventional hinged stopwork.
Contrate wheel is a brass replacement on the original arbor.
Scapewheel of brass and its arbor replaced.
Balance and cock restored, similar to no. . There is a hole in the backplate, near the winding square, for the original hog-bristle regulator.
Dial wheel is a brass replacement; it is friction tight on its arbor. The original wheel is likely to have had 24 teeth (see commentary).
Case made of brass, gilded on the outside only. It is constructed similar to the case of the clock: there is a band with a brazed profiled ring at the top, and a base consisting of a disc with a brazed profile ring which is friction-tight to the band. The ring at the top of the case extends beyond the band to form a shoulder for the top plate of the movement. The base has three brass feet; they are heavily repaired, only one foot being partly original. One foot carries the pivoted release-piece (this part is entirely restored).
The band is engraved with simple mauresque ornament; this ornament has traces of black wax filling. The base has two concentric circles.
Plated movement, made entirely of steel; three pillars with chamfered sides, riveted at the bottom end and pinned under the bell. The movement slips into the case from the top and is secured by two screws through the base (one screw replaced by a small wood-screw). Both wheels have three crossings and all pivots run in steel holes.
── 9 (x 2)
Great wheel: split arbor, ratchet wheel of 12 for winding. Open spring held in position by the pillars and by a thing, irregularly shaped steel ring. The outer end of the spring has a riveted loop which is hooked over a stud on the top plate; the inner end is hooked over a stud on the arbor (arbor much repaired). Spring not blued; measurements 6-6.5 x .4 (width not entirely regular).
Scape wheel mounted in a clip pinned over one od the pillars.
Bell not original (too large).
The alarm is locked by a slide which engages the hammer; the slide is held in position and released by the unlocking arm, which is pivoted to one of the feet.
The large repair to the lower edge of the band of the case show that this clock was at some time converted to a pendulum. Three filled holes in the band of the case suggest that a stand was attached here; several other holes may have served to secure side-ornaments. A screwhole in the back plate, near the foot of the cock, probably also is a trace of the pendulum-conversion. Presumably the original base was lost at this time; the present one does not have similar damage and it does not quite match; its decoration is also markedly different. After the conversion the clock was a vertical one, which makes it impossible that an alarum-atachment was fitted; the present one shows no great similarity with the case of the clock, although (judging by the profile of the decorative rings) it is conceivable that alarum and base came from the same clock.
The re-conversion, very similar to that of no. CAI 2150, was probably executed for Mrs Netter (or perhaps earlier).
Greatwheel: 1 rev. in 1.6 hours (with dial wheel 24: 2 hours).
Duration: 20 hours (with dial wheel 24: 25 hours).
Escapement: 7020 beats per hour.
Clock. Diameter - 74 mm.
height (without arbor for the hand) - 53 mm.
Movement: distance between the plates - 26.5 mm.
Alarm. Diameter (without bell) - 45 mm.
Height (total) - 72 mm.
Movement: distance between the plates - 18.2 mm.
Clock with alarm: total height - 120 mm.
According to Ilbert's ledger, no.342 Q, the clock was acquired at Christie's, London, 20 June 1939, lot 103. This was the collection of Mrs.Ida Netter (p. ), and lot 103 was: "A Table Watch, ... in circular metal gilt case ...; and Two Others, similar"; sold to "Gardiner" (= Malcolm Gardner) together with CAI 2150.
Ilbert Collection, presented by Mr.Gilbert Edgar C.B.E. in 1958; reg.no. CAI 2151.
In spite of the difference in size the traincount of this clock shows clear similarities to that of CAI 2050, which is by the same maker. This allows the conclusion that both probably had dial-wheels of 24, contrate wheels of 35 and scape pinions of 5.
The restored cock of this clock is very similar to that of CAI 2150, which is explained by the fact that both items came to Ilbert from the same collection.
The clock has had some adventures in recent times. When Ilbert acquired the clock in 1939 he noted that it had feet but he does not mention the alarum-attachment; this at the time formed part of CAI 2111. The photograph in the Christie's catalogue (Cat.Ilbert  pl.17) shows that this error had been rectified, but unfortunately here the clock is shown with the base of CAI 2111. The latter clock is French and complete in itself, and the attachment, being German and not French, clearly does not belong to it. It is assumed therefore that the present combination, although consisting of associated elements, represents the state of the clock when it was in the Netter-collection.
Spring: barrel obviously a replacement. It is hard to open, and there did not seem much point. The spring does not really fit, it is ca.10 mm wide and the depth of the barrel is ca.15 mm.
The pillars are similar to those of the Zech clock (Antiquaries): is there a chance that the dancing man is Prague??? The present clock has a brass spring barrel, like the Zech one and like the wall in the Kunovic clock (CAI 2112)
BIBLIOGRAPHY (Pauline Wholey – 2019)
Ilbert (1958) Auction cat. coll. Courtenay A. Ilbert, London, Christie, 6 7 November 1958.
BM I (1987) H.Tait/P.G.Coole, Catalogue of Watches in the British Museum, I The Stackfreed (London 1987).
The as yet unidentified punch-mark found on this clock can also be seen on BM Reg. 1958,1201.2150 and 1958,1201.2202. In addition on a three-stage clock in the Museé de louvre (OA 674); a fusee watch and case in the Landesmuseum Württemberg, Stuttgart (1968-809), and a tambour case in the Museum of London (34.181/2).
See also 1958,1006.2150
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2009 22 Jul- 2017 Jan, London, Science Museum, Measuring Time, LT Loan.
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This clock was formerly part of the collection of Otto Koch. His 161 watches and clocks were sold at Christie's London Auction House, 20th June 1939 - 'the property of a Lady'. Otto Koch, who died in 1919, had been a partner in the jewellery firm of Robert Koch in Frankfurt, founded by his father Robert Koch in 1879. Robert Koch died in 1902. After Robert’s death the firm was continued by Louis, his younger brother. Otto's widow, Ida, married again in 1930, Emil Netter, who died in 1936. In 1938 the firm was “aryanized” and ‘sold‘ to Robert Bosch at which point the assets were frozen. In the late 1930s Ida Netter managed to flee from Germany, secretly taking the collection of watches and clocks with her, first to Holland, then to England where they sold at Christie’s. Ida Netter died in Washington DC in 1981 (Information supplied by Eric Koch, the grandson of Otto Koch; for information about the sale and the fourteen clocks and watches from the collection acquired by the BM in 1958, see Spoliation Advisory Panel Report published March, 2012 )
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.2151 (Ilbert Collection)
Previous owner/ex-collection number: Q342 (Ilbert Ledger)