- Museum number
Table clock; verge escapement (now with pendulum); originally with alarum; striking-train (for hours only); fitted with later dial; gilt case engraved with arms of von Zindzedorf and von Königsberg and dated.
- 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- The following text is the entry for this object from the unpublished catalogue of pre-pendulum clocks by John Leopold, former Assistant Keeper of Horology at the Museum.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.
TABERNACLE CLOCK WITH ARMS OF VON ZINZENDORF AND VON KöNIGSBERG.
Vienna? dated 1592.
Sold Sotheby London, 21st Feb.1966 ("The Property of a Gentleman"). Bought (£ 200) by Cecil Clutton Esq.
Purchased from Cecil Clutton, Esq., 5 Great College St., Westminster, S.W.1., £ 200.
Cat.Sotheby London, 21st Feb.1966, lot 103 (identifies the arms).
No signature or mark. On the outer end of the (replaced) mainspring of the going train, stamped: "M:Ms S
WIEN" (unidentified mark).
Case and dial.
Made largely of brass; the base and the dome are of copper. Apart from the silvered side pillars and the later silver dial the entire clock is gilded; originally this was probably limited to the visible areas, but at a later stage the gilded parts were lightly re gilded (to cover traces of restoration) so that now the entire surface is covered with gold, except for the inside of the dome.
The case consists of the base, the vertical panels, the top plate and the dome. The base, raised from a sheet of copper, is screwed to the ends of the movement-pillars by four brass nuts. There are holes in the base to fasten the clock to the black wooden stand, which is later. The top plate is pinned to the top plate of the movement. The front and back panels each have two lugs at top and bottom, which fit into holes in the base and the top plate. Screwed to the top plate is the steel bell stand, and the dome (raised from a sheet of copper) is screwed to this by means of the top finial. The corners of the top plate also used to have finials, but of these nothing remains but the filled holes (one plug lost). The side panels, to which the silvered corner pillars are riveted, each have two lugs at the bottom fitting into holes in the base; otherwise the pannels are held by friction.
The front plate carries the silver dial, which is 18th century; underneath it are four holes that secured the original dial, and two that may have accomodated a subsequent enamel one. In the top of the plate a recess has been cut for the pendulum conversion. The steel hand is contemporary with the present dial. The back plate has three winding holes and the aperture to show the last hour struck. There are also two small holes to synchronize the striking. The lower portion of the plate has been hammered out to free the set-up wheel and click.
All sides of the clock have cast and riveted moldings at top and bottom; the edges of base and top plate have been cut in a simple ogee shape. The dome has an openwork arcade for letting out the sound of the bell. Otherwise the clock is undecorated, except for the area under the dial, which is engraved with the arms of Von Zinzendorf and Von Königsberg, the initials .O.H.V.Z E.F.V.Z.G.V.K.F. and the date .220.127.116.11.
The top of the rear bar of the movement is pinned by two pins in the thickness of the bar (the conventional pinning was discarded because it was in the way of the countwheel).
Posted frame movement, constructed entirely of steel (except for the brass disc of the countwheel, which is visible from the outside). Two square plates connected by four heavy pillars of simple square section, screwed at top and bottom; at top front left the nut, which is loose, has been additionally secured with a pin. Slots in the plates enable the two pillars on the right to be removed without dismantling the frame. All train wheels have three crossings; the insides of the bands are champhered on one side only. The construction of the movement is unusually tight, with little extra-space remaining.
Both trains have subsequently been fitted with chains, and the fusees have been re cut.
All train wheel pivots now run in brass bushes, except the barrels, the great wheel striking, and the support for the scape (originally for the balance).
16 ║ 48 50 45 24
── ║ ── ── ── ── 11 (x 2)
12 hours ← 48 ║ 6 5 5 6
Spring barrel: the wall bent out of strip and brazed at the join. One cap riveted over four studs, the other cap originally pinned over four studs (now riveted). Spring later and signed (see before); blued, 15.4 x .4 mm. Inner end hooked into slanted slot; outer end hooked on a stud in the wall.
Great wheel: split fusee of 7 turns, 23 ratchet teeth for winding. Reversed fusee. Set up ratchet wheel of 13 with four holes for a pronged key.
2nd and 3rd wheel: the arbors have been shortened (raised bushes).
Dial wheel: friction tight on its arbor, which caries the 12 pointed star for unlocking the striking. A screwhole below the wheel shows that there originally was an arm to hold the assembly in place.
Contrate wheel and scape wheel brass and later (arbor and crossings of contrate steel and original). The end of the contrate runs in a screwed cock. The original screwed support for the balance now holds the end of the scape wheel; this support consists of two parts, held together by a nut (the connesting stud is square and fits in a square hole, so that no adjustment is possible). A recessed scale in the edge of the top plate shows that there originally was a hog bristle regulator on the right side.
48 ┌ 48 50 45
── │ ── ── ──
12 ┤ 6 5 5
8 ║ ┘
Count wheel ← 78 ║
Springbarrel: the wall bent out of strip and brazed at the join (the join split and repaired). One cap riveted over four studs, the other originally pinned over four studs (now riveted). Spring old but probably not original; blued, slightly irregular, ca.16 x .4 mm. Inner end hooked over a stud on the arbor, which retains traces of the slanted slot. Outer end hooked over a stud in the wall.
Great wheel: split fusee of 6 turns, 22 ratchet teeth for winding. Reversed fusee. Set up ratchet wheel of 13 with four holes for a double-pronged key.
2nd wheel: 8 lifting pins. The large pinion and the wheel are squared on the arbor, as is the pinion-of-report.
3rd wheel: single cam; the teeth have been chamfered to avoid fouling the fly. This arbor has been re-positioned by bushing the original holes and drilling new ones.
4th wheel: stud on the band for locking.
Countwheel: steel wheel, brass disc. The holes under the countwheel probably relate to the alarm.
Right angle drive for the hammer.
The arbor of the detends runs in a blind hole at the back; the front end is held by a dove-tailed block. Brass nag's head (probably replaced).
Unwarned striking with overlift off the 3rd wheel and locking on the 4th. 2nd and 3rd wheel marked to facilitate assembling the train.
The entire alarum mechanism is now missing. It was mounted on a horizontal strap on the right side of the movement and wound through the back of the clock; the two screw-holes in the back bar below the countwheel probably form part of the alram-construction.
A major overhaul took place in the 18th century (as shown by the style of the dial), and probably at this time the clock was converted to pendulum. This was done in the conventional way: the scape wheel was removed from its arbor and replaced by a contrate wheel, and a new scape wheel was provided, pivoted in the bottom support for the original verge. The original chapterring was replaced, probably by an enamel one; presumably the alarum mechanism was removed at this time. Presumably at the same time the clock was converted to chain (the left side panel was lightly hammer out to accomodate this, and the same was done to the back plate to free the set up) Two filled holes at the bottom of the dial plate suggest that (probably at the same time) the date was covered by a plaque.
Sometime during the 19th or early 20th century the clock was restored. The enamel dial was replaced by the present 18th century silver one. The plaque over the date was removed and the holes filled, and the whole clock (apparently with the exception of the dome) lightly re gilded using the electric method, so that both sides of the metal were affected. The wooden base probably dates from this restoration. The stamp on the mainspring of the going train suggests that the restoration took place in Vienna.
Going train: greatwheel - 1 rev. in 4 hours.
duration 28 hours.
15.840 beats per hour.
Striking train: duration 192 blows (24 hours + 36 blows).
Both trains wind anti-clockwise.
Clock (without the wooden base): hight 245 mm
width 141 mm
depth 139 mm
Movement: distance between the plates 104 mm
distance between the bars 24.5 mm (going), 25.5 (striking).
Sotheby's, London, 21 Feb.1966 lot 103 (property of a Gentleman); sold to Cecil Clutton Esq. for £ 200. Within months Clutton sold the clock to the Museum for the same price. Reg. 1966,6 2,1.
The arms of von Zinzendorf and von Königsberg, with the inscription and the date, lead to: Otto IV Freiherr von Zinzendorf Pottendorf (1547 1605, functionary at the Court of Rudolf II and at that of his brother Maximilian the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order) who married 1576 Eleonora von Königsberg (1541 1591), daughter of Georg Ehrenreich von Königsberg, earlier widow of Georg von Lichtenstein; he remarried 1592 Sophia von Puchheim. Otto von Zinzendorf, who was on a mission to Constantinopel in 1575, was a protestant (Pettenegg  17, Taf.VII; Siebmacher N.Österreich I Taf.121, pp.642 3, II Taf.313). Eleonora died in Pottendorf, which indicates that the family actually lived in the castle (one of the ancient castles near Vienna, see Zedler 62  1129).
The letters above the arms can therefore be expanded:
Otto Herr Von Zinzendorf Eleonora Frau Von Zinzendorf Georg Von
It is interesting to note that the date places the clock after the death of the first wife and (presumably) shortly before the second marriage. Its almost complete lack of ornamentation and the silvered side pillars suggest that it was made as a symbol of mourning, for which a clock, with its implied association with the passing of time, is a singularly appropriate object.
This is a unusually tightly constructed clock, which makes it difficult to assemble. This ineptness, as well as the heavy nature of many parts, places it outside one of the main centres. Considering the connections of the owner it is difficult to decide where it may have been acquired, but the specially ordered decoration may point to Vienna; the stamp on the spring of the going train certainly indicates that the clock was there in the 19th century.
However, a somewhat similar clock, equally undecorated except for a coat of arms under the dial (but without corner-pillars), is in a private collection (Leiter/Dörner  72 3). Its arms (three crowned eagle heads erased), the intials EGR and the date 1603 may refer to Ernst von Rothkirch (+ 1623), member of an old Selesian family who seems to have lived near Legnica (Liegnitz) (Siebmacher, Schl.Adel 66 Taf.36; Zedler )
Very tightly built movement. First dismount the striking train, then the going. Even so things fit together only just.
Looked under the two screwed supports on the central bar: nothing.
Nothing under or on the back of theilver dial.
- Not on display
- Latest: 3 (Oct 2015)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number