We are always happy to hear from our friend J. Miller. He's got quite a collection of rare and unusual antique Black Forest Clocks. He most recently acquired an exteremly rare piece from the 19th Century, and there is only ONE of these known to exist in the world.
This "Rat-Eater" is a very rare example of a set of German automata known as "Dumpling Eaters." For whatever reason, the clockmaker here decided to make the figure eat rats instead of dumplings or sausages.
(see more pictures on our Flickr photostream here )
There is also a very fascinating discussion about the clock here. Apparantly there are several interesting accounts of eating rats during wartime.
The rat eater isn't a clock you can run out and buy, but North Coast Imports is pleased to offer automata that eat dumplings and drink beer. Rombach und Haas has the only original Black Forest clock that eats dumplings or drink sips of beer, counting the hour and half hour.