Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kellogg's Wants to be a Contenter

We just got an update from our news correspondent covering the beat in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Kellogg's is starting a new advertising campaign called, "It's Morning Somewhere!" Part of their new promotion involves the construction of the next World's Largest Cuckoo Clock. They're planning a cuckoo clock that will be 66-feet tall and 28-feet wide and is being considered for a Guinness World Records® Record.

From the Kellogg's website:

    The Kellogg's® Crunchy Nut™ cuckoo clock will feature a rich, dark-wood facade and many of the traditional elements of a cuckoo clock, including an outer face with Roman numerals, a shingled roof with eaves and doors from which the Kellogg's® Crunchy Nut™ cuckoo clock character will emerge. Additional elements include decorative accoutrements, such as tree leaves and wood branches, pine-cone-shaped weights and a pendulum in the shape of a spoon.

    "To bring this iconic brand to the U.S., we wanted a symbol that represented the 'It's Morning Somewhere™' campaign and the enormity of the launch," said Yuvraj Arora, senior director. "Creating this immense clock and generating an exciting experience for consumers is a fun way to introduce Kellogg's® Crunchy Nut™ cereal in the U.S. and bring our campaign to life."

We've done a series of posts about the many "Largest Cuckoo Clocks" around the world. It'll be very interesting to see how the Kellogg's example stacks up. I know that one point that the Guinness World Records® decided upon was that clocks qualifying for the "Largest Cuckoo Clock" record should be free standing. In other words, you can't just stick an electric clock movement on the side of a building and call it a large cuckoo clock. Also, we give extra props to those clocks that have a giant traditional mechanical movement to power the clock, like the one at Eble in Triberg:

[pictures from Mimi's Adventures in Europe Blog]

So, let's see some pictures Kellogg's! We'd love to post some sketches of the design!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Martha Stewart is Finally Catching On

We were glad to see a great post on CLOCKS on Martha Stewart's website, by designer Kevin Sharkey.

His blog post includes a great idea of stenciling a clock directly on his wall:

He also has some pictures of a few cuckoo clocks, some are almost as interesting as our /design series...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cute Cuckoo!

Embroidery and knitting are experiencing a resurgence in popularity - especially among young people. We were glad to see that the cuckoo clock theme is included in this fun!

It would be great to see something with a real cuckoo clock movement. If you're out there crafters, let us know if you'll accept the challenge! Make a knitted or embroidered, or otherwise stitched cuckoo with a bird that comes out and calls.

[via Little Dear Tracks]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Memento Mori

"Memento Mori" is a reminder of mortality. Our "All Are Mine" clock is an excellent modern example that is the result of a long tradition of clockmaker artisans who remind us that life is short, and all things must pass.

This clock tells us a story. In the upper left part of the clock, you'll see a rich man (with his bags of money and fine suit). Just above the 12:00 position, there is a carving of a king, and to his right there is a carved figure of a monk. Underneath the dial are carved representations of the young and the old; and at the bottom you can see the world. The clock bears the inscription, Alle sind mein, or "All Are Mine."

Whether you are a rich person, royalty, a man of the church, young and old, all around the world, Death will eventually come to collect you. At the top, astride the foliott balance, the personification of the End of Life swings to collect his harvest.

Along with my previous post, here are more very fine examples of Memento Mori in the world of horology:

Mary Queen of Scots's Skull Watch

From The Watchismo Times:

It is believed Mary gave this watch as a gift to Mary Seaton, one of her maids of honor. The skull is of silver gilt and is engraved with lines of Horace, figures of Death with his scythe and hourglass, Adam and Eve, and the Crucifixion. The lower part of the skull is pierced to emit the sound when it strikes, being cut in the form of emblems of the Crucifixion. The works occupy the brain's position in the skull fitting into a silver bell which fills the entire hollow of the skulL The hours are struck on this bell by a small hammer on a separate train.

1810 Skull Pocket Watch

From The Watchismo Times:

18K gold, enamel, diamond verge and fusee skull watch. 43 mm high x 27 wide x 32 deep.

19th Century Victorian Skeleton Automaton Alarm Clock

[Via The Watchismo Times]

Crystal Skull Watch from Circa 1715

From The Watchismo Times

This skull watch/clock, circa 1715, by watchmaker James Harmar of London was carved from rock-crystal and fitted with a gold-mounted watch. Three-body skull, made of three solid pieces of rock crystal, the top and the bottom mounted in gold engraved frames, the lower frame housing the movement, the jaw articulated on the sides opening to expose the silver champlevé with Roman chapters and half-hour divisions, outer minute ring with Arabic five-minute numerals. Blued-steel, 'beetle and poker' hands. 39.5 mm o, hinged, gilt brass full plate, tulip pillars, fusee and chain for the going train, English single-footed cock pierced and engraved with symmetrical foliage and a mask in the base, rack and pinion with silver plate. Signed on the dial and movement. Dim. Length 85 mm, width 50 mm, height 80 mm. Published in the Sandberg book (Antiquorum), pages 376-377.

Incerta Mortis Hora - “The Hour of Death is Uncertain”

[Via Daily Info, Oxford]

Jacobean Lantern Clock

From The Times:

LONDON A rare memento mori clock that predates the Great Fire of London fetched a record £120,000 at auction.

The brass lantern clock, made by William Bowyer in 1623, is engraved with a skeleton on one side and Chronus, the Greek god of time, walking with his scythe, on the other. It had been expected to sell for £30,000 to £50,000.

The memento mori (remember your mortality) message reflected the preoccupation of 17th-century Puritans with divine judgment and the afterlife.

The clock, dating from the reign of James I of England (James VI of Scotland), was sold at Bonhams.

Of course, one could argue that ALL clocks are essentially reminders that time is fleeting, and that your life is being used up, one tick at a time.

Skull Clock

Here's a very interesting piece that recently sold at the Antiquorum Auctions. Perfect for all of you Steampunks and Goths, this piece is nearly 400 years old!

This is a very interesting fusee with chain, verge escapement, and plain steel two-arm balance without spring.

From the Watchismo Blog:

During the first minute, the skull's expression seems to smile, the second minute it seems to laugh, the next appears to scream and finally, the jaws snap shut, as if the skull were trying to bite something. At the same time, one of the snakes slowly sinks back down into one of the eye sockets, while the other slowly comes out of the other eye, before retracting suddenly, as the first snake again springs out from its eye-socket. And to view the time, just open up the skull cap! It sold recently for $135,000.

Designed & built in 1610 by Nicolaus Schmidt der Junger (Augsburg, Germany) as a skull set on two crossed shinbones and mounted on a gilt brass tripod, the hinged skull cap (restored) disclosing the dial. Later hexagonal ebony molded base. D. Silver champlevé enameled dial with floral decoration. Gilt brass single hand. M. Hinged oval gilt brass full plate with urn pillars, fusee with chain, verge escapement, plain steel two-arm balance without spring, gilt brass pierced and engraved irregular cock secured by a screw, with matching click for the ratchet wheel set-up. The movements of the automaton jaw and the snakes in the eyes are controlled by two six-spoke cams driven by the fusee and revolving twenty times an hour, so that the jaws take three minutes to open and then close suddenly while the snakes alternately pop out of, then return back into, each eye socket, twice a minute. Height 14 cm, including the base. Back plate signed.

[via the Automaton Blog]

Check out our fine, handmade modern clock of a similar style:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Every Clock Tells a Story, What Will Yours Be?

There's a charming story at the Springfield Illinois State Journal-Register. A very nice turn-of-the-Century Bahnhäusle hangs on the wall of its maker's grandson.

From the State Journal-Register:
Charles Neuner was a craftsman and jeweler who emigrated from Germany to Springfield permanently in 1905. His shop, Neuner’s Reliable Jewelers, (slogan: “Gifts That Last Will Always Be Remembered”) was at 124 N. Fifth St. [in Springfield] until his death in 1954.

Back in Germany, Charles worked for a German clock company. He handmade a cuckoo clock that he brought with him to Springfield. The clock was on the wall of the home on North Second Street where Charles and his wife, Pauline, lived.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Homunculous Sculpture

Nemo Gould does some beautiful and interesting work in automata. You can watch him document his creations on his blog.

[Via target="_blank">Nemomatic]

Nice Watch at Bonhams, But We Have One Like It

Here's a nice watch going up on the block at Bonhams auction.

Eternamatic: An 18ct gold automatic calendar wristwatch
The signed silvered dial with applied gilt baton hour markers, gilt hands with sweep centre seconds hand and date aperture, 21-jewel Cal:1466U automatic movement, polished round case with screw on back, fitted associated leather strap, dial diameter 3.4cm.

A nice, classic design, and very similar to our 1966 model, or our Yaroslavl model watches.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Setting a Hermle w1217 Quartz Movement

Here's a great post from Instructables on how to set the time and chime on an old w 1217 Hermle movement.

This German-made movement was a pioneer in bringing a "real-sounding" chime to a quartz movement. If your older clock has one of these movements, and it doesn't work, it's more cost-effective to replace it with a more modern mechanism. But, if you just need to set it, here are some good step-by-step instructions on how to do so.

From Instructables:

Top left are the STOP and START buttons.
Three knobs along the left side are also buttons.
A knob in the center sets the analog hands.
Upper right corner has the Make (Hermle) and Model# (1217)
Lower right is the battery compartment.

- The STOP button stops the analog movement and resets all digital settings.
- The START button begins keeping time after you're done setting the clock.
- Knob 1 sets the time in the digital portion of the clock. Turn the knob to the number you wish to set and press it until you hear a beep.
- Knob 2 sets the chime. Turn it to the the one you want and press the knob. This one apparently doesn't beep to confirm the selection.
- Knob 3 sets various options. This one also doesn't make a confirmation beep. The first position will do a full test chime with 12 "gongs" while the clock is running. Option two turns off the sound (default is on). Options three lets you set one of two volume settings (default is loud). Fourth option turns off the chime at night (I think...I didn't test it) (default is to chime at all hours).

After you've made all your digital settings, pull the analog knob and set the time on the clock hands.
Press the green START button to begin ticking.
Replace the back panel and replace the clock on your mantle (or wherever).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Single Gear System that Changes Speed

Should be interesting to any gearhead:


Have you heard about Boilerplate? A fantastic historical discovery has been made!

From Boilerplate's website:

Boilerplate was a mechanical man developed by Professor Archibald Campion during the 1880s and unveiled at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.

Built in a small Chicago laboratory, Boilerplate was a prototype soldier built for "preventing the deaths of men in the conflicts of nations". Although it was the only such prototype, Boilerplate was eventually able to exercise its proposed function in several combat actions.

Boilerplate embarked on a series of expeditions to demonstrate its abilities, the most ambitious being a voyage to Antarctica. Boilerplate is one of history's great ironies, a technological milestone that remains largely unknown.

Note: Although we are reasonably sure that (overall) this blog is pretty factual, we definitely make no guarantees on this particular post :)

Historical Automata

There's a great rundown of historical automata at Dark Roasted Blend.

We've pictured many of these great devices on this blog before. I was glad to see the pooping duck, which I had previously only read about in Tom Standage's delightful book.

[via Spiel und Kunst mit Mechanik]

How a Quartz Clock Works

Bill Hammack, the Engineer Guy, gives us a great video on how a quartz movement works:

[via Makezine]

The Ball Drop

This post is a bit late, but is interesting enough to read anyway.

J. Edwards at TickTalk gives a nice history of the tradition of dropping the ball on New Year's Eve. Here is an excerpt:

Although it’s arguably the most famous of ball drops, the concept of dropping a ball from a pinnacle point in the city to mark a precise point in time isn’t a Times Square first. The practice dates back almost 100 years earlier than the first Times Square ball drop. Initially conceived by Robert Wauchope, of England, time balls were used to synchronize the deck watches and ship chronometers of Navy vessels, who depended on accurate timekeepers to help them navigate longitudinally.

Learn more about methods to discover Longitude on our blog here or on our /museum website

Visage from the Past

One of the great things about collecting clocks is that you have an artifact of history - in this way, you can participate in some of the most important developments in the human experience.

This blog has always focused on timekeeping, as well as mechanical musical devices and automata, but I wanted to take the space of a short post to pass on this image.

It struck me as a ghostly presence, a window into history. This is a photograph of Boulevard du Temple in Paris was made in 1838 by Louis Daguerre, inventor of the daguerreotype process of photography. It is likely the first photograph of a human being.

Just think of it - 1838 - well before the American Civil War, well before the American transcontinental railroad... it's hard to imagine what life was like at that time, so it's a real treat to have an actual photograph.


New Videos, New Pictures

We've been busy updating our website again. With so many new creations it's hard to keep up! Stop by our YouTube channel to see lots more videos of our fine watches.

We've also got new detail pictures of the watches, for example:

Also, as any true artist is likely to do, our carver Christophe has slightly changed the beautiful design of the very popular Long Bahnhäusle. Check out the new pictures and movie here. If you don't already own one of these fine pieces, now would be a great time to invest in one. They are made in very limited production and each is a masterpiece.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Automata from Argentina

Thanks to Juan Pablo Cambariere's comment we have a new video of his exhibition of Automata:

Siete Ejercicios Básicos from Juan Pablo Cambariere on Vimeo.

Adjust the Time and Chimes on your Mantel Clock

The following is a diagram of the Hermle mechanism w0340.

This depicts the top of the movement, around the balance wheel and escapement. Turn the Regulating spindle in very small increments (less than 1/16th of a turn) to adjust the timekeeping. Turning the spindle clockwise will slow the clock down, counter-clockwise will speed the clock up. Be sure to reset the hands each time you make an adjustment.

Our Sternreiter Brahms tambour and Sloan bracket clocks are equipped with a manual shut-off lever for the chimes.