SCHWEPPENHÄUSER, FRANKFURT, GERMANY. 1877
Single train, cast iron plate and spacer frame design. Pinwheel escapement. One second
wooden rod pendulum. Bolt and shutter type maintaining power. Single day duration, i.e.
movement has three verses the conventional four wheel eight day style. But could be made
to run eight days in a conventional tower clock setting with additional compounding of the
weight through pulleys.
11 1/4"w x
25"h x 11"d.
The smaller tower clocks, particularly from Germany, often had only three wheeled
trains. This configuration offered a cheaper design, not just from the elimination of one
wheel, but the general avoidance of greater precision in the overall fabrication of the
movement that accompanies the addition of a wheel. Each wheel adds greatly to the power
needed from the bottom of the train, the drive barrel or spring in a conventional domestic
clock, to drive the top of the train - the escapement. All things being equal this power
requirement can increase by a factor of ten for each wheel. Therefor, minimizing friction
becomes paramount and here enters the fabrication costs. Theoretically one could add five
or six wheels to the train to get a month or even a full year, but the practicalities of
doing this outweigh the advantages. However, year going domestic tall case and other
clocks are known, but rare and expensive for these reasons.
This example is from an obscure German maker. The outstanding feature on this clock is
the maker's use of the sea scallop for the frame apex and the otherwise nicely executed
curvilinear frame cutouts. It always fascinates me the extent that some tower clock makers
went through to make their movements look attractive. This only adds to the cost with no
possible improvement in the clock's performance. Obviously the reason is to impress the
buyer, but to think that after this initial appraisal from the owner is finished, the
magnificently made machine is nearly always and forever thereafter unavailable to be seen
by anyone other than the clock's maintenance personnel. For other outstanding examples of
this practice see, the German makers Ritzert, Lindner. French makers Cretin,
Gugumus. Czech maker, Hainz and US maker Howard.