Received from John for repair after he had dropped it!
The case was broken along a knot and it was difficult to see how to repair it neatly
other than replace the broken piece of side panel but it would then be difficult to match
the new wood to the rest of the case. Also it would be quite an undertaking. So a rather
crude but effective enough patch was glued in; not visible when the door is closed.
The movement was clean but most of the bearings were dry. I stripped the movement down
and cleaned the bearings and added a drop of clock oil and it ticked away happily;
I did not do a full clean of the movement as it did not seem necessary. There are very
little signs of wear or any signs of corrosion on the movement. A repairer in the past
has replaced the original gut lines, for the weights, with nylon “fishing
line” which is OK but not “authentic”; I have not replaced it and
it is quite a fiddly job.
Some comments though. The case is fairly good quality and typical of many of the “cheaper” Vienna clocks
in that it is mainly pine with a mahogany veneer (but see my comments below). The movement
is made by Gustav Becker one of the more respected clock makers of his generation. Here is a quote from
an article on the web. (http://www.essortment.com/all/antiqueclocksg_rmlo.htm.)
“One of the better makers from the mid to late 19th century was Gustav Becker.
Becker was born in 1819 and trained as a clockmaker in Germany and Austria. He opened his workshops
in Freiburg, Silesia, Germany in 1850. Becker struggled with untrained help at first but won a Golden
Medal, the Medaille d’or, at the 1852 Silesia Trade Exposition for design. Becker incorporated
that first medal and his initials, G.B., into his trademark. This award gave him the recognition that
he needed to attract skilled craftsmen to his workshops. Numerous awards and certificates followed, from
trade expos as far-flung as Australia and as close to home as Vienna.
Becker clocks are not too difficult to identify. Until 1880 and the introduction of the spring driven
mechanism, almost all of Gustav Becker’s clocks were weight driven Regulator wall clocks. Becker’s
clocks bear his trademark and serial number on the dial and weights are usually marked with his initials.
Serial numbers reference the year of manufacture, so determining age is made very simple. An excellent
resource for this information and more is available in the book “Gustav Becker Story” by
However there is something not quite right about the clock and this may be only a perception rather
than a reality. It is possible that it is not the original movement that goes with the case. When the
movement is removed there are another set of earlier screw holes from a different movement; also the
movement is a bit lopsided. I would also have expected the maker to have his name and/or his trademark
on the face or weights as suggested above. Also the pendulum is not lead filled that would be normal
for a quality clock. The weights and pendulum are nevertheless a Gustav Becker design. I have no doubt
that the movement is by Becker but it is just possible that the face and weights have been replaced,
perhaps along with the case, at some time in its history. This does not however get us anywhere! It is
a nice clock and will give many more years of good service.
22nd May 2009