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History:
The 101 Vienna Regulator clocks illustrated and described in this book cover a unique era of clock making which spanned the years from about 1790 to 1910. For purposes of this book, the "Vienna Regulator Era" has been divided into the three periods of "Early", "Middle", and "Late". For each of these periods a general description of the Vienna Regulator styles prevalent during the period follows:

The Early Period covers the years from about 1790 to 1840. Simple, straight lines and flat surfaces usually identify the Vienna regulators of this period. The "Laterndluhr" (which resembles a coach lamp) and the "Dachluhr" (a fully straight-sided evolvement of the Laterndluhr) conform generally to the "Empire" style and reflect the furniture styles popular in this period. The dials are typically one-piece porcelain, one-piece metal, or occasionally multiple-piece metal surrounded by a cast bezel with an engine-turned pattern. The slender and simple hands are in total harmony with the clock. Toward the end of the Early Period the "Biedermeier" style appeared marking the beginning of the Middle Period.

The Middle Period covers the years from about 1840 to 1870. Throughout this period the "Biedermeier" style was the prevalent style for Vienna Regulators. This style maintained the simplicity of the Empire style but gradually evolved into rounded corners and curved tops with crests. There were also some cases with appliques and dramatic applications of figural woods. Dials evolved generally from one-piece to two-piece. Although some of the earliest Biedermeiers have engine-turned dial bezels it was more common to see "pie crust" bezels. The hands remained simple and complimentary to the clock.

The Late Period covers roughly from about 1860 to 1910 with an overlap at the beginning with the Middle Period. During this period the "Transitional" style marked a gradual evolution from the late Biedermeier style to the "Altdeutsch" style. The sinuous "Serpentine" clock also appeared during this period together with other "variant" styles not easily categorized as to style. The "Baroque" and "Art Nouveau" styles also appeared toward the end of this period. However, the Altdeutsch was the style of clock that was dominant in the Late Period. The Altdeutsch case design was strikingly beautiful with graceful lines, charming appearance, and perfectly balanced case proportions. Cases embellished with ornate columns, capitals, carved crests, finials and pendants typified the Altdeusch style.

Style:
Classifying Viennese Regulators can sometimes be difficult. Each one is a unique, handmade clock with numerous personal touches and variations in design. Because of this, examples of early style Vienna Regulators made during later periods do exist. Evidence strongly suggests that at least some clocks were skillfully modified over the years in order to conform to the style of the time. Therefor readers should realize that neither a precise definition of "periods" nor an absolute assignment of every clock to a period is possible. A certain amount of judgement and opinion is involved. However this simply adds to the intrigue of the Vienna Regulator which will hopefully stimulate more research about the makers and their clocks!

Certain criteria are used for clock descriptions in this book. Unless otherwise stated, each clock has a Graham-type deadbeat escapement and a spring-suspended pendulum. Also unless otherwise stated, the bezels are spun brass and the pendulum rods are wood. Exceptions to these criteria are mentioned in the description of the clock. In some instances the very unusual features of a clock are further described and may be illustrated pictorially to provide a graphic elucidation.

While there are no longer many clock shops in Vienna, there are wonderful examples of Vienna regulators in museums and some private collections. The Uhrenmuseum der Stadt Wien opened in 1921 at Schulhof 2 largely through the efforts of Rudolf Kaftan who through much interest and labor sought to make this a really outstanding horological establishment. He has thereby left a remarkable legacy which anyone interested in the technical or esthetic aspects of horology should see in Vienna. One should not fail to see the wonderful collection of Dr. Franz Sobek in the Geymuller-Schlossl. There formerly were good examples of Vienna regulators in many public buildings in Vienna, Brunn and other cities. However electric clocks, as in so many places these days, drove these clocks out resulting in their sale to traveling "pickers" who for some time purchased them cheaply, shipping them to markets where they could be sold as "antiques". The fact that there is now an interest in such clocks will save some from destruction and reveal to future generations the superb workmanship of makers like Binder, Bachner, Jessner, Ratzenhofer, Bock, Happacher, etc.


Regardless of the style or period, the Vienna Regulator is a beautiful work of art. Each one is a symphony of moving parts, performing in harmony and perfect precision, creating a masterpiece for the world to treasure and enjoy. As you view the vivid photographs and clear descriptions of the exquisite clocks in the Victor Kochaver collection, you may easily find yourself transported back to another time and place as you trace the journey of the Vienna Regulator from the Old World to the New. We hope you enjoy the journey!


 
   
 
 
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