This will be a lighter piece in tone today. A while back, my friend Susan at mydangblog obtained a grandfather clock. My old brain doesn’t recall all of the details, but it seems she had some issues with it. Or not. As I said, my forgetter is working just fine right now. Anyway, I mentioned that I had been to a clock museum in Rockford, IL some years back – 1983 to be exact. While there, I took pictures of timepieces from all over the world dating back to ancient Egyptian times.
I tried to find the museum on the internet to get more details to pass on if anyone was interested, but sadly it is closed. The entire collection was purchased by the Chicago Museum of Natural History. From what I could find out, only a small portion of the collection is on display there. It is still worth your time to stop by on your next trip to “Chi-town.”
I promised to post some of the pictures I took to give folks an idea of how far back we humans have been keeping track of time. The intricate details clock makers put into their creations are amazing. The pictures below show a wide variety of clocks from huge room-size clocks to those worn on lapels or fancy dresses. The pieces pictured come from France, Austria, Bavaria, and Italy as I recall. Time periods range from the 1400s to the late 1700s.
Tweetie Bird Clock
I believe this was an Austrian timepiece. The craftsmanship is exquisite. The picture doesn’t do it justice. The little birds in the right-hand photo chirp or tweet at fifteen-minute intervals, so at 12:00 you hear a little song from them. Their size is not much bigger than your thumbnail. Absolutely amazing.
These little guys were Italian-made in the 1500s. The pocket watches show a complexity rivaled by any current watch made – Swiss or otherwise. You can’t see the engraving on the cases, but it too is exquisite. The little violin and another instrument (not sure what it’s called) are not much more than two inches long and could be worn on a lapel or evening gown. The actual clock itself is difficult to read, but the detail of the instrument itself is impressive.
This monster took up an entire room. I don’t recall where it came from, but whoever built it, liked to work on a large scale. Maybe he was a little near-sighted?
The French Clock
This beautiful piece features loads of hand-carved flowers and figurines. I’m sorry the pic is really too small to see the lady in blue and white at the right-front portion of the base. The detail of the carvings leads one to wonder who has the patients to put such time and skill into crafting such a piece. I’m glad they did – it is gorgeous.
The Grandfather Clock
I believe this one was Austrian-made, but it could have come from France – don’t recall anymore. The wood has a beautiful grain, the gold trim is all hand-carved and covered in gold leaf. It is awesome to stand next to a work of art created so long ago and gaze on some unknown craftsman’s work.
I felt the same way when my wife and I had a chance to see the King Tut display in Dallas a few years ago. There was one piece I could view in a glass case that was 3000 years old. I got within twelve inches of it to examine the workmanship. It blew me away. The hand-carved detail was amazing, the gold leaf overlay was flawless. I had never seen anything that old made with such craftsmanship. And we modern folks think we are so smart. Ya, right.