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Empire Mantel Clock “Smith and Grinder” with Automatons and Indications “Osthälder in Wien”

Empireuhr Schmied und Schleifer mit Automaten und Indikationen

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Vienna, first quarter of the 19th century

Clockmaker
Ludwig Osthälder,
Vienna, master 1804 to 1853, apprentice of Johann Rau until 1795
Case
mahogany-style stained and polished fruitwood veneer, partly ebonized, alabaster columns, mounts made of brass and gilt wood
Dial
engraved brass, enamel chapter ring and enamel subsidiary dials
Movement
anchor escapement, Viennese grande sonnerie on wire gongs, repeater, turn-off for strike, automatons smith and grinder coupled with the strike, moving eyes automaton coupled with the movement, indication of date, days of the week and month
Height
18 in

In the 19th century, “smith and grinder” automatons were a popular method for animating the dials of mantel clocks as well as pocket watches. The automaton consists of two cupids with movable arms and legs that are activated every hour on the hour. One cupid is depicted forging his arrow of love, while the second is shown polishing his. This exceptional mantel clock by Viennese clockmaker Ludwig Osthälder (master craftsman, 1804-53) has an additional automaton, namely a moving-eye automaton in the form of a fire-gilt mascaron, whose eyes are linked to the pendulum. A further special feature are the diverse indications on this distinguished Empire clock. Within the enamel chapter ring are three smaller chapter rings that display the date, day of the week, and month. The appearance of this exquisite timekeeper is given its finishing touch by the magnificent clock case with alabaster columns – a consummate work of art and simultaneously a prime example of the perfect cooperation between Viennese masters of various artistic professions. This clock once formed part of the famous collection of Professor Dr. Hans von Bertele.

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