A Lockdown Passion
I didn’t know it at the time, but my lockdown passion began in 2011 when I had a small Black Forest ‘windmill’ clock in for repair. It was made for the Dutch tourist market about 1935-6, and bought there in 1937 by the current owner. A couple of similar, but later, clocks turned up for repair in 2018. In 2019, I found a later style windmill clock on eBay… and I was hooked!
When lockdown hit in March 2020, I had time on my hands and spent some it looking at eBay. When I found a tiny wooden framed movement less than 3 inches high and clearly of Black Forest origin… of course, I bought it. Researching it, I found out about a whole group of small Black Forest movements I had not previously encountered – Jockele clocks. The name arose as a description of small clocks with wooden frames, made by the Black Forest maker Jacob Herbstreith in the 1790s (‘Jockele’ is a common diminutive of ‘Jacob’ in Germany). Soon there were a number of makers of these small clocks, but the descriptive term ‘Jockele clock’ has persisted… and is even used today by manufacturers for 20th century clocks with small mass-produced brass movements.
Early Jockele clocks are very rare and designs varied, but by the mid-nineteenth century Jockele clocks had developed a ‘standard’ movement design of solid wooden plates, separated by wooden pillars, like the movement shown in the photograph. The clock faces were similar in style to those of other Black Forest clocks, but only about 4½ inches high. The clock dials are similar to enamel watch dials. Two common Jockele clock types are the embossed brass face, and the porcelain face, like the ones shown in the photographs. Less commonly, carved wood or colour printed metal faces were used.
Early in the 20th century much cheaper, mass-produced small movements with brass plates were developed and gradually replaced the wooden movement clocks, though makers continued to refer to these clocks with brass plates as Jockele clocks. During the second quarter of the 20th century manufacturers devised new ways to broaden their customer base, designing souvenir clocks, novelty clocks and models to appeal to children. Some of these are shown in the larger photograph.
From left to right – a typical mid-nineteenth century jockele clock movement; a carved ‘miniature’ Jockele clock c.1875;
a basic carved wood Jockele clock of 1904; brass plated movements in - an ‘owl clock’ c.1935; a ‘windmill’ souvenir clock c.1947-50; an ‘owl clock’ from the 1960s; a clock from the 1980s designed to appeal to a younger market!