Review by DOUG COWAN Cincinnati, Ohio
My very first antique wall clock was a Gustav Becker two weight regulator, circa 1890. At the time, in 1969, I felt very ignorant concerning clocks and clock values. How I wish I had an excellent reference book like this one, Gustav Becker by Tran Duy Ly, to guide me in my purchase!
The Gustav Becker crown and anchor trademark is now quite familiar to clock enthusiasts. Usually shown on the dial, and virtually always on the movement, this mark assures a potential owner that the clock or timepiece was well made, with strong attention to quality. It seems to me that Tran Duy Ly has successfully depicted such high craftsmanship in this new book, which sets its own mark for quality.
Gustav Becker (1819 1885) was a dedicated and successful German clockmaker. In 1850, thoroughly trained in clockmaking in Germany and in Vienna, he established a small clockmaking shop in Freiburg, Silesia (not the Black Forest Freiburg.) He struggled to produce clocks with an unskilled labor force until a design award in 1852 gave him the prestige to attract the quality of workers needed for success in this new industry. The firm prospered, and won many quality and performance awards worldwide from the 1860's to the 1890's. Until about 1880, virtually all Gustav Becker clocks were weight powered regulator wall clocks similar to the one shown on this book's cover. Then, spring powered clocks were introduced and many new styles followed. Almost four hundred models are pictured in the text. Several million clocks were produced and sold by the end of the trademark's use in the mid 1930's. Gustav Becker died in 1885, but the strength of his enterprise carried his name forward. The trademark and production survived an 1889 consolidation of Freiburg clockmaking companies into the "United Freiburg Clock Manufacturing Company Inc., formerly Gustav Becker". In 1926, this firm combined with the Junghans clockmaking company, and the Gustav Becker trademark continued until about 1935.
This volume demonstrates the great variety of clocks (and a few watches) manufactured by Gustav Becker. The clear pictures and current value estimates will be useful to potential purchasers or appraisers of Gustav Becker and similar German clocks. Equally important, the many views of movements, dials, hands, weights, gongs, and pendulums will help determine authenticity. The text is organized alphabetically by clock type, beginning with Alarm clocks. Regulators, both weight and spring powered, are to be found in the Hanging Clocks section.
With this book, publisher and editor Tran Duy Ly continues his excellent program to provide educational and reliable clock reference and price guides. He, with the support of forty-two other experts nationwide, has made every effort to produce an accurate, informative reference for anyone interested in Gustav Becker clocks.
Whether you are just beginning to collect, wish to know more about a clock which you already own, or simply enjoy having a good clock reference library, you need this book. Mr. Ly will also publish periodic updates of prices for every clock in this book so that this guide will never be outdated. Thus, this Gustav Becker book becomes an even better choice with time and allows the clock connoisseur to make more intelligent decisions when it comes to buying or selling.
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