Ludwig Eberhardt and His Salem Clocks
by Frank P. Albright
ISBN 0807813249
Published by University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC. for Old Salem, Inc.
Winston-Salem, NC.

Available in the U.S.A. from

Arlington Books
1421 Brummel St - Evanston, Illinois 60202-3705 USA
Phone:  847-532-9849  - Fax:  888-225-2369

160 pages - 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 with 56 black and white illustrations $15.00

(Special Price $7.50)    

Review by THOMAS J. SPITTLER New Carlisle, Ohio

Published in 1978 and unavailable for the past 10 years,   cache of 1,000 copies of Johann Ludwig Eberhardt and His Salem Clocks by Frank P. Albright have recently come to light.

This is an excellent book for anyone with an interest in tall case clocks, North Carolina antiques, or American horological history of the first half of the last century.

Johann Ludwig Eberhardt was a German clockmaker strangely enough trained in the English tradition of clockrnaking in of all places, Holland. At age 41 Eberhardt left Europe at the invitation of a Moravian settlement in Salem, North Carolina to arrive in late 1799. His story as a clockmaker in frontier America from 1800 to 1835 is well documented by the author from Moravian records. It seems that Mr. Eberhardt, the clockmaker, had one weakness, he drank to excess resulting in wife-beating and an inability to control his finances. Because of this, the officials in the Moravian settlement were constantly considering his conduct, examining his financial situation and putting him on and off what we today would term probation. These Moravian records exist and form half the facts concerning Eberhardt.

The second half of the facts come from the clocks Eberhardt made.

When reading this book one has to remember that the author wrote it in the mid-1970’s when much of the information we now have about white painted dials was not available. In fact the author states that he is not aware of how to date the clocks from the features on the dials. Nevertheless, the author does an excellent job and his attribution of dates to 35 of Eberhardt’s clocks are nearly flaw-less. The author also does an excellent job in describing how a clockmaker functions in the first half of the 1800’s. What parts did the “maker” purchase from parts houses in Philadelphia that were termed “Birmingham goods” meaning they were made in Birmingham, England? These parts included dials, hands, cast brass movement plates and wheel blanks. The clockmakers task was to turn these purchased parts into a working clock. The cases for Eberhardt’s clock movements were made by skilled cabinetmakers in Salem’s Moravian furniture shops.

If one wants an excellent opportunity to learn more about clockmaking in frontier America this is an excellent book.

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