by Chris H. Bailey
Retired curator of the American Clock & Watch
Florence Kroeber was one of American’s most
interesting clock entrepreneurs and importers.
Anyone who has owned a Kroeber clock will tell you
that his movements were usually of a higher quality
than many Connecticut movements and his cases are
interesting and well made. Tran Duy Ly’s book on
Kroeber clocks is a monumental work which
illustrates the majority of clocks found with the
Kroeber name. Not only are catalog engravings shown,
but also shown are actual photos of most models from
the amazing Kroeber collection of C. Kent Kroeber.
Over 350 pages of Kroeber clocks, novelties, hanging
clocks and mantel clocks with wood, metal or
porcelain cases are illustrated as well as auxiliary
items such as figurines, candelabra, signs and
brackets which were marketed by Kroeber.
A very important section which collectors
should not overlook will be found on pages 402
to 498 – some 96 pages of IMPORTED clocks and items
which Kroeber sold. Florence Kroeber was born in
Germany and had connections with European
manufacturers who supplied him with foreign-made
clocks which he sold through his store. One will
find some German-made chime clocks (1 page), German
wall and shelf cuckoo clocks (8 pages), French
alabaster clocks under glass shades (21 pages),
French marble cased clocks (22 pages), French onyx
case clocks (2 pages), French and German
mechanical clocks (2 pages), French and German
alarm clocks (1 page), German-made Vienna-style
regulators (12 pages) and side pieces and statues,
some French and others either European or
American-made (26 pages). Many of these are found in
collections, antique shops and auctions even today.
I once thought these were mostly imported from
Europe during the last 40 years by antique dealers,
but now realize that many were imported and sold by
Kroeber and have been in this country for nearly a
century and a half.
This hefty 584 page book also contains a detailed
history of Florence Kroeber and his company, a
section of Kroeber-related historical materials
including invoices and labels as well as detailed
photos of movements, dials and pendulums to help in
identification of clocks with original Kroeber
parts. Of course the volume is indexed and a price
guide for each item is included.