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LENZKIRCH CLOCKS

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Biography

The Stockholder Corporation for Clock Manufacturing in Lenzkirch was the oldest clock factory among the clock manufacturers in the Black Forest. Lenzkirch was originally founded by clock maker Eduard Hauser and Ignaz Schopperle, a mechanical organ maker. They began in 1849 in a small workshop in Lenzkirch, machining and finishing clock parts which would then be sent out to the clock makers for a final fit. In the past, clock makers would have to create every part by hand, put it all together, and hoped everything would work right. Hauser's and Schopperle's goal was to produce clock movements using the new 'Serial Assembly" technique, where compact, machined, and fully assembled clock movements would be shipped to clock makers, ready for installation.

Eduard Hauser now had 14 employees working for him who used hand driven flywheel lathes and other tools to produce clock parts. He had purchased many tools and machines to grow the company, using up much of the capital. At the same time he still had payroll and overhead expenses he had to maintain. Due to lack of marketing, distribution problems, and the need for cash flow, growth and progress were very slow. On August 31, 1951, Hauser went to Franz Joseph Faller, Joesph Wiest, Nikolaus Rogg, and brothers Johann Nikolaus Tritscheller and Paul Tritscheller. They formed the company called Aktiengesellschaft fur Uhrenfabrikation in Lenzkrich; The Stockholder Corporation for Clock Manufacturing in Lenzkirch. In 1865, Johann and Paul's brother Albert, joined them to study other country's clock making methods and practices.
With new found financial backing and a strong management team, Lenzkirch began to flourish. Under Hauser's leadership and technical guidance, Lenzkirch developed into a large company. The factory complex was powered by two large steam engines with three broilers, and the clock factory operated a gold & silver plating and a tool & die making shop. With most parts of the clocks being made under one roof, Lenzkirch Clock factory reached unprecedented technical excellence. Production details were always kept secret. Even when visitors would come to the factory, Hauser would quickly cover the machines and tools with large linen sheets for fear that unfair competitors would steal his techniques.

Soon, Lenzkirch not only manufactured clock parts, but all the clock movements were assembled onsite, too. Wood cases would be imported, and the clock movement and finish work would be added at the clock factory. Lenzkirch's reputation for exceptional quality came with the introduction of it's German Regulator. It won many awards throughout 1860-61. The Viennese style wall regulator became very popular as well, so the company began a large research and development program to design and make durable springs for their own clocks, as well as clock makers. Now that Lenzkirch was able to produce the finest assembly line type clocks in the Black Forest, there was a major problem; selling them. Franz Joseph Faller, with his commercial experience and knowledge of several foreign languages, began an extensive marketing campaign and transportation plan. He created and circulated cataloges, sent representitives to all of the leading expos, and set up offices in Florence and Venice, Italy. However, base of operations stayed in the Black Forest. Transportation became unbearable due to the high volume of clocks being manufactured, so Faller went to the state and local authorities to have a railway system extended to Lenzkirch. After many years, his work paid off, and on May 21, 1887, the first train arrived. After Faller delivered the welcoming speech at the celebration, he fell dead due to a fatal stroke.

For 80 years, the Lenzkirch Clock Factory employed thousands of people who took pride in their work and high quality craftsmanship. At it's peak, the factory had over 600 workers. Lenzkirch turned into a wealthy, clean city, whose name became famous because of it's beautiful Black Forest clocks. Lenzkirch Clock Factory was also known for it's employee benefits. In 1858, the factory began offering medical insurance and a disaster fund in the case of an unfortunate circumstance. But, due to many economic variables, things were looking bad for the factory. Even during many depressions and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, the management refused to cut corners and continued to manufacture high quality clocks. After many other clock manufacturers quietly emerged with more capital and large, modern production plants, Lenzkirch couldn't compete using their original equipment developed between 1860 and 1900. In 1928, the Junghans Brothers proposed a merger with the Lenzkirch Clock Company. The factory dissolved in August, 1929, and operated until 1932 as a satellite company for Gebruder Junghans before it was sold to a beauty shop equipment manufacturer in 1933.

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