‘Rosenthal’ Clock

Werder Clock, ca. 1815 (MC0008)

This clock’s round dial and simple, rope-driven movement originated in Prussia in the eighteenth century. Mennonite clockmakers continued to make this kind of dial in Russia up to the 1840s. Abraham Kroeger (1791–1872) likely made this clock in Rosenthal around 1815. Abraham’s father, Johann (1754–1823), had taught the clockmaking trade to his sons in Prussia, and continued the practice after the family moved to Russia (now Ukraine) in 1803. As was the practice in Prussia, the Kroegers did not mark their clocks. Arthur Kroeger remade the dial according to designs originally painted by the Kroegers. The motif of a vase filled with flowers is a common one found in Mennonite fraktur (folk art).

History

Either Johann (1754–1823) or his son Abraham Kroeger (1791–1892) made this clock in the original Kroeger cottage in Rosenthal, Russian Empire (now Ukraine).

The descendants of the clock's original owners kept it in the family through the generations, bringing it with them to Paraguay as they fled the USSR in the 1920s. In 1972 the family gave it to clock repairman Gerhard Isaak of Filadelfia, Paraguay, to sell. Dr. Erhard Schneider, a German missionary, purchased the clock. Since the dial had badly deteriorated, he had it repainted by art teacher Irene Franz.

The clock followed the Schneider family to Germany and then to Vancouver, where they were stationed for a time. It was kept in storage for ten years while the Schneiders were posted in Indonesia. Shortly after their return, Mrs. Schneider inherited another antique clock, and the Schneiders decided to sell this one. They gave it to Gerhard Isaak–who had by now moved from Paraguay to Abbotsford, B.C.–to sell once more.

Arthur Kroeger purchased the clock from Gerhard's brother, Hartmuth Isaak, in 2000. The dial repainted by Irene Franz was put on a more modern movement (also in KCHF collection; see MC0004). Arthur repaired the original movement and created a dial more authentic to the almost 200-year-old clock.

 

  • Description Thirty-hour wall clock with pendulum and weight-driven movement, made by Johann Kroeger (1754–1823) or Abraham Kroeger (1791–1872) in Rosenthal, Russian Empire (now Ukraine), ca. 1815. Round dial with a decorative bonnet. Bonnet is outlined in gold, with the initials ‘A.K.,’ for Abraham Kroeger, in the centre, and the year 1815 below. Dark chapter ring with gold border and gold Roman numerals, with a white inner ring marking the minutes. Inside the chapter ring is a hand-painted rose on either side of a tulip in a vase. One hand; rope drive; two weights.

  • Mennonite Clock Number MC0008

  • Object Name Werder Clock

  • Date Created ca. 1815

  • Maker Johann Kroeger (1754–1823) or Abraham Kroeger (1791–1872)

  • Location Made Rosenthal, Chortitza Colony, Russian Empire (now Ukraine)

  • Dial Form Round dial with decorative bonnet

  • Face Design Motifs Roses and tulip

  • DesignType Hand-painted

  • Type of Hands Brass

  • Number of Hands 1

  • Drive Rope

  • Weights 2

  • Other Markings Made by Abraham Kröger c. 1815 in Rosenthal, Ukraine (written on back by Arthur Kroeger)

  • Diameter 34 cm (measurements are approximate)

  • Owner Kroeger Clocks Heritage Foundation

  • Publications Arthur Kroeger, ‘Kroeger Clocks’ (Steinbach, MB: Mennonite Heritage Village, 2012), page 141–142.

  • Notes The dial that went with the Werder movement has been catalogued as MC0004.

 

This clock has roses for Rosenthal, the village where the clock was made and whose name translates to ‘Valley of Roses’; tulips for the Netherlands, from where the Mennonites descended; and a Greek vase for Taurida, once an ancient Greek province, now part of southern Ukraine, where Rosenthal was later located.

 

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