Review by DOUG COWAN Cincinnati, Ohio
This interesting book is an unabridged republication of Kroeber's 1887-1888 catalog of imported clocks and statues, complete with original prices and a supplemental current price guide.
Florence Kroeber (1840-1911) was born in Germany, and came to the USA at the age of 10. He, not she as thought for many years, was active in the clock trade by 1859 and is known to have obtained many patents for clock improvements and case designs. The particular Kroeber enterprise which published this catalog was incorporated in 1886 or 1887, and failed in 1899. In addition to importing clocks, Kroeber was making and selling American clocks with interesting variations from their Connecticut counterparts.
More than 125 French clocks, 50 figural statuettes, and 15 German clocks are illustrated and described. These were the European clocks of interest to clock buyers of the late 1880's. The illustrations are clear and large, making this a good resource for current researchers. The French case styles shown include: marble, marble and bronze, gilt figural, and gilt and alabaster. One should note that the word "bronze" is used loosely in this catalog, in most instances actually describing bronze colored finish on a lower cost metal.
The German clock section is very small, but most interestingly contains wall and shelf trumpeter clocks, a 6 foot long Vienna regulator, and the currently much sought after mechanical dumpling eater, which at the time cost no more than a black marble clock.
Tran Duy Ly has produced a high quality reprint on an unusual subject. The book not only belongs in any collection of Kroeber material, but also every French and European clock collector's library. It is also useful in identifying those clocks and statuettes seen in so many American Collections.
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