Gustav Becker Vienna Regulator Braunau factory circa 1902

RS GB movement in no weights (5)
Gustav Becker Vienna Regulator

This is a Gustav Becker 2 weight “Vienna Regulator” made at the Braunau factory in 1902. The serial number is a confirmed match for the numbered series built during that period. The clock was made in the Gustav Becker Braunau works in Bohemia (now Broumov, Czech Repulic), in mid-1902. The Braunau operation started up in February 1888 and would have been producing clocks up until 1925. Bohemia is a province in the Habsburg Austrian Empire hence the reference to clocks during that period referred to as Vienna Regulator style. The definition of a Vienna Regulator is a debatable point and I will leave that up to the reader to decide.

Some notable features are the inverted keyhole movement mount, rod gong and a wood pendulum rod with brass covered zinc. There are intricately carved trim pieces, certainly a common feature of the craftsmanship found in higher end clocks of that period. The clock is 51 inches tall and is a commanding presence on any wall and certainly a great addition to our living room.

What is missing in the photo are the two weights which at this point are not attached; the condition of the cables are suspect. Replacement cables are on the list. There is also a small part of the right bottom finial which has to be reattached (glued).

The bottom middle finial is also not attached. The bottom middle finial is in the freezer right now because I noticed that it was the only part of the clock with woodworm holes. I inspected the finial carefully, banged it on white paper and not a bit of dust or dead insects. This is a good sign and one indication that the worms and their larvae have been long gone but as an extra precaution a few days in the freezer won’t hurt and once it gets to -30C here in Nova Scotia a little time outside won’t do any harm either. I am not at the point where I will introduce it to chemicals as my best guess is that the problem insects have simply left their mark and have since departed. There is no indication of any worm holes on the clock itself which leads me to believe that the bottom middle finial may not be original. Chemical eradication appears to be the only course of action it seems as freezing does nothing.

RS the case (5)
some pieces had to be reattached

At the moment this clock is not working. The clock needs a very good cleaning and possible bushing work. I have not opened it up yet to investigate further but my first inspection of the moment is that it has not seen maintenance in some time. This will be one of my first steps.

This is a good project and from time to time I will detail my progress on this fine European clock.

6 thoughts on “Gustav Becker Vienna Regulator Braunau factory circa 1902

  1. Just FYI, having the finial in the freezer will do nothing at all. The eggs (if any survive) can withstand temperatures up to around -40 C and they can also stay active up to around 4 years in the wood. I’ve dealt with woodworm issues, and it’s definitely NOT FUN. I had done a LOT of research on the subject, and some of the only options guaranteed to work 100% included baking the items at high temperature (which would likely ruin any finish), microwave treatment (which might or might not have negative effects on the wood), and penetrating insecticide treatment. The latter was the choice I took to treat a whole Vienna case that was infested with active woodworm, and it worked well without damaging the finish. I used Bora Care, and it’s a glycol based borate insecticide that penetrates the wood. If any eggs remain active, once the insects hatch and try to eat the wood they get poisoned, so it’s a long lasting solution.

    For something like this finial, I would probably try baking it in the oven at around 200F for an hour or two. It may ruin the finish, but it shouldn’t be hot enough to damage the wood. You can always refinish it if the finish does get ruined.

    When it comes to woodworm I don’t like to take any chances. You DO NOT want to end up with live beetles infesting your house.


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