Juba bim-bam mantel clock
Juba bim-bam mantel clock

This a an antique shop find of a bim-bam Juba clock made by Juba Schatz of Germany circa 1940s. It is a very attractive clock and not overdone; it is understated, simple in design and reflects the style of the 1940s and 1950s period.

This clock is in excellent condition for it’s age and has some intriguing features; first, a circular disk that one rotates on the crutch to put the clock in beat to compensate for a surface that is not level; second, 4 strike rods, 1 for the first strike of the bim-bam and 3 for the second; third, a storage cradle on the back door for the pendulum bob just below the key holder and fourth, a very effective and robust two-piece steel strike lock. It even came with the original operating instructions in English and German.

Juba instructions
Juba clock  instructions

The bim-bam clock was not unique. Many companies made bim-bam clocks because they appealed to the masses due to their pleasant melody. The bim-bam mechanical strike clock movement is one that strikes out the two-note bim-bam melody on the hour and half hour. This mechanical strike mechanism is made up of two and sometimes up to 4 finely tuned copper rods (as in this Juba clock) mounted to a cast iron block.

At one time clocks with unique tonal sounds were called Normandy chimes, so, instead of one strike on the hour and half hour, there were two.  It was a musical dual tone, instead of a single, (often harsh sounding) single hourly or half hour strike. The  American Gilbert Clock Company made several mantel clocks in the 1920s that had what Gilbert termed a “Normandy Chime”. Gilbert explicitly called this the “Normandy Chime”, which was supposed to have been patterned off the old bells of Normandy, France. Is the Normandy chime the precursor to the bim-bam? Who knows!

It is not easy to find information on this clock company despite endless searching. I see a number of YouTube videos (they are terrible by the way) that demonstrate a chiming or a striking Juba clock but contain no description or history of the company in any of them. Who or what is Juba Schatz?

Juba movement showing pendulum and strike hammers
Juba movement showing pendulum, strike hammers and circular level compensation disk
Pendulum cradle and key holder
Pendulum cradle and key holder

The formal company name is  Jahresuhren-Fabrik August Schatz und Söhne gmbh. From my research I discovered that company was formed in 1881 and ceased production in 1981. It was started by August Schatz who was born in 1854 and died in 1927. Family members subsequently took over the company upon his death. The Schatz company specialized in anniversary and mariner clocks but made cottage clocks, bracket clocks, mantel clocks, kitchen clocks and watches as well. I can only assume that the Juba clock brand was a marketing arm of Schatz.

My search for more information about this maker goes on.