Blackforest clocks – I must be a sucker for these things

Your first thought might be the Blackforest region of Germany and there is, indeed, a close relationship to that region to a small clock company that operated many years ago in Toronto, Ontario (Canada).

Blackforest is (or was) a well-known Canadian clock company. The Blackforest Clock Company of Toronto, Ontario was founded by Leopold and Sara Stossel in 1928. Both clock movements and complete clocks were imported from Germany and sold through department and jewelry stores across Canada.

Blackforest shelf clock from 1937, the year of the Royal Tour

Their son Ed Stossel started working part time with his parents’ company in the 1930s, and later became a full-time employee in the late 1940s.

My first Blackforest shelf clock

Some assembly work was carried out in their Wellington Street East factory (Toronto). Initially, imported mantel clock and grandfather clock movements were installed in cases made in Kitchener, but later the complete mantel clocks were imported from Germany.

It is a one train time-only movement with tiny wheels and a unique twisting pendulum rate adjustment

The arrangement with suppliers was interrupted by the Second World War, which also led to a name change to the Forestville Clock Company in 1941. During the war years this company imported its clock movements from England, the United States, and even France. However, beginning in the 1950s German factories again became the source of movements, with Mauthe being a major supplier. Sadly, the company did not survive much past the late 1970s.

All three clocks have the same movement

These are pretty cheap clocks, the most inexpensive in the Blackforest line. Many have not survived having been discarded when they stopped. To most, they are simply not worth fixing but I disagree, they are well-made and run perfectly when serviced.

These small shelf clocks share a time-only movement with other Blackforest mantel clock models. The movement has tiny wheels and pivots plus a unique twisting pendulum that is also a rate adjuster. The metal bezel, numerals and hands are carried over from model to model.

A high quality movement for such a cheap clock and the pivots are so tiny

The movement is as simple as it gets, easy to work on and very well designed.

I must be a sucker for these clocks as I now have three, however, only one is in working order, the one shown in the first photo. The mainspring is the weak point. The mainspring on the last one I purchased promptly snapped in two when I attempted to let it down.

The movement does not take up much space

The latest, at a very reasonable price, is in a light-coloured case and has been refinished.

On the shelf at an antique store
At home with replacement bezel and glass, hands cleaned and polished

The Blackforest name is typically found under the 12 but in this case it was removed when refinished. I like the look of it, anyway.

The broken mainspring has been taken out of the movement and a new one ordered

It has no mainspring but they are readily available through my go-to clock supplier in Canada. Of the three clocks, I would like to have two in working condition. The broken mainspring is the only thing keeping the second one from running but that will be rectified shortly.


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