Dating a Hamburg Amerikanische Uhrenfabrik (HAU) shelf clock

During the Christmas season, we split our time between Calgary, Alberta, and Ottawa, Ontario to see our 2 daughters. While in Calgary my wife spotted an interesting item on an Ottawa Facebook Marketplace, an English time and strike clock.

HAU shelf clock

She showed me the photo and I said, “that does not look like any English clock I am familiar with. The style is definitely German”. There is a commemorative plaque on the front base section which references an English church so, I am assuming the seller thought it was English.

When we picked it up from his home outside Ottawa I was surprised to learn that the seller is a clock collector and had no idea the clock he was selling was German. Occasionally I sell clocks to manage my collection and when advertising one for sale I make it a point to know the maker.

But, no matter, it was in very good condition and in working order.

The movement showing the single strike rod and pendulum bob

The maker is HAU or HAC. The familiar cross arrows trademark of the maker is stamped on the movement, in the middle of the backplate.

HAC was formed in Germany in 1873 by Paul Landenberger and Phillipp Lang and was originally called Landenberger & Lang Uhrenfabrik. The company changed its name to Hamburg Amerikanische Uhrenfabrik (HAU)/Hamburg American Clock Company (HAC) in 1883. The famous crossed-arrows

Crossed arrows trademark

became their trademark in 1892. In 1926 the company went into a cooperative with Junghans and in 1930 they finally merged with Junghans.

The date on the plaque says 1926. However, HAC/HAU clocks are difficult to date prior to Junghans acquisition of HAC/HAU in 1930. Once Junghans and HAC began their collaboration in 1926 some of the movements were date coded.

Plaques are a good but not foolproof method of dating a clock. A clock purchased as a gift in 1926 could very well have been sitting on the retailer’s shelf for two or more years.

Catalogs are another good but hardly foolproof method of dating a clock. A catalog confirms that a model was made in a particular year, but that same model was probably offered 5 years +/- from the year of the catalog.

I will probably not determine a more reliable date for my new clock than circa 1926. The movement, compared to an earlier model (below), also has many cutouts and additional holes that indicate that it was a late production model and confirms that is closer to the 1926 date.

HAC clock movement
Solid plates of an early HAC clock movement CA. 1895

The clock runs for a while and stops. It is in need of a service but I expected to clean it as many of these old clocks have rarely seen the inside of a clockmakers’ shop.


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