French Waterwheel Automaton Clock

  • This rare French automaton clock displays a balanced design and extraordinary ingenuity
  • The timepiece takes the form of a waterwheel, which powers its three-train movement
  • The design celebrates the advances made in French engineering during the 19th century
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 31-1817

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This French industrial timepiece is captivating in both its mechanical complexity and intricate artistry. The clock is constructed to resemble a waterwheel, paying homage to the industrial advancements that swept through Europe during the 19th century. Its bronze turning paddle wheel powers the three-wheel movement with the help of diminutive balls. These balls are dropped onto the rotating wheel at a rate of one per minute by a bronze conveyor belt, which is driven by a barrel movement mounted in the base. After a ball completes its rotation, it is guided back to the conveyer through a series of three ramps and begins its journey to the top once again.

A very similar waterwheel clock is currently in the collection of the Musée de l'Horlogerie in Geneva, while another can be found in the collection of the Time Museum in Chicago. Others are illustrated on page 72 of Mystery, Novelty, and Fantasy Clocks, 1999, by D. Roberts and on page 92 of French Clock the World Over, 1981, by Tardy. 

Circa 1900

18 1/2" wide x 7 3/8" deep x 24 1/8" high
French Waterwheel Automaton Clock
Period: 20th Century
Origin: France
Type: Novelty
Depth: 7.38 Inches
Width: 18.5 Inches
Height: 24.13 Inches

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