F. Kroeber China No. 16 Mantel Clock

I became aware of the F. Kroeber Clock Company at age 14, when my parents gave me a Kroeber walnut kitchen clock for Christmas. Florence Kroeber ran an independent clock company in New York in the second half of the 19th century. See Kroeber History for an outline of his companies. Kroeber clocks have movements made by Seth Thomas, Ingraham, Ansonia, and other companies. The book, “Kroeber Clocks: American and Imported”, by Tran Duy Ly, gives detailed history and photos of hundreds of clocks in its 584 pages.

I just repaired a Kroeber “China No. 16” for a customer. This clock is 10 11/16 inches tall, 9 7/16 inches wide, and 5 1/4 inches deep. The celluloid dial has a 4 1/8 inch diameter time track (outside diameter) and a 2 1/16 inch long minute hand. The blue Dutch design shows a windmill, the dike, and boats on the water. It was made around 1895 – 1900.

Reading the book, “Kroeber Clocks: American and Foreign”, I learned that Seth Thomas designed their No. 89 movement especially for Kroeber. Later, the No. 89 became popular in Seth Thomas mantel clocks, notably in the “Adamantine” mantel clocks starting ca. 1901, and in tambour mantel clocks..

This “China No. 16” clock has a Seth Thomas No. 89 movement with a neat feature of a “captive” pendulum, that is not removable and stays on even when moving the clock. It has loops above and below the bob running over guide rails to constrain the pendulum.


Otto Bartel, who worked for Kroeber, patented this captive pendulum:

The movement mounts to the case with a metal ring and a laminated wood board. Three prongs in the metal ring protrude into notches in the case, to prevent rotation. Three wood screws secure the metal ring, the china case, and the wooden board in a “sandwich”. Four short wood screws fasten the movement to the board.

The clock strikes the hour and half-hour on a heavy flat wire gong (cathedral gong).

See more photos.

Repair job 7390. I polished the pivots, installed 15 bushings, and reshaped the time mainwheel arbor hook to grip the inner end of the mainspring more reliably. The movement is in excellent condition with no wear to the mainwheel teeth. Unfortunately, the regulator arbor that goes to the dial is missing. I glued the mounting board where the layers were separating, and coated its screw holes with glue.

Share this post:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.