Johann Philipp Treffler, Augusta, 640 mm, circa 1670
An important Augsburg night clock
Upright rectangular case, polished wood. Base with moulded cornice; projecting mid-section flanked by two spiral-twist columns with bases and gilt capitals, magnificent open pediment with protruding cornice. The middle part of the case has a door with a polychrome dial that shows Hercules wearing his lion pelt and supporting the celestial globe, before an Italian landscape. Above Hercules, a segmental arch is cut out, with carved Roman numerals I to III above it. Inside the arch is a disc with a polychrome border, showing Chronos, god of time, with his scythe and the hourglass; also two circular openings for digital wandering hours. Fine gut/fuse movement with signature, stepped pillars, signed verge escapement with pendulum.
Johann Philipp Treffler arrived at the court of Ferdinand II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, in Florence around 1653/55. At court he worked with Vincenzo Viviani, a pupil of Galilei; this means that he played an important role in the invention of the pendulum, although we have no exact details on his contribution yet. It is alleged that he built pendulum clocks as early as 1656. In 1664 Treffler returned to Augsburg and settled down in marriage. He maintained a steady correspondence with the court in Florence and supplied it with various clocks and measuring instruments. Treffler was particularly successful with his night clocks, which he built after the design by the Campani brothers and which did not only show the time but also provided light in the dark.
J.P. Treffler‘s biggest claim to fame lies in the assumption that he was the man who first fitted Galileo Galilei‘s controversial clock with a pendulum and also the first watchmaker in Florence to build a complete pendulum clock, even before it was developed by Ch. Huygens.
Source: Johann Philipp Treffler Clockmaker of Augsburg, by Silvio Bedini, director of the Smithonian Institute in Washington, Bulletin of the National Association of Watch and Clock collectors, 1957.