Reichenbach, Utzschneider und Liebherr
Lot No. 53
Lot No. 53
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A historically important, astronomical, half seconds observatory pendulum clock with modified gravity escapement after Thomas Mudge’s design, 8-day power reserve
Estimate  15,000 - 30,000 €

Price Realised  35,000 €
a lot of the last auction!
Product Details
Walnut, gilt brass, solid brass suspension with adjustment screws.
very good, restaurations, additions.
Silvered brass
very good, oxydized.
Rectangular brass movement, lever with two pivoted arms with counter weights, solid pillars, heavy gridiron half seconds pendulum, pendulum spring.
very good, restaurations, capable of running.
460 x 255 x 130 mm
Product Description

This remarkable timepiece is the earliest known half seconds clock made by Liebherr. It is possible that this is the clock that was delivered to the Royal University Observatory at Ofen (Blocksberg) in Budapest in 1808 – its fate had been hitherto unknown. It is similar in many parts to the clock from the Mathematisch Physikalischen Sammlung (mathematical physical collection) of the Bavarian academy of science, which is on exhibition in the German museum in Munich.
The clock is also one of the earliest models in Germany to boast a gravity escapement.
Lit.: Jürgen Ermert, Präzisionspendeluhren Vol. 3, page 363ff
Lit.: Scanned design drawing, Deutsches Museum in Munich
Joseph Liebherr (1767-1840) was the third son of Xaver Liebherr and was born in Immenstadt. He and his two younger brothers were trained by their father, who was a church clock maker and mechanic.
Joseph went to Munich in 1801 and met Georg Friedrich von Reichenbach; they founded a mathematical institute together in 1802 (from 1804 on the Mathematical Physical Institute Reichenbach Utzschneider and Liebherr). Liebherr left the institute in 1812 and started his own business; in 1815 he had his own pendulum clocks for sale, his main interest, however, lay with the construction of mathematical instruments. In 1816 the Mechanical Workshop Utzschneider, Liebherr et Werner was founded; associates were amongst others Joseph von Fraunhofer, von Reichenbach and Franz Joseph Mahler (who later married Liebherr’s daughter Josepha). In 1817 Liebherr became a member of the Polytechnic Association. After the business closed down Liebherr moved to Kempten in 1823 but returned to Munich in 1827 to teach mechanics. He became a professor at the Polytechnic School where he upgraded instruments, constructed models and designed astronomical clocks. Joseph Liebherr died on October 8, 1840 in Munich.
Source:,_Joseph, as of 04/12/2021.

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