A Russian Mennonite wall clock is a "large, long pendulum wall clock driven by weights, all metal and without any wooden cabinet and were intended for the farm household of the 19th Century." (Mennonite Mirror, Jan. 1984, p. 5) These clocks were sought after in the Mennonite villages of Ukraine and were essential in every Mennonite home to maintain the order of daily living. These clocks had a reputation for being well make and were considered a status symbol.
Tradition had it when a couple got married, the groom received a clock from his parents. The young couple's initials and the year were painted on the face of the clock.
In 1890 a common laborer had to work approximately two months to earn the price of one clock. Those who could not afford a clock were looked down upon as poor and "not properly established".
The clock with its bulky pendulum and heavy brass weight was packed up and taken along on the immigration journey. Some were packed into trunks or baskets and some were wrapped in a blanket and hand carried on the long trip across the ocean to their new homes on the prairie.
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Mennonite Clocks Manufactured in Russia and Prussia
There were MANY different Mennonite Clock makers in Russia and Prussia. The most common name associated with Mennonite Clocks is Kroeger, however there were many other manufactures; probably many that we do not know of at this time. Some of the other Mennonite Clock makers that are well known are Hildebrand, Mandtler, Hamm and Lepp.
The round face clock style we usually attribute to before 1840. After that date most used the more familiar square face with the arch at the top.
Mennonite Clocks fall into several different categories: one handed clocks; two handed clocks; rope driven clocks; chain drive clocks; time only clocks; time and strike clocks; and the most complex clock the time, strike, calendar (giving the number date on the calendar), and alarm clock.