Dorrin K Mace, Horologost

Dorrin K Mace, Horologost
The Clock Man in a pensive moment

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Danekar Clock Company


The manufacturer of the Daneker grandfather clocks was the Daneker Clock Company owned by the Millon-Rutherford company. Its founder was Rutherford Daneker, Sr. who had a vision of building the finest clocks in the US.  Mr. Daneker travelled to southern Pennsylvania to study the craft of clock making. There he learned about the work of Hepplewhite and Duncan Phyfe who accompanied him to Europe so he could speak to master clock watchers who learned their clock making skills from their ancestors. After acquiring the knowledge he needed, he returned to Fallston, Maryland, gathered up his sons and recruited some workers to start building clocks. This was in the late 40s; unfortunately the factory burned down in 1969.Topmost in Mr. Daneker’s mind was quality. He made sure that his grandfather clocks were made with the finest wood.

Text from a Daneker Catalog 

An echo. Reminiscent of another time. A time when quality and workmanship were a matter of individual pride. A time when only the best materials were chosen in fashioning of objects or grace or utility. A time when simple tools, able hands and patient hearts bent to the task... the craftsman's skilled judgment alone setting the moment of completion. Such dedication was commonplace in the past... is rarely found in the present.

In the hills of Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay, a group of artisans devoted to these very precepts produce the finest clock in America, the Daneker Clock. For generation, Daneker craftsmen have, with care and expertise, been creating clocks for those who elect to acquire furnishings of taste and character for their home. This is their story. A story of how each Daneker Clock is made to be worth treasuring. Made to become an important part of everyday life. Made to be a cherished family heirloom.
Rutherford Daneker, Sr. had a dream... to build the finest clock in America. His dream took him to the southern counties of Pennsylvania where he studied early American clock making techniques... led him to examine the work of Hepplewhite and Duncan Phyfe... journeyed with him to Europe where he questioned venerable masters of the craft who had learned clock making from fathers and grandfathers. Returning home to Fallston, Maryland he gather skilled woodworkers and with his sons, they began building clocks of matchless distinction.
No concession to quality was made in the selection of wood, movement or brass. Nothing was spared in the time or effort necessary to create a timepiece of exceptional grace and value. As the years went by, Daneker became quietly known as a name to trust, a name synonymous with fine clock making. Others joined in the dream, those who flet the Daneker Clock would someday be an authentic American tradition. We believe that day has come. The ideal of Rutherford Daneker truly captures the spirit of our history as a people and as a nation. This ideal is reflected in each Daneker Clock, earning it a respected place in the American family of today... and tomorrow.
Today's pressures and complexities cause many to surround themselves with personal objects that are by their very nature beautiful. Belongings that are individually made and genuine... in stark contrast with a society of plastic, steel and asphalt. There is also a yearning for thins of simple honest recalled from earlier, less complicated years. You might remember a certain clock. Perhaps it hung on the wall of the railway station stoically marking the moment you left on your first journey away from home. Or possibly your family was one of the fortunate few to have an original piece by Eli Terry, famed 18th century New England clockmaker. Or could it have been a grandfather clock that stood for years as a faithful sentinel in the front hall. Now you wish you had that clock; or one of its integrity... made as a pure expression of the cabinetmaker's art. Every exacting detail in joinery, sanding and finishing is heeded with care and precision at Daneker to assure the woodworking excellence and beauty you seek.
Each Daneker Clock is crafted in wood of matchless quality. Wood so fine it is of the same standard as that chosen for musical instruments. Wood selected for its unique characteristics in grain, hue and tenure. Mahogany, with its tight graining, steak patterns, sound resonance and inherent reddish tone so often seen in formal period furnishings. Cherry, with its flamboyant grain structure and natural variations disclosed in exquisite light and dark finishes. Walnut, the rare open grain hardwood with interesting shades of brown that cast a refined, subtle elegance. Maple, the timber of intrinsic strength and subdued graining that played such a vibrant role in the home of colonial America. Pine, with knots and swirls that impart an air of casual warmth... a mood of hearth and home. Daneker artisans treat each with utmost respect in the creation of a purposely limited collection of classically styled clocks. Each enriched by meticulously exacted routings, moldings, and carvings... all revealing the hand of a master craftsman. 
 When exceptional wood and impeccable detail are the standard, only a perfect finish is acceptable. The Daneker finish is exemplary among clockmakers and a source of justifiable price. Natural wood coloration and graining are given full dominion in special stains which only enhance, never obscure the particular beauty. Through the years, Daneker has developed an exclusive process that includes numerous hand steps and a good deal of extra effort and attention. Only the experienced eye knows how much sanding is needed, how much filling, wiping, glazing, sealing, waxing. Time is unimportant here. Only the finisher's seasoned appraisal measures the hours needed to achieve a finish worthy of the Daneker name. The result is a delicate patina that invites the touch... the appreciative glance... the close scrutiny. A patina that deepens in richness and charm when gentle hands lovingly polish its special luster. A patina in warm communion with glowing appointments of genuine solid brass.
Unquestionably the finest clock movements in the world are made in the Black Forest region of West Germany where for generations, clock making has been a cultural heritage. Only these fine movements are selected for use in Daneker clocks. Each imported movement is fitted by hand at Daneker to assure years of reliable timekeeping. Then just as in the case of a musical instrument, each is tuned by ear. Since every one is individually made, no two Daneker clocks sound alike. Each cadenced tick tock is unique... solemnly marking the moments while precise hands pass around the exclusively designed Daneker dial with its rich brass numerals. Echoing London's Big Ben, the reverberating Westminster chime sounds each quarter, half, three-quarter and full hour, or select a magnificent triple chime. There is also a moon dial in etched nickel or the colors of nature, quietly charting its monthly course. Every meticulously designed and engineered part, from face to pendulum, represents the ultimate in clock making. Daneker Clocks have earned their place as an American family heirloom.
The same attention to authenticity and enduring workmanship represented in clock by Daneker, has been employed in the creation of other timeless pieces for those who seek only the finest. The Daneker Spinning Wheel has been masterfully rendered as a functioning reproduction of the colonial flax wheel. More than just another item of nostalgia, the Daneker wheel is made to be used by patient, skillful hands and arrives complete with flax and a special booklet that helps teach this fine art. Daneker studied the long history of spinning flax into linen thread and research was done on the crafting techniques used by wheelwrights of old. Much time was spent seeking out the antique example that embodied the grace and dignity of this ageless art form. The result is a spinning wheel that, together with its companion stool, makes a statement of unusual significance. Warmly in keeping with today's respect for the honored task of creating with dedicated heart and hand that which is useful. Here marks the beginning of another Daneker tradition.....

The 1969 factory fire:
On Thursday, November 27, 1969, the main assembly building of the Millon-Daneker Company in Fallston, where grandfather clocks were made for the Daneker Company, was completely destroyed by fire. The blaze, discovered at 3:30 a.m., did an several thousands of dollars worth of damage to approximately 700 grandfather clocks. The building fire was fueled by gas lines and plywood stored in the building. Three additional buildings were saved during this multi-alarm fire. Fire trucks returning to the scene with water pumped from the Maryland Water Works Company on Lake Fanny Hill, were faced with an additional hazard - icing along the road from spilled water



12 comments:

  1. Thank you very much for writing this article. I am anxious to read your other blogs. I am a fairly new clockmaker working at a clock store and repair shop in Tulsa, OK. I am really hungry for this type of information. I want to be able to identify and date clocks that I work on for my customers. Do you know when Daneker started and stoped making clocks? You seem to imply from late 1940's until 1969. Did the fire end the company?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I live in Edmond Ok..I wrote the article about the clock "Terry'", my parents purchased in Redwood City Ca... in the 1950's ...Maybe you can help me since we live so close..

      Delete
    2. My grandfather was a craftsman for Danaker Clocks and retired from there when the business shut down. Daneker is a famous clock maker in Harford County Maryland. The old company sat off old Rt1 between Falston and Bel Air, Md. Yes Danaker did catch fire and a majority of it was lost. Mr Danaker let the employees take what ever was left at no charge. Mr Danaker, per my grandfather told me was a great boss. My family owns several of these clocks, including one of the last clocks to be made in 1969. It was actually made by him, it is not the giant size many are use to. Danaker was famous for making what now would be a midsize clock. My grandfather was one of the original workers and stayed with the Danaker's until the end. To this date his last clock, sits at my uncles and works perfect, being it was from 1969. I have one of the last things ever made at the Danaker Clock Works, it was a slow period, and when not busy Mr Danaker would let the craftsmen work on other projects to keep their skills in tact. My dresser is one of the last pieces ever to come out of Daneker. My grandfather was making it for me, as my baby gift to my mom. It sits in my son's room now, still as new condition. It has traveled the world and today not one thing is wrong with it. The craftsmen at Danaker are and were the best at their trades. I currently live in Edmond, Oklahoma. If anyone would like information about Danaker or the craftsmen, or any other worthy stories, don't hesitate. I'm very proud of his work.

      Delete
  2. Even though remnents of case parts remained, the fire caused the ceasation of production by Deneker. Traditionally not highly valued by collectors, the Deneker clocks have wonderful case work and used high quality German movements with a wonderful sound. I always enjoy working on them and hearing them call the melody.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Daneker is a highly valued clock, especially along the Sesquahanna River area. That would be Harford and Cecil counties. The clocks that you can get go for a premium price, because it is a part of Bel Air and Falston, Maryland's heritage! My grandfather restored a lot of the clocks that partially survived the fire with parts he had sifting through the debris. Trust me you let people up there know you have a original Danaker, you'll drive home a happier person! Even parts go for a fortune now. While there are no longer any Danaker craftsmen alive, parts can be found. I remember as a kid my grandfathers basement was full of them. He said hold on to these, one day they'll be worth a fortune. now those parts sit in my Uncles basement in the same boxes and crates! so yes there are a lot of collectors out there for Danaker Clocks!

      Delete
  3. As I read this blog my mother's old Daneker is chiming away in the background. 43 years I have listened to her chime and she never misses a beat. This mantle clock is older than I am and was purchased before I ever came around. I'd feel like something was missing if I didn't hear those tones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was browsing looking "hopefully" for parts to a Daneker "Terry" Mantle clock..My parents in Redwood City ,Ca bought theirs in th 1950'.My sister over wound it years ago.The place in San Carlos, Ca wayyyyy back wanted $500
      I had her ship it to me this May and it arrived without the Pendulum..I do miss the mellow chimes of years ago..Phil

      Delete
  4. Found the Pendulum up in the mechanism..Must have tiled upside down..Worksgreta

    ReplyDelete
  5. We have a Daneker grandmother "Senator", a granddaughter "York County", and banjo clock in our collection at this time. The woodwork/finish on these clocks is exceptional and the chimes sound great.
    We have just purchased a Daneker "Terry" pillar & Scroll mantle clock from ebay that has not arrived yet, but we feel certain that it will reflect the same great quality as the ones we already have in our home.
    Ron & Sue

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have a Daneker grandfather clock that has - 1986 Rich Relic #40 on the side. The front face has Danekar and at the bottom in small letters is western Germany. The clock stands over 6 feet tall and appears to be cherry. The chimes sound beautiful and amazing. I cannot find out much about this clock though. Do you have any information?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Daneker floor solid maple grandmothers clock purchased in 1963 spring wound movement all parts solid brass Westminster chimes created by Million Rutherford com;

    ReplyDelete