Mantel clock
Mantel clock

This fairly non-descript mantel clock is a puzzler. It has a nicely constructed case with curved wood relief features and a westminster chime, hence the three winding arbors. It is in very good condition and required a simple de-greasing of the cabinet to bring it back to it’s former glory.

The clock was presumably made after the war years, perhaps the late 1940s and has a pendulum movement. Most mantel clocks beginning in the 1950s had balance wheel escapements so I am putting this in the late 1940s perhaps even the early 1950s. This particular mantel clock has a French Girod westminster chime movement.

Girod was a clock maker based in the Morbier-Jura region of France and produced clocks from the 1930’s into the 1960’s. The firm of Girod was founded in 1865 by brothers Leon and Auguste Girod. The clocks were made almost exclusively in the Art Deco style. This clock has Art Deco features particularly the formation of the dial numerals but I would not say it was sold as a Girod clock.

RS Girod mantel clock (8)
Dial face

Girod clocks (both mantel and tall case) often came with Westminster chimes, and often a second chime named Cloche de Jura, using the same notes as the Westminster chime. A handful of clocks were built with Ave Maria de Lourdes, and  St. Etienne chimes. This clock is westminster chime only; no double chime feature unfortunately. Girod cases usually featured carved walnut appliques and were very ornate, almost garish. Mine is very plain and as I said non-descript.

So, what is it? Well, from my research I have discovered that despite the fact that the clock movement is stamped Girod, it might be a German Kienzle movement. Girod movements had the distinctive feature of split plates, this one has solid one-piece plates. Again my research reveals that as a result of the post-war German reparation effort, Kienzle clock movements were brought from Germany into the Girod factory in France, assembled and stamped as a Girod movements for, it is my guess, export to Canada and other countries.

Another clue. The case has a stamp on the back. It is a little faded but it says, “Quality Cabinet Made in Canada”. There are three letters in the middle that I cannot make out. PHS or FHS perhaps?

RS Girod mantel clock (11)
Upside down stamp on back

There is no trademark on the dial face which would normally indicate the retail seller or manufacturer but my guess is that it was likely sold as a Forestville mantle clock (the Forestville Clock Company was based in Toronto). The logo (??) punched into the hour hand makes me wonder though.

Look at the key. Why two wrench punch-outs and a screw driver end?

RS Girod mantel clock (1)
Key with screwdriver and wrench punch-outs
RS Girod mantel clock (4)
Girod movement showing chime rods and unusual pendulum

The above shot shows the movement. It has five strike hammers, 4 of which carry the Westminster chime and three hammers for the on-the-hour strike. The strike feature is quite loud. The rods appear to be differing lengths of copper and the pendulum has a relief of the Eiffel Tower that you can just make out. There is also a lever on the upper front of the movement which serves as a repeater. The movement appears to be very sturdily built and reflects German (??) quality.

Again my best guess is the Forestville Clock Company of Toronto but if you have other information or if you know more about the history of Girod clocks please drop a line.

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