::           Opening The Town Hall Tower 17.11.2012          

Tick-tock, tick-tock


Source: Museum of Old Commerce.

Minute hands of the clock preserved in the  Museum of Old Commerce after the tower collapsed in  1967.


An irreplaceable and immensely significant element of the Town Hall Tower to the town's community was definitely a clock.

The significance of Świdnica, the wealth of its residents and their ambitions are confirmed by the fact that the information on the first clock in Lower Silesia installed on the tower in Wrocław dates back to 1367 and it was as early as before 1393 that the clock was certainly installed in Świdnica. An annalistic note from this year referring to the fire of the Town Hall Tower concerns the fact that a clock „nobody in the whole country owned” was burnt down as well. Swelbel, builder of the above-mentioned clock of Wrocław, created this clock. A new clock was placed on the tower not before 1450 and did not survive the fire that broke out in 1528.

The next clock was installed in 1555. All we know about it is that it had 24-hour dial and one hand which measured time 24 hours everyday, beginning from 6 p.m. If you uncritically believe some iconographic presentations of the tower, the first clocks were placed not on octogon but slightly below - on the square part of the tower. In 1593 dials of clocks and timers were made more comfortable – 12-hour dials were applied. As Heinrich Schubert writes in his work dedicated to Świdnica on the 14th October 1593 for the first time the clock stroke „1 p.m instead of 7 p.m.”

After the fire that broke out in 1716 the next timer was installed on the tower in 1717 by Andreas Faulhaber the clockmaker from Kłodzko. The clock was repaired in 1765 by Johann Andreas Krause, the clockmaker from Świdnica, after destructions from the period of the Seven Years' War. Rectangular wooden dials with Arabic numerals and stylised sun dial survived until the tower collapsed in 1967. Until today in the Museum of Old Commerce in Świdnica not many elements of the town hall clock survived. These are two steel minute hands their lengths being 130 cm gilded and an hour hand its length being approximately 120 cm. All hands have steel arms which were initially finished with gilded copper plate. Back ends of clock hands were embellished with anthropomorphic half-moons made of gilded copper plate. They are precisely maintained on the two minute hands and the hour hand was maintained in the form of steel arm on which small fragments of gilded ends can be seen.

Elements of dial sunbeam the length of which was initially approximately 33 cm as well as parts of some numerals survived as well.

On the basis of the elements of clock dial, photographs of the tower as well as drawing stocktaking of 1955 and reconstruction draft of 1988 preserved attempts were made to reconstruct the design and size of the dial of the town hall clock. Its main element – a square field - had a side its length being 2,5 m. The top with palmette – its height being approximately 60 cm , profiled strip – its width being approximately 20 cm. Rings: smaller – its diameter being 135 cm and bigger – its diameter being 222 cm.


Source: Henrich Schubert „Szkice z historii miasta Świdnicy”, Dobiesław Karst „Zegar wieży ratuszowej” – paper to be presented on the conference on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the collapse of the Town Hall Tower.

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