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The Funkeruhr and timekeeping of communication troops

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    The Funkeruhr and timekeeping of communication troops

    Correct timekeeping is an essential part of smooth communication. Timing of transmissions, identification of messages by time stamping, switching of cyphers all depended on proper synchronization of communication stations.

    In 1934 the Reichheer contracted Junghans based in Schramberg to produce the first duty clocks for use in radio stations, they are known as “Betreibsuhren”, “Stationsuhren” or by current collectors as “Funkeruhren”. As the army grew, around 1937 two other manufacturers became involved in the production of Funkeruhren: Kienzle and Tobias Beaurle & Soehne, both based in Schwenningen. Funkeruhren were produced for the Heer, Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine. This mix of clients and manufacturers led to the existence of many different variations of the Funkeruhr.

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01276.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01276.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Basic description of the Funkeruhr

    The Funkeruhr is a mechanical timepiece with a 8 day winding mechanism. The clock has a 6 cm diameter face with centrally placed hour and minute hand. A separate second hand is placed at the 6 o’clock position, one centimeter from the centre. The hours are marked in Arabic numerals. The clock is placed in a hinged housing which in turn is screwed into a wooden base measuring 105 x 40 x 130 mm. The clock can be swung out of the housing, revealing the back of the clock giving access to the winding and time adjustment wheels and in some cases the speed adjustment. The inside of the housing usually contains maker marks, ownership and serial number of the clock. The wooden base has two metal strips screwed to the underside which can be swung out to increase the stability of the clock. A round metal plate is screwed to the back of the base which allows the clock to be hung on a screw on a wall. On early clocks the wooden housing was lacquered in natural colour, at the outbreak of war the base was often painted grey.

    Variations by Junghans

    Junghans was the earliest manufacturer of the Funkeruhr and produced a number of variations from 1934 until the end of the war. Junghans produced for the Heer, Luftwaffe and Kreigsmarine. Early clocks used chromed or nickel plated housing and metal components while on later clocks the metal was painted grey. Junghans clocks do not have an accessible speed adjustment, the clock has to be removed from it’s housing if the speed needs to be adjusted.

    The first Junghans example is a 1936 example made for the Luftwaffe. On the face it is marked “Junghans” as well as “Fl 25591”. The rim of the clock, as well as the metal components on the base are chromed.

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    The inside of the housing is marked with “Eigentum der Luftwaffe”, the Junghans logo and “1936”, “FL 25591” and the serial number 77.

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    The housing of the movement is made of more substantially made then on later clocks. The wooden base is lacquered natural wood.

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    The second Junghans example is a 1939 example made for the Heer. The highly polished chrome finish of the metal components has given way to a matt finish. The housing of the movement has become less substantial. The face of the clock is still signed “Junghans”, but this being a Heer clock, the FL number has been omitted. In all other aspects the face is the same as the earlier example.

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    The inside of the housing is marked with “Heereseigentum”, 1939, the Junghans logo and the serial number “1563”.

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01195.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01195.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    The wooden base is lacquered natural wood, the bottom is marked with a Waffenambt stamp.

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01197.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01197.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    The third Junghans example is a mid war example made for the Luftwaffe. The face and the hands of the clock have become less ornate and clearer. The Arabic numbers are slightly smaller than on earlier clocks. The housing of the movement is made of a inferior alloy with the back of the housing being made out of Bakelite. The rim of the housing is now painted grey.

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    The inside of the housing is marked “Eigentum der Luftwaffe”, “Betriebsuhr bauart Junghans”, “Geraet nr 127 – 558A”, “Werk nr 51258” (serial number), “Anforderzahl FL 25591” and “Herst. Gebr. Junghans Schramberg”. On top of all this a BAL stamp has been placed.

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01204.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01204.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    The wooden base and all metal components have been spayed Luftwaffe grey.

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01205.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01205.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Variations by Kienzle

    Kienzle seems to have exclusively produced clocks for the Heer. The face of this late war example follows the design of the late war Junghans. The rim of the movement housing and the back of the housing are made of a zinc alloy. The rim seems to have been covered in clear lacquer making it look slightly yellowish.

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01211.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01211.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    The movement of the Kienzle clocks is more substantial than contemporary Junghans clocks. The speed adjustment is accessible on the side of the movement housing near the swivel. This inner housing is marked on the ring with “Heereseigentum”, “Kienzle”, serial number “529” and the year “1944”.

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    The housing is largely identical to the Junghans examples, painted grey (Heer clocks had a slightly more green grey colour than the Luftwaffe examples). The metal parts are painted black. The bottom of the base is marked with a Waffenambt stamp.

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    Variations Tobias Baeurle & Soehne

    Tobias Baeurle & Soehne (TBS) is by far the rarest of the three manufacturers and the construction of the movement and the housing differs significantly from the other two manufacturers. Interestingly, TBS gained the contract for manufacturing station clocks for the Bundeswehr after the war, so caution is required by the collector when purchasing a TBS Funkeruhr.

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01208.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01208.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    The TBS example described here is from 1940. The numberals on the face are a squarer font, together with the substantial hands give the TBS a distinctive, chunky look. (In practice this makes the TBS the easiest to read type from a distance). The movement housing is made from pressed sheet metal, painted black. The movement is connected to a bakelite ring (rather than a cup shaped housing as with the other manufacturers) screwed to the wooden base. Since there is no inner housing, the manufacturing logo, year “1940” and serial number “134” are marked on the winding wheel. The bakelite ring is marked with “Heereseigentum” and “T.B.&S”.

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01210.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01210.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    All metal parts of are painted gloss black. The housing is lacquered in natural wood. The housing differs from that of other manufacturers in that a recess has been carved on the left side to enable the clock to swing open. This was necessitated due to the TBS stamped housing to be slightly larger in diameter.

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01209.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01209.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Other timepieces used by communication troops

    Other timepieces, particularly the “Dienstuhr” were also used by the communication troops. The Dienstuhr, available as pocket- or wrist watch would be issued to e.g. Tornister Funktrupps. Some early receivers like the EP 2 had a specific hook and padded backing to mount a Dienstuhr. This type of mounting is not widespread and is not seen on later radios:

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01191.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01191.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Funkeruhr accessories

    The Funkeruhr, being a relatively delicate piece of equipment, had to be handled with care during transport and use. Two types of leather carrying cases were manufactured to transport the Funkeruhr. The first type was purely a protective casing, while the second type was fitted with a loop and ring so that it could be worn on the belt. Both types have a single closing strap on the side. The first type has a felt padding to on the base, firmly holding the clock in place while in the closed container. In the second type, the housing is protected by a thin layer of felt glued to the inside of the container.

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01225.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01225.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01226.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01226.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01216.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01216.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    A 1937 example of the first type case is marked with “Goettcher & Renner”, “Nuernberg – O.”, “1937 and Waffenambt stamp. A slightly later example is marked “dla”, “40” and a Waffenambt stamp. The second type example is marked “Karl F. Hartmann”, “Berlin” without date or Waffenambt marking (most likely this was a Luftwaffe example).

    Some larger radio installations, such as the FU 9 SE 5 (Torn. E and 5 W.S.) would transport the clock in a special slot in the Zubehoer box Fu 21. The clock would slide into a felt covered slot, firmly held in place by the closed lid of the box:

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01190.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01190.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    In vehicles, the clock was held in place by a special mounting. The mounting could be screwed to the wall or radio frame, a screwed clamp could be tightened to hold the clock securely in the mounting. It is shaped so that the clock can be opened without the need to remove the clock from the vehicle mount:

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01192.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01192.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01189.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01189.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    Synchronisation of clocks

    Radio played a role in the synchronization of clocks on different locations. The Kriegsmarine was transmitting a specific timing pulses on set frequencies at 01:00 and 13:00 Middle European Time. Ships clocks, but also Funkeruhren of all stations listening in could be synchronized to this signal.

    <a href="http://s672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/?action=view&current=DSC01227.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i672.photobucket.com/albums/vv86/Funksammler/DSC01227.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    As an alternative, the time could be synchronised through a manual signal. The timer would start transmitting at 09:24 and would call all stations with “cq cq cq” followed by “bt” (separation sign), “qtr 0925” and “eb” (waiting sign). At exactly 0925 he would signal “bt” followed by “sk” (close transmission).



    (All pictures and text copyright Funksammler)

    Great thread! I've never seen many of these accessories or mounts for the Service Clocks, or realized how important they were considered.
    I've got a 1940 dated Heereseigentum example by Köhler & Co. How does that company rate on the rarity scale?
    Festina lente!



      Thanks for your reply.

      I guess at the start of the war, the great expansion of the armed forced led to a great demand of station clocks, so it is possible that a number of smaller manufacturers were contracted to produce the clocks. I haven't seen this manufacturer before, so it should be considered to be a rare example. It would be interesting to find out if they used their own unique movement or if they produced in license of the big two producers.

      would it be possible to post some pictures of your variation?




        Kienzle station clock

        Nice thread!

        here is mine,..




          Here's my Köhler :
          Attached Files
          Festina lente!


            Attached Files
            Festina lente!


              Attached Files
              Festina lente!


                Attached Files
                Festina lente!


                  Attached Files
                  Festina lente!


                    Attached Files
                    Festina lente!


                      Wow what a great thread. I didn't realize there were so many different variants.

                      I have been trying to get one for some time now. If anyone has an extra one that they would be inclined to part with, I would be very interested.



                        Thanks Erich and Rob for posting your Funkeruhren!

                        The Koehler & Co is indeed a separate design and in beautiful condition. The serial number suggests that there should have been at least several thousands made, but as I said before, I have not come across this clock before.

                        The mid war Kienzle is also a beauty, the biggest difference with my later clock being the face, which appears very similar to the early TBS clocks.

                        As for finding Funkeruhren, they do come up regularly on Ebay. As with all militaria, there is the good, the bad and the ugly, so it is worth waiting for a good one. The late war Kienzle and Junghans clocks are the most numerous. Over the years the paint and the housing often got damaged, so look out for repairs and resprays. Spares are difficult to find, so at least make sure you buy a clock that runs, even if not accurately. Kienzle clocks are relatively easy to clean, service and to adjust, for the Junghans clocks the front bezel has to be remove to get to the movement and there is a risk of breaking this.




                          Late-war clock dated 1944
                          Attached Files


                            Reverse of 1944 clock
                            Attached Files


                              1944 Clock opened
                              Attached Files


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