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tline3open  perpetual calendar -- German?

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Author Topic:   perpetual calendar -- German?
wev
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Posts: 4046
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 08-17-2007 03:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can anyone hazard a translation? The piece is 1 11/16" dia and made of three silver disks; the outer pair have remains of gilding. What sort of era?

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vathek

Posts: 961
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 08-17-2007 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
lanquage is German, could be late 18th to mid 19c?

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tmockait

Posts: 963
Registered: Jul 2004

iconnumber posted 08-17-2007 04:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ok, here it is.

Top window:

Monat Mai 31 das Jahr
(Month of the year, May 31)

Sonnen II lauf
("exposure to sunlight" II "run" - I am stumped here)

Tag 16 lang
(length of day, 16 hours)

Symbol for sun 4 aufgang
(sunrise 4 am)

Bottom window:

reading left to right with the calendar reversed (window at top)

Nacht 8 lang
(length of night 8 hours)

untergang 8 sun symbol
(hour of sunset 8 pm)

I cannot make out the words around the outside of the calendar. They are in the classical German script known as Schrift used until the middle of the 19th century and revived briefly by the Nazis as a symbol of cultural imperialism. Can you copy them out and post? Here is a link to the Schrift alphabet. donicht.de/sutterlin.htm [link gone from the Internet]

By the way, the length of day suggests a southerly location - Bavaria or Austria.

Please tell us more about this piece.

Tom

PS I had fun with this!

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wev
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iconnumber posted 08-17-2007 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I actually puzzled out the large stuff -- Immovable Feasts -- which makes the top bit on the inner disk the Saint or whatever for that date.

Cool and thanks

I will get a snap of the flip side (battery charging) in a bit.

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wev
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iconnumber posted 08-17-2007 05:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here's the other side

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tmockait

Posts: 963
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iconnumber posted 08-17-2007 05:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
May 31 is the immovable feast of the visitation of Mary, Mother of Jesus, so that would make sense. I can make out only the word "erfind" to learn or find out. The holyday commemorates Mary's visit to her cousing Elizabeth who is pregnant with John the Baptist. Elizabeth realizes or discovers that Mary is carrying the savior.

This seems to be a Catholic Calendar which again suggest Bavaria or Austria.

Can you say more about where you got this and whether it has marks, etc.

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tmockait

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iconnumber posted 08-17-2007 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scratch the Southern Germany conclusion. The area of Europe that has 16 hours of daylight on May 31 is about 52-53% north latitude, roughly that of Berlin. Was it made there? Lutherans also had a feast calendar that included May 31.

The words listed to the right on the obverse are the days of the week in German.

[This message has been edited by tmockait (edited 08-17-2007).]

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wev
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iconnumber posted 08-17-2007 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is not much to tell, I'm afraid. The piece belongs to a friend of mine who collects miniature books (he's quite looney about them, unlike us dignified silverphiles. . . ). He found it in London years ago and was told it was probably German and possibly mid 18th century. I have found nothing resembling a mark or engraved name. It appears a better quality item, given the gilding and spritely engraving.

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wev
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iconnumber posted 08-17-2007 06:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the mysterious line

Sonnen II lauf

the middle bit are astrological symbols, so it may mean the sign the sun rises in?

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tmockait

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iconnumber posted 08-17-2007 06:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes! II is the symbol for Gemini in which the sun is located from May 22 to June 21. So "Sonnen II lauf" = "the sun is in the constellation Gemini," which corresponds to the May 31 date on the calendar.

The 18th century makes sense as does a Prussian origin for the piece (Potsdam Berlin), at least in terms of historical context. The enlightenment was in full swing and its thinkers were enthralled with clocks and instruments. Dieism (a kind of philosphical religion) held that God was the clockmaker to set the marvelous machine of the universe in motion. Frederick the Great of Prussia considered himself an enlgihtened despot steeped in the learning of the day.

Hopefully, Blackstone will be able to add something about style, etc. to narrow down date and provinence.

Thanks for an enjoyable hour or so of detective work and a break writing the book I have to finish by fall.

Tom

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blakstone

Posts: 493
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iconnumber posted 08-17-2007 10:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for blakstone     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I believe the generic term for this type of device is a volvelle (which includes any calculating device made of layered rotating wheels), and stylistically I'd say third quarter 18th century; compare with this circa 1765 paper version. As for where, barring any marks, Berlin is as good a guess as any, but I wouldn't rule out former Prussian territories that are now part of Poland: Posen, for instance.

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tmockait

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iconnumber posted 08-19-2007 04:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tmockait     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Devices such as this seem to be an exercise to demonstrate technical virtuosity and love of mechanical things. It is hard to see a practical use for such a calendar except sheer enjoyment of its workings.

Tom

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