Kroeber Clock History
The seeds of antique Kroeber Clocks started off around 1860 in New York when Florenz Friedrick Martin Kroeber started work for small clock makers called “Owen & Clark” in the city. When he started there he had no idea where his new career would ultimately go, but as he gained an interest in horology his knowledge grew to a point where he wanted more involvement in the company.
It was fortuitous that Kroeber started when he did, for later the next year in 1861, the partnership broke down and the company was taken over by George B. Owen, one of the original partners. Kroeber continued working for Owen for the next three years and when Owen decided to accept a position working for the Gilbert Clock Company, Kroeber seized his chance to take full control of the company.
From his takeover in 1864 to 1868 Kroeber continued running the business with little expansion until he met with a cast metal producer, Nicholas Mueller. Kroeber could see that Mueller would be an important asset for making antique Kroeber Clocks, so a partnership was formed.
Unfortunately the partnership wasn’t destined to last, and Kroeber once again began looking for other partners in 1869. His search didn’t turn up any suitable candidates, so Kroeber began work on designing his own clock cases and was successful in striking a deal with a local clock movement maker to supply him with suitable movements.
The manufacture of antique Kroeber Clocks was a success, and for the next twenty plus years Kroeber went from strength to strength, in the process opening another retail outlet in Manhattan. Towards the end of the 1880s, Kroeber had a large inventory of antique Kroeber clocks for sale and in 1887 the company was finally incorporated as the F. Kroeber Clock Company.
As with most clock manufacturers of the time, Kroeber was severely affected by the economic downturn that affected the country starting in 1893. In fact, it was far more than a downturn, this would turn out to be the worst depression the US would see in its history; Kroeber would struggle to survive.
In 1895 the Manhattan shop was shut down and the business slowly succumbed to the inevitable. By 1899 the company could survive no longer and was placed into receivership. Kroeber however, would continue his clock making but on a much smaller scale. But even this venture would eventually fail, forcing Florenz Kroeber into personal bankruptcy.
Kroeber was forced to go back to work as an employee, and over the next few years of his life he worked for numerous New York horologists who had managed to survive the downturn. Kroeber passed away in 1911, leaving his legacy of antique Kroeber Clocks for us all to collect and treasure for the future.