Erhard Liechti

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Iron console clock from 1572 (Kellenberger clock collection, Winterthur Trade Museum)
Iron console clock from 1580, dial renovated in 1683 (Kellenberger Clock Collection, Winterthur Trade Museum)
Iron console clock from 1584 (German Clock Museum Furtwangen)

Erhard Liechti (* around 1530 in Winterthur ; † December 31, 1591 there ) was a Swiss watchmaker .


Liechti was the second son of Laurentius I (1489–1545), the locksmith, watchmaker and progenitor of the Winterthur watchmaking dynasty Liechti. He probably completed his apprenticeship as a watchmaker in Germany. After working as a journeyman, he returned to Winterthur and set up a watchmaker's workshop in the lower suburb for the production of clocks. While his father only manufactured tower clocks and his brother Laurentius II worked as a locksmith, only five orders for tower clocks are known from him. Liechti was elected to the Grand Council in 1565 and to the Small Council of his hometown in 1588. He achieved considerable prosperity and was able to acquire two properties in Winterthur. His sons Ulrich (1560–1627) and Andreas I (1562–1621) continued his handicraft work. The family tradition of the Liechti watchmaking family continued into the 19th century.


Liechti improved the system since the beginning of the 15th century popular Gothic Eisenräderuhr , based on the principle of balance wheel , spindle turn and Waaghemmung based. His room clocks, which are around 50 cm high, are equipped with a movement , a striking mechanism that sometimes strikes a quarter or hour, and an alarm clock. This triple movement is encompassed by a pillar-shaped clock structure that resembles a skeleton clock and is not a case. The dial is multi-colored (mostly red, blue, gold) with landscape and architectural motifs or with religious warnings. The top of the structure is a two-part belfry with flower ornaments. These iron wheel clocks were put together without screws and only held together by wedges. The clocks had to be wound every 8 to 16 hours. Around 50 of his monogram and year works from the years 1557 to 1591 are still preserved. His customers were wealthy patricians and wealthy monasteries. The open iron chair clock remained widespread until the invention of the more accurate pendulum clock in the middle of the 17th century.



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