In the new season in Historic Rock Ford may be no more time than a watch.

A rare and historic high music watch made by renowned Lancaster watchmaker Martin Schreiner will be on display in the lobby of the Lancaster County Museum of Early Decorative Arts starting today, April 1, the opening day of the exhibition. The museum’s 2022 tour season.

The watch cyclically lists seven music tunes – one of which sounds about a minute before each hour – and the case is made of cherry wood and decorated in the classic style of Lancaster County’s Heppeluight, says Sam Slamaker, CEO of Historic Rock Ford.

“We at the Snyder Gallery have a few tall Lancaster County clocks at the Snyder Gallery, but this one is really something special,” Slammaker says. “It works, so you can feel it by hearing and seeing. That makes it even more special. ”

The 8-foot-tall watch was borrowed from John Pifer Jr. and Carol Pifer of Willow Street, who restored them so they could play seven original tunes. This is one of the few famous Shreiner watches.

“Lancaster County music watches are extremely rare. I heard there were no more than seven of them, ”says Pifer Jr. We are absolutely delighted. “

Pifer Jr., an avid collector of high watches, purchased the watch a few years ago during a Pook & Pook auction. He donated it when he and his wife moved into a townhouse in Willow Valley, and he had to reduce his collection from 30 to 18 hours. Pifer says Cinder, the gallery’s namesake, was a great inspiration and helped him a lot when he became more interested in collecting watches.

Pifer says the watch has only been sold twice; between him and the Schreiner family there was only one master.

“The watch was for Schreiner’s own house, and it remained in his possession until it was sold,” says Pifer Jr.

The museum team is trying to learn more about the clock.

“So far none of us can recognize the tunes. It can be works of folk or classical music, ”says Slameiker. “Identifying them will be a permanent project. We are recording all the melodies, and we hope to find a way to identify at least some of them. ”



The mechanism, similar to a music box, in rare hours sorts out seven different melodies.




During research and conversations with restoration specialists about the design of the clock, Sarah Alberica, the museum’s curator, says the clock is about 1820.

“Schreiner dated each watch consistently and in numbers,” says Alberica. “It’s a 317. Another unique feature is that it has two doors that you don’t see very often.”

According to Alberic, the highest figure recorded by Schreiner for one of his watches is 431. The museum has another Schreiner watch with the number 90, in the collection about 30 watches.

At the Lancaster County Gallery of Early Decorative Art by John J. Snyder Jr. features decorative items that were made by Lancaster County craftsmen and reflect the artist’s degree of effort during the 1750s-1820s, Slammaker says.

“Lancaster products have their own unique style,” says Slammaker. “The styles were a mix of Philadelphia and Baltimore styles, but have their own unique look.”

Martin Schreiner was born in 1769 on North Queen Street in Lancaster and in 1791 opened a watchmaking shop, according to a press release from the museum.

“I think it’s very strange to think that this was a man who was born in downtown Lancaster before the American Revolution and then died in downtown Lancaster just a few years after the end of the Civil War,” said Slamaker of Martin Schreiner. “His life was incredibly long, and he really lived in that first great era of American history and in the heart of Lancaster.”

Alberica notes that Schreiner has dedicated his entire career to Lancaster.

“He also made a fire truck for the city,” Alberica says. For the Sun Fire Company.

Schreiner died in 1866 at the age of 97 and is buried in Schreiner Concord Cemetery on the corner of West Chestnut and Mulberry Streets, which he founded in 1836, according to a museum press release.

But Schreiner’s watch, which is estimated to be 200 years old, is still of interest.

“There are antiques there that you won’t see anywhere else,” Pifer says. “This watch and the watch on the shelf are prime examples of what I call the‘ gilded age of craftsmanship ’.

The Snyder Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday and Sunday, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Admission is $ 15 for adults, $ 13 for seniors (65 and older), $ 12 for youth (ages 6 to 17) and free for children under 5. Tours of the General Edward Hand Museum take place at 10.00, 12.00 and 14.00 from Tuesday to Friday and from 10.00 and 12.00 on Saturdays. More information and purchase tickets can be found at historicrockford.com.

The 2022 tour season will last until October 30. The historic Rock Ford will be closed on Sunday, April 17 for Easter. Snyder’s Gallery is closed May 10-31 to prepare for the June 1 opening of the Long Rifles of the American Revolution.

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