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Birger Lindqvist’s Unique Mora Clock


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Picture courtesy GSF
He has made several Mora clocks that are in his home in Gamlakarleby, Finland, and his most prized clock required 1000 hours of work. It contains 35 different parts and 4 types of wood, including a pendulum and weights. The frame is of pine, the foot is made of birch, the ring around the round opening in the mantle is from a foreign wood, and the circle band and carved lion are of oak.

The base is ornamented with olivewood twigs, continuing on with grapevines, flowers, grass, berries, and lily of the valley flowers below the clock head. All the carvings have deep shadows. The middle of the dial is handpainted by Ingmar Störling and depicts an old watermill.

Birger said wood carving requires a feeling for the wood. He believes his artistic abilities came from his mother’s Nedervetil side of the family. He has painted an ancient sailing ship on his paternal grandfather’s old seaman’s chest. His songbook is filled with pen and ink sketches drawn by him.

Here is a brief history of the Mora clock:

The production of Mora clocks began in the middle 18th century between 1750 and 1760. Clock production was part of the homecraft of the peasant people of Dalarna province in Sweden. At that time the arable land wasn’t sufficient to support the growing population. The clocks were made in peasant’s homes during the winter, especially around the city ofMora. People specialized in making different parts of the clocks. Some made movements, some the faces, some the cases, some the paintings and some assembled the clocks.

Between 1830-40 about 90 households worked on clocks. More than 1000 were made each year and were sold in Sweden, Norway and Finland. A genuine “Moraklocka” from Dalarna province was richly decorated with special rosemaling from that province. The making of the clocks has almost disappeared because of high taxes and high labor costs. Some clocks are being offered for sale on Internet sites, with prices up to $3,000.

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June Pelo

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