Grandfather Clock

The Grandfather clock was known for its precision till the 20th century!

The grandfather clock is very tall so, it is kept on the floor. It can have a long swinging pendulum. The clock is enclosed in a decorative woodwork. The clock strikes each hour.

In the 17th & 18th century the grandfather clock was an heirloom. It was passed from one generation to another. Nowadays, the majestic grandfather clock is mainly a collectible or decor.

Facts about grandfather clock

  • The grandfather clock can be 6 to 8 ft (1.8 to 2.4 m) tall.
  • The case of a grandfather clock is typically made of cherrybeechmahoganyoakpine or walnut woods.
  • Traditionally, grandfather clocks fall into 2 types of moment, either 30 hours or 8 days. A 30-hour moment needs winding daily and an 8 day requires winding every 1 week.
  • The pendulum of a grandfather clock is 39” to the center of the bob. It is called royal pendulum or seconds pendulum. The pendulum takes 1 sec to swing. The pendulum is usually made of brass.

Grandfather clock is also known as

The grandfather clock once had so many technical names, these names are rarely used. They are:

  • Case clock
  • Coffin clock
  • Floor clock
  • Long clock
  • Longcase clock
  • Pendulum clock
  • Standing clock
  • Tall case clock
  • Upright clock

Origin of grandfather clock

1656 – Pendulum clock was made by Christian Huygens from Denmark.
1658 – The anchor mechanism by Robert Hooke reduced the pendulum’s swing. Hence, the clock can be encased.
1670 – British clock makers perfected the long-case clock.
1870 – Americans started producing in mass.

What are the types of grandfather clock?

#1 Comtoise Clocks: These styles of clocks have a potbellied curve and ornate carved pendulum. Comtoise clock is also known as morbier clockor morez clock.

#2 Bornholm Clocks: These styles of clocks are box shaped. Bornholm clocks is also known as Danish clocks.

Why do they call it a grandfather clock?

The story of longcase clock of George hotel

Two brothers managed George hotel in North Yorkshire, England. There was a longcase clock in the lobby of the hotel. When one of the brothers died, the clock which was showing the perfect time till then started losing time. The clock smith could not repair the clock. When the other brother died at the ripe age of 90, the clock stopped working altogether.

In 1874, Henry Clark Work (1832–1884), an American songwriter during a trip to England, stayed at the George Hotel. Inspired by the story he composed the song, its title was “My Grandfather’s Clock”.

In 1876, the song was published in America. It became so popular that 1 million copies of the “My Grandfather’s clock” music sheet were sold. Till date it is one of the best-known nursery songs in the world.

The song has 4 verses. In the 1st verse, the 1st & 2nd lines read…

“My Grandfather’s clock was too tall for the shelf,
so, it stood 90 years on the floor.”

In the song, the grandfather’s clock refers to the long-case clock. Probably kids & people liked the term “grandfather clock” rather than its technical name.

So, Henry Clark Work inspired by a story composed a song, my grandfather’s clock. People got inspired by that song and started calling long-case clock as grandfather’s clock.


Leave a Reply