Grandfather clocks

Grandfather Clocks Names – Tallcase Clock, Longcase Clock, and more


Grandfather clocks are known by other clock names, particularly in Western Europe where they originated. Most people in the United Kingdom refer to grandfather clocks as Tall Case (or sometimes Tallcase) Clocks or Long Case (or sometimes Longcase) Clocks. Other grandfather clock names that are sometimes used that are more or less synonomous with grandfather clocks are Floor Clocks, and less frequently, Hall Clocks. The styles of grandfather clock design cut across all of these names for grandfather clocks. Certain styles of clocks are also or alternatively referred to as Grandmother Clocks, with roughly an 80 inch height break being the dividing line …. but it is a gray area and open to personal and professional discretion (and occasionally debate).

It was not until some time after 1876 when Henry Clay Work wrote “My Grandfather’s Clock” – and known by many as The Grandfather Clocks Song – which became extremely popular especially in the USA, and gradually replaced the names of longcase and tallcase clocks to grandfather clocks to most people. The Chrous of the Grandfather Clock Song is perhaps the part ythat will look and sound most familar to people.

The Chorus is:

Ninety years without slumbering,

His life’s seconds numbering,

It stopped, short, never to go again, when the old man died.

First Verse:

My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf,

so it stood ninety years on the floor.

It was taller by half than the old man himself,

though it weighed not a pennyweight more.

It was bought on the morn of the day he was born,

and was always his treasure and pride.

But it stopped, short, never to go again, when the old man died.

Second Verse:

In watching its pendulum swing to and fro,

many hours had he spent while a boy.

And in childhood and manhood the clock seemed to know,

and to share both his grief and his joy.

For it struck twenty four when he entered at the door,

with a blooming and beautiful bride,

But it stoped, short, never to go again, when the old man died.

Third Verse:

My grandfather said that of those he could hire,

not a servant so faithful he found.

For it wasted no time and had but one desire,

at the close of each week to be wound.

And it kept in its place, not a frown upon its face,

and its hands never hung by its side.

But it stopped, short, never to go again, when the old man died.

Fourth and Last Verse:

It rang an alarm in the dead of the night,

an alarm that for years had been dumb,

And we knew that his spirit was pluming for flight,

that his hour of departure had come.

Still the clock kept the time, with a soft muffled chime,

as we silently stood by his side.

But it stopped, short, never to go again, when the old man died.


Grandfather Clock Factory Direct Can Make a Difference


Grandfather Clock and “Factory Direct” (frequently in conjunction with discounts) are two phrases frequently heard or read in the same sentence. But why would or should a clocks shopper care about whether a grandfather clock is shipped directly from the factory warehouse vs. being shipped from an individual retailer’s stock?

Grandfather Clocks direct from the factory warehouse do have some advantages, with grandfather clock discounts being secondary. The principle difference – and this is as true for a grandfather clocks as it is for a wall clock or mantel clock – is that the clock has to ship ONLY ONCE! Shipping a clock at any time in its life, even when it’s new and packed for hearty clock travel, increases the risk that the container in which it is shipped may be jostled, dropped, poked, pierced or partly crushed one too many times. The risk of an adjustment being needed to a grandfather clock at least doubles when the clock is shipped twice.

The other main advantage if factory direct grandfather clock shipments is that you know you are not buying a Floor Model or Floor Sample Model, or a Model that was used on a Road Show (similar to well-known Antiques Road Show, but traveling with New Grandfather Clocks as Display Models), and then re-packaged. While most retailers are ethical and will tell you – especially if asked – that the clock is not “factory fresh”, you are nonetheless likely to hear that “this grandfather clock is in mint condition”, or “no one but us has ever touched this grandfather clock”. While these may well be true statements, there is no denying that this is not equivalent to getting a brand new discounted granfather clock factory fresh that has only shipped that one time.

Here is one of our many favorite grandfather clocks.

Grandfather Clock by Howard Miller - Harper Model 610-919 610919 Grandfather Clock by Howard Miller Clocks – Harper Grandfather Clock Model 610-919

Types of Grandfather Clocks Tops – Swans Neck, Bonnet, Flat or Round Styles


Many buyers of grandfather clocks, whether looking for grandfather clocks discounts, sales, or those for whom money is no object, ask about what the basic styles and choices are for the top part of any grandfather clocks. In our experience, and whether one is talking about antique grandfather clocks or the vintage or new floor clocks (another term frequently used more or less synonomously for grandfather clocks), the style of the tops generally fall into one of four categories.

This is as true for Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks and Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks as it is for antique grandfather clocks made by skilled craftsmen since grandfather clocks first started being made back in 1650.

We would break them down into the following four categories:

1. Split Pediment Grandfather Clock Top – also frequently referred to as a Swans Neck top, and are generally associated with the more traditional looking grandfather clocks. Below is an example of a grandfather clock with a Split Pediment:

Example of Grandfather Clock with Split Pediment Top Traditional Grandfather Clock with Swan’s Neck or Split Pediment Top

2. Bonnet Topped Grandfather Clock – generally a grandfather clock with a decorative top centerpiece, and can be on top of a traditional grandfather clock design, or one with a contemporary clock look, and some that may look a little bit of each. Below are examples of two Bonnet Topped Grandfather Clocks:

Traditional Bonnet Top Grandfather Clock Traditional Grandfather Clock with Bonnet Top

Bonnet Topped Contemporary Grandfather Clock Contemporary Grandfather Clock with Bonnet Top

3. Flat Top Grandfather Clock – description pretty much speaks for itself, and can be the top of either a Contemporary Grandfather Clock or a Traditional Grandfather Clock.

Contemporary Flat Top Grandfather Clock Flat Top Contemporary Grandfather Clock

Traditional Flat Top Grandfather ClockTraditional Flat Top Grandfather Clock

4. Round Top Grandfather Clock – which can be either a contemporary or more traditional look for a grandfather clock, and can be more of a full circle sitting on a base or a half-circle more integrated with the design of the clock. Examples of some different styles are shown below, including one which, while having a rounded top, has another feature which clearly sets it apart from the clock.

Grandfather Clock with Round Top Number One

Circular Round Top Grandfather Clock – Example 1

Circular Round Top Slim Grandfather Clock - Example 2

Slim Circular Grandfather or Grandmother Clock – Example 2

Contemporary Circular Grandfather Clock - Example 3

Rounded Top Grandfather Clock – Example 3

Circular Top Grandfather Clock with a Twist - A Spike

Circular Top Grandfather Clock with a Twist – a Spike – Example 4

The limits of the designs of grandfather clocks are only limited by the imagination of the artisans and craftspeople, not to mention incorporationg the mechanisms and dials, and there are likely dozens of examples that would not fit neatly into any one or even more of the above categories. Grandfather Clocks have the personality of their makers and designers, and to the tastes and influences of cultures, artists of different periods, the consumers – from old-time aristocrats to larger markets of consumers. Clocks have PERSONALITY!™

Page 1 of 11