Grandfather clocks

Howard Miller

07.27.10

“I would like to buy a Herman Miller grandfather clock, or do I mean one of the Howard Miller grandfather clocks?  I am sorry, I know the two names don’t have anything to do with one another, one, Herman Miller, making high quality furniture mostly for offices, and the other, Howard Miller, known mostly for their grandfather clocks, mantle clocks and wall clocks.  Sorry I confused the two, now which is which again.”

The above dramatization between Herman Miller Clocks and Howard Miller Clocks may seem a bit exaggerated, but not by much, and we have had thousands of similar or derivative conversations with grandfather clocks shoppers in particular.

Howard Miller was the son of Herman Miller.  Howard Miller joined the Herman Miller company, and as we understand it, was drawn early on into fusing the beauty of fine wood furniture and clock mechanisms.  We have seen Herman Miller Grandfather Clocks, Herman Miller Mantle Clocks, and Herman Miller Wall Clocks. The Herman Miller Clocks were made with electric, early battery, and winding mechanisms.  We have one special very early Herman Miller Mantle Clock and Barometer and a thermometer, in a highly unusual wood case that was likely made in the 1920s.  We have in the inventory of our retail stores Herman Miller Mantel Clocks and Wall Clocks, including a Herman Miller Banjo Clock.

As a young man, Howard Miller left his father’s well known and then well established Herman Miller Company, and opened up the Howard Miller Clock Company with a headquarters and manufacturing facility literally just across the street in Zeeland, Michigan, where the two companies are still headquartered and located today.  Both individuals have passed on, but family involvement and ownership has continued at Howard Miller Clocks.  And Howard Miller, while sticking to its core competencies in mechanical grandfather clocks, both cable and chain driven, and keywound chiming wall clocks and mantel clocks, and many clocks with quartz alternatives, they have also ventured more into furniture, including collections by Ty Pennington, and many curio cabinets, wine cabinets and bars, bar stools, and more recently, Howard Miller Home Furniture of many many different types, including bedroom furnishings and furniture.

So now you know — Herman Miller was Howard Miller’s father!

Grandfather Clocks Online

07.24.10

“Hello, I am very interested in purchasing the Howard Miller J.H. Miller II Grandfather Clock Model 611-031 (611031) with tubular chimes, or perhaps the Howard Miller J.H. Miller Grandfather Clock Model 611-030 (611030), which looks identical, but is several thousand dollars less expensive.  I would ideally like to see any grandfather clock I purchase in person.  May I stop by one of your stores to compare these clocks, and perhaps some other Howard Miller, Ridgeway, and Hermle Grandfather Clocks I have also found quite intriguing”.

The above grandfather clock sale inquiry is not at all unusual.  People, especially in an ideal world, want to see and hear and even touch all the choices before them in person.  Some grandfather clocks shoppers come carrying an array of wood samples, others carrying paint color chips, some bring along a friend for a second opinion, and some simply want to see and hear how each grandfather clock might sound, and the differences and similarities between and among different grandfather clock makers.

I know if I was considering spending several thousand dollars on a grandfather clock or floor clock, I would surely want to see it and hear it in person before I bought it, even id I knew it was made by a quality maker with an excellent reputation.  Having said that, there are literally hundreds of grandfather clock models to choose from, and at least in the New York tri-state area, which includes New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, it is difficult to find any place that will have even a significant number of new grandfather clocks on display.  We had in our Grand Central Station Store for many years, until we were forced to close it after the entire floor on which we were located was taken over and occupied by the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority, maybe 3-4 grandfather clocks on display at any one time, and as far as we knew, that was the largest selection in the New York City area.  The economics of selling grandfather clocks, and mantle clocks and wall clocks etc. has led over the years to a continuing and ongoing reduction in the number of brick and mortar stores selling both new and antique grandfather clocks.

We still make sure to keep some grandfather clocks on display in one or more of our locations, but when one adds in space for wristwatches and pocket watches, not to mention space for repair of mechanical cable driven and chain driven grandfather clocks, keywound wall clocks, antique mantel clocks and much more, it takes up space.  We try to keep much inventory in antique clocks and antique pocket watches (and like to purchase collections of old pocketwatches and wristwatches, and even clocksmith tools, whether the timepieces are working or not).

We frequently have to ask our clock customers to make a leap of faith, that yes, the grandfather clock will look as good and sound as good, or maybe better, in person.  We look for ways to help people deal with this legitimate desire to see a clock before plunking down thousands of dollars.

The good news is that when we get feedback from customers who buy without first seeing the grandfather clock in person, the feedback is almost universally that the grandfather clock was MUCH NICER overall than they expected.  A satisfied grandfather clocks customer and owner makes it all worthwhile!

Howard Miller J H Miller Grandfather Clock 611-030 611030Howard Miller J H Miller II Grandfather Clock  611-031 611031Howard Miller J.H. Miller Grandfather Clock Model 611-030 (611030) (on left)

Howard Miller J.H. Miller II Grandfather Clock Model 611-031 (611031) (on right)

Grandfather Wall Clocks

07.11.10

The general definition of a grandfather clock or floor clock is that it is free-standing, and therefore not a wall clock, or hung on a wall like wall clocks.  Having said that, many individuals refer to their wall clocks as grandfather wall clocks.  We think sometimes people do this because there wall clocks are large and have many of the characteristics of grandfather clocks, e.g. cable driven or chain driven, a moonphase dial, weights, a pendulum and more.

Having said that, the very definition of a discount floor clock or grandfather clock is that it stands by itself, so there is really no easily mistaking a grandfather clock for a wall clock.

We have yet to have any customer refer to a grandfather mantle clock, or a grandmother mantel clock, but we have had people refer to their mantle clocks or mantel clocks as being like grandfather clocks when they are on a decorative shelf, particularly if the clock is tall and has many of the same clocks features as described above.

Anyone care to invent grandfather alarm clocks that will REALLY wake you up?

Celebrity Grandfather Clocks

07.01.10

Do the grandfather clocks make the celebrity, or does the Celebrity make the grandfather clock?  We would like to know.  We are aware that many celebrities are owners of both antique grandfather clocks and new grandfather clocks, and grandmother clocks are quite popular as well.  One way we know this is that we have sold and installed grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks to many people who are household names, so to speak.  Generally, these famous business people, actors, government officials, university president, major network chiefs, religious leaders, heads of state, and heads of state giving gifts to other heads of state and visiting dignitaries, among others, will work through an intermediary.  Yet in most all instances we know who the so-called end users for these great timepieces are.  Usually because they tell us, they visit our shop, or they call for follow-up of certain kinds.

Aside from antique mantle clocks, antique wall clocks, and antiques grandfather clocks, the large majority of the emphasis is on the major high-end clock brands like Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, Hermle Grandfather Clocks, and Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks.  Seth clocks are also a good seller, as are Movado Clocks, especially for high-end corporate gifts.

We do not sell and tell, so you will never see anything about an individual customer unless the customer wants us to publicize the sale for some reason.  We currently have one client, who is an absolute mogul, known the world over, and he asked us to work with his interior decorator, and plans to have this home, once decorated, shot for Architectural Digest.  I think it’s a fair bet to say that if he wants it, he will get it.  So stay tuned, and we may be able to publicize that one.

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