Grandfather Clock shoppers, like clocks shoppers in general, are increasingly focused on where grandfather clock cases, grandfather clock movements and other parts are made, as in Country of Origin. Like many industries, Made in America has taken on an increasingly important question not only in assessing the quality of the item, but also in keeping jobs in the USA. Additionally, in recent years, many stores including some of the biggest retailers in the Country, have increasingly been importing cheaply made things, we call them, that resemble high-quality grandfather clocks but in fact are anything but that. Thin wood, fake wood, assembly, poor quality clock movements not only for timekeeping but even more so for chiming, are luring in more and more ultimately dissatisfied customers who find that after they have put together these non-working cheaply made monstrosities, they don’t look or work as advertised, and may not work at all. Even worse, there is frequently no telephone contact number or even maker listed on the box.
Given the flood of imports and the move to buy American, grandfather clocks shoppers need to be smarter and better informed than ever when deciding on a new grandfather clock, grandmother clock, mantel clock or wall clock. Cuckoo clocks too! Having said that, the high-end grandfather clock market has had and has many players, each with their own history and approach, and those approaches to making and manufacturing grandfather clock cases and grandfather clock movements have evolved over time.
Probably the safest way to begin your grandfather clock buying experience is to limit your choices to certain high-end brands, in which we would include the Howard Miller Clock company, Ridgeway Clocks, Hermle Clocks, America Grandfather Clocks and Kieninger Floor and Grandfather Clocks. There are other makers, but we believe these companies are both the best and offer the best grandfather clock values to customers worldwide. Even with that, there can be and are many differences within the grandfather clock models offered by each individual clock maker.
Most all high-end grandfather clock movements, whether tubular chime grandfather clocks, or grandfather clocks playing the Westminster Chimes, Schubert Ave Maria Chime, Beethoven Ode to Joy, or the more classic Whittington and St Michaels Chimes, or bim-bam chime, all of the high-end grandfather clock movements of any real quality and made in any large quantity are made in Germany by Hermle Clocks and Kieninger Clocks. At this point in time, we would not recommend purchasing any grandfather clock or grandmother clock unless it was made by one of these two makers (there would be some exceptions for a very few ultra-high-end grandfather clocks with movements made in extremely small quantities).
So now we move to the grandfather clock case. Hermle Clocks, a German maker, has recently started making some of its best grandfather clock models right here in Virginia, USA. Hermle still makes other grandfather clock cases in Germany, and some yet still other Hermle models, while also very high quality, have their grandfather clock cases sourced from the Far East. Unless you talk with a Dealer like 1-800-4CLOCKS, you will be clueless as to which is which. It is also important to talk to a knowledgeable person at any clock store, because some people working there at any one time may know little or nothing about the differences between brands, much less within brands.
For Grandfather Clocks, most all of Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks and Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks have cases made in Michigan, USA, and use a German movement, typically by Kieninger Clocks. Most all Kieninger Grandfather Clocks are made to order in Germany and the cases and movement are from Germany, as with many Herlme Grandfather Clocks. Americana Grandfather Clocks are such an interesting story and have such a creative approach behind them, and we feel offer great value and some amazing models of grandfather clocks, that we are happy to discuss any particular Americana Grandfather Clock over the phone at 1-800-4CLOCKS (1-800-425-6257), option 1.
Of course the only measure of the quality and workmanship of a grandfather clock can and should not be the country or countries of origin. But is is one important part, and can help explain why certain grandfather clock makers have gone to different modes of production in their continuous effort to provide the most desirable grandfather clock models possible to the public at large.
Most all mechanical new and antique clocks, including a basic cable-driven or chain-driven grandfather clock, have a movement that is driven importantly by a pendulum swinging back and forth. The very definition of a grandfather clock is one in a freestanding case that is both weight-driven and has a pendulum moving in beat from side-to-side.
Nowadays, many clocks offered by even the highest end manufacturers like Howard Miller Clocks and Hermle Clocks and the Ridgeway Clock Company also offer quartz-driven clocks, including grandfather clocks, grandmother clocks, wall clocks, mantle clocks and even cuckoo clocks that have a clock pendulum that is quartz or battery driven and yet the pendulum on the clock still simulates the movement of a mechanical clock, frequently with the help of a magnet based mechanism.
There are certain mechanical clocks, particularly antique carriage clocks and some antique mantel clocks and antique wall clocks that have what is known as a platform escapement, and these great movements do not require or use a pendulum to help the clock run. In the case of carriage clocks, this is a space saving device. These clocks tend to be also of excellent quality, with the only drawback being that it can be harder to fix or replace a platform escapement movement, especially if the balance staff is broken. These mechanical clocks are similar to pocket watches in that regards. And not surprisingly, for both antique clocks and antique pocket watches, replacement parts can be hard to find and require a special skill on the part of the timepiece repair-person.
Another interesting facet of pendulum clocks is whether the pendulum is visible to anyone viewing the clock at a time other than winding. Many new and antique grandfather clocks quite purposefully have a glass door in the front so that the pendulum as well as the weights of the clocks can be readily seen. Not uncommon, especially with antique clocks, is to have a solid door where the viewer or owner will not see the pendulum or weights driving the clock mechanism. Many of the older antique grandfather clock pendulums and weights are actually in our view quite ugly, and there is a good reason not to make them visible.
Interestingly, not only on new grandfather clocks and new grandmother clocks, but also on mantel clocks and especially on wall clocks, being able to view the pendulum and weights are very much part of the design, whether the clocks are mechanical or quartz-driven. Worthy of note if looking at a new quartz grandfather clock, is that while the pendulum’s movement may simulate that of a mechanical grandfather clock, the weights will almost always be for decorative purposes only and will not move either up or down.
One interesting side-note about pendulum grandfather clocks is that one innovation which has taken on some momentum, and which we are strongly urging grandfather clock makers to make more available, minimally as an optional additional feature, is having a crystal center of the pendulum bob. This is one innovation we at 1-800-4CLOCKS.com plan to make much more widespread either with or without the grandfather clock makers. A grandfather clock pendulum of this type adds a very special sparkle to the home in which it lives. with that sparkle adding to the grandfather clock as the heartbeat of the home.
Pendulum Grandfather Clocks by Howard Miller Clocks
Hermle Clocks is one of the finest makers of Floor Clocks, with the Hermle Grandfather Clocks Collection. Hermle is a German company that has been making clocks of all types for well over 100 years, and selling them around the Globe. Hermle Clocks, along with Kieninger Clocks, another German-based clockmaker, is one of the two remaining high-end grandfather clock movement manufacturers that make grandfather clock movements in any real quantities.
Hermle Grandfather Clocks have truly evolved in recent years, and offer the discerning grandfather clock shopper a real option beyond other high-end well-known names such as Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks and Kieninger Grandfather Clocks, not to mention the Ridgeway Grandfather Clock and Americana Grandfather Clock collections.
One of the exciting pieces of news is that Hermle is now currently making some of its highest quality grandfather clocks right in the USA, albeit with the great German Hermle mechanical grandfather clock movements. Hermle has acquired some of the designs and clock making equipment and expertise of Bulova Grandfather Clocks, Museum Grandfather Clocks, and Sligh Grandfather Clocks before then. This is not to say that Hermle does not still make many of its clocks in Germany or other parts of Europe, or that certain other clock models may have cases which, while still certainly solid wood and very high quality, may have been sourced in different parts of Asia.
Hermle had pioneered the Hermle Grandfather Clock Autowind Movement, which the company used to offer as an option with many of its clocks. These autowind grandfather clock movements could still be wound manually, were cable driven, and would last for 8 days on a single winding. Yet grandfather clock owners and buyers were given the option of plugging these grandfather clocks in, and after a certain number of days, the grandfather clock movement would rewind itself, bringing the 3 weights back to their highest position in the grandfather clock case. Sadly, Hermle discontinued making the grandfather clock autowind movements or offering it as an option beginning 2-3 years ago. So after we sold our last Hermle Autowind Grandfather Clocks, they were no longer available to the public or made by Hermle, or any other grandfather clock manufacturer for that matter. Perhaps ironically, grandfather clocks tradition and traditional grandfather clock styles triumphed over the new electro-winding technology that Hermle Clocks offered.
Which is not to say that Hermle Grandfather Clock offerings have cut corners in any other areas. The quality of their cases, while varying by price and style, and still on par with the best makers of grandfather clocks. The grandfather clock options, such as automatic nighttime shut-off, tubular chime grandfather clocks, triple chime grandfather clocks, chime-silence options, rotating moonphase dials, choices of both cable driven grandfather clocks and chain-driven grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks are all still offered. Hermle Grandfather Clock Curios as well are worth a special look.
Also still offered are both traditional grandfather clock styles and more contemporary grandfather clocks. Hermle definitely makes heirloom quality grandfather clocks that, like those made by Hermle in the Black Forest before them, should with proper care and maintenance certainly last for many generations to come and one day be a treasured antique grandfather clock.
Hermle Grandfather Clocks are absolutely worth looking at seriously whether looking for grandfather clocks on sale, grandfather clock discounts, or just looking for the best grandfather clocks available today.
1-800-4CLOCKS can now be found on Twitter at the @FloorClocks UserName but also with the name Grandfather Clocks appearing as our display name. We have not entirely figured that one out yet, but are confident we will be there shortly. Hopefully by the time the clock strikes 12. Even though to date with our specialty being Grandfather Clocks and Floor Clocks by makers such as Howard Miller Clocks and Hermle Clocks and Kieninger Clocks and Ridgeway Clock Collection, we have yet to master the Twitter Universe.
Yet, somewhat unbelievably to us, we already have 54 Twitter followers! Not bad if your not London’s Big Ben Clock or do not have Kim Kardashian endorsing your products (we read somewhere recently that she will accept paid Twitter broadcasts, or as they are called Tweets). In our case, not likely to happen.
We would like better ways to let the world know that we sell antique wall clocks and regulators in addition to new wall clocks, and antique mantel clocks in addition to new mantle clocks by high-end companies like Howard Miller Clocks, Hermle, Ridgeway, Kieninger Clocks and more. Grandfather Clocks are our specialty, and we are proud to carry brands with clock cases Made in the USA as well as around the world. All of our new mechanical grandfather clocks have German movements made by either Hermle Clocks or Kieninger Clocks. Our grandfather clock selection includes high-end clock makers like Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, Hermle Grandfather Clocks, Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks, and Americana and Kieninger Grandfather and Floor Clocks. We also plan on doing a lot of tweeting on Antique Grandfather Clocks and other kinds of antique clocks, including antique wall clocks and antique mantel clocks. Grandfather clock movements, including chiming movements with the Westminster Chime or Ave Maria or Ode to Joy Chimes, as examples, could be the subject of other tweets. On Grandfather Clock features, such as automatic nighttime shutoff and illuminated dials, we are not sure if those would be of interest or simply perhaps just a bit esoteric.
If anyone want to advise us on how to make best use of grandfather clocks and floor clocks on Twitter, we would be very thankful. To date, our tweets have mostly included things like it’s 5pm and gong, gong, gong, gong and gong. We know it is profound, but we are working on being even more insightful on how to master social media. Soon we will share with you how to find us on Facebook. And yes, we have clocks of all kinds on Pinterest as well. You may even be surprised to learn we are on Etsy as well, but we haven’t quite yet figured out what to do with that clocks real estate. Some videos which link to our website can be found on YouTube, but you may not be able to easily find them. If you can, let us know. Additionally, we are featured in various YouTube videos, though more often than not without any attribution.
We realize we must master the world of social media. It is unclear to us how many of our customers and shoppers are also big users of social media. if you have over 500 Facebook friends, and you are alerted to any new post on your phone, AND you are in the market for a high-quality grandfather clock, please let us know! You can comment on this blog post, or better wet, feel free to tweet us at @FloorClocks or follow us at #FloorClocks. At this point, we need all the media advice we can get, so tweeting is probably better than following just now.
One may be looking for general grandfather clock maintenance, or a grandfather clock owner may be having a problem with one of your grandfather clocks keeping, or a grandfather wall clock chiming mechanical movement problem , and be wondering to whom to turn for help with grandfather clock repairs.
The good news, is that if one owns a high-quality brand name grandfather clock such as one by Howard Miller Clocks or Hermle Clocks or a Ridgeway Floor Clock or Kieninger Grandfather Clock, both the expertise and the parts needed, if any, should still be available. Antique grandfather clocks present a different challenge, especially tubular chime grandfather clocks, but by and large a consumer or business should not have great difficulty, if they know where to look, to get the grandfather clock repair help they need.
One must be extremely careful to deal only with reputable clock repair people, especially as a grandfather clock repair or other repair may involve one or both of an in-home or in-office visit by a clock repair technician, and in many instances the clock repair individual will suggest that, say, perhaps the grandfather clock movement needs to be taken with them so it can be worked on and tested over time. Therefore, one wants to be as sure as possible that you are dealing with both a competent and honest grandfather clock repair or wall clock repair or mantle clock repair person, whether talking about new or antique clocks.
So how does one find someone they can trust to repair their clock? Word of mouth can be one reliable way, as well as looking at and investigating the clock repair shops local to you, either by searching in the local yellow pages or typing in a search query at Google, as an example, for clock repair and your zip code. You mat see reviews right then and there as part of the results. If you are looking to repair an antique grandfather clock or antique grandmother clock, you might want instead to type into the search engine antique grandfather clocks repair or antique clock repair and see how the results differ. In our experience, anyone who can work on an antique grandfather clock expertly will also be able to work on a contemporary grandfather clock. However the same does not hold true for newer clocks, in that many people who can repair more modern grandfather clocks way be fairly clueless when it comes to antique clock repair. The simplest and only partial explanation is that for newer clocks, a clock repair shop can frequently simply order a new clock movement and swap it out, as opposed to understanding the parts needed and perhaps either finding them or making them, much less making the grandfather clock as a whole fully functional once again.
Antique clocks can have many advantages, and nor surprisingly, they are generally more expensive to both maintain and repair, which is a major consideration for many buyers of new clocks, particularly new or antique wall clocks, new or antique mantle clocks, and new or antique grandfather clocks. For cuckoo clocks, it is somewhat less of a consideration, but if one is looking for a cuckoo clock with automata and special features like automatic nighttime shut-off, or a colorful cuckoo clock, one will have many many more choices with a new cuckoo clock.
If you are having trouble finding a good local clock repair place, always feel free to call us, and we will be helpful to the extent we can be quickly.
Here is an example of a grandfather clock repair inquiry we received today, with our response first and the earlier inquiry just below:
Hello Deb –
Yes, we certainly should be able to help you.
If you get back to us with your contact information and approximately what part of town you live in, I will have the best person contact you directly.
If you can say approx how old the clock is and the maker, that may be useful as well.
Sent from my iPhone
On Mar 9, 2013, at 2:33 PM, Deborah Doe <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
We have a grandfathers clock that was stored for a number of years, and the clock workings were removed. We would like to know if you can put the clock back together for us. It did work before it was stored. We have the case and the workings, and are located in Manhattan.
Call it a grandfather clock or a grandmother clock, yet in many instances they may be the identical free-standing floor clock with an enclosed floor clock movement and weight-driven and have a swinging pendulum.. At 1-800-4CLOCKS.com, we typically differentiate between a grandmother clock and a grandfather clock based simply on a height above approximately 80 to 82 inches, which we generally (but not always) term a grandfather clock, and those longcase clocks which are below 80 to 82 inches in height which we generally (and again not always) term grandmother clocks. That is the simple difference between grandfather clocks and grandmothers clocks. It is important to note we would also take other factors into account, and that many clock experts would not agree with this definition. But it is this kind of debate on the difference between grandmothersclocks and grandfather clocks that make the clock industry and horology a dynamic and ever-evolving field where experts can reasonably agree, or agree to disagree, or neither, about not only grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks definitions, but also many other aspects including dozens of topics surrounding new and antique grandfather clocks, antique grandmother clocks, antique wall clocks, and antique mantel clocks. In fact, on mantle clocks, there could reasonably be a spirited debate around whether these should be called mantle clocks or mantle clocks. An overly simplified distinction would be whether one is in Europe or North America, where Europeans generally favor mantle clocks and Americans generally favor mantel clock, whether new or antique mantle clocks.
Established high-end clock-makers like Howard Miller Clocks have cleverly avoided the debate by referring to all the biggest clocks they sell as Floor Clocks, so the question never even comes up, or at least is answered, by looking at Howard Miller marketing materials. Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks and Ridgeway Grandmother clocks also avoid that same dubious distinction with Ridgeway Clocks also referring to their clocks as Ridgeway Floor Clocks. Hermle Clocks only sold grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks by advertising them all as Floor Clocks. Very recently, within the last year or so, Hermle Clocks has started to term their floor clocks all grandfather clocks, leaving it to their clock customers and Authorized Hermle Clock Dealers to make any distinction they so choose. Kieninger Clocks has also followed a similar method as Howard Miller, with all of their largest clocks being named Kieninger Floor Clocks unless their Authorized Dealers, like us at 1-800-4CLOCKS.com, choose to advertise and point to certain models in-store as Kieninger Grandfather Clocks and Kieninger Grandmother Clocks. Given the ownership between Howard Miller Clocks, Kieninger Clocks, and Ridgeway Clocks is all jointly owned, it is not terribly surprising that Howard Miller Grandfather Clock might be described similarly by Ridgeway Clocks and Kieninger Clock as Ridgeway Floor Clocks, Howard Miller Floor Clocks and Kieninger Floor Clocks.
Grandmother Clocks will typically have mechanical clock movements similar or identical to grandfather clocks. Grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks will also typically have the same clock chimes, with Westminster Chimes being the most popular, and triple chime grandfather clocks which most frequently also include the Whittington Chime and St Michaels Chime. Sometimes the triple chime floor clocks might instead include Beethovens Ave Maria or Schuberts Ode to Joy, as the 2nd or 3rd chime options. These are invariably almost always on cable-driven grandfather clocks and cable-driven grandmother clocks. Chain-driven grandfather clocks and chain-driven grandmother clocks will generally have a single chime, almost always Westminster Chimes, and will also generally have fewer of what might be considered “bells and whistle” features and grandfather clock extras or options like automatic nighttime shutoff, illuminated grandfather clock dials, rotating moonphase dials, and lit cabinets.
Now are there some unique grandmother clock designs which would lead us to classify certain floor clocks over 80 to 82 inches in height to actually be grandmother clocks, and the answer is absolutely yes. They would include the grandmother clock design as the basic framing clock categorization element. Having said that, there are also certain floor clocks below 80 to 82 inches in design they we would think might be better termed grandfather clocks. This is especially true for antique grandfather clocks and antique grandmother clocks. Are the floor clocks or tall case clocks which we think could or should reasonably be considered to be called either or both of grandmother clocks and grandfather clocks? The answer is an unequivocal yes, and for parallel logic reasons already highlighted above.
At 1-800-4CLOCKS, we were also proud to have introduced (and trademarked) several years ago grandson clocks™ . As many readers of this clock blog will undoubtedly know, granddaughter clocks have been around for centuries and have become part of the clocks and horological lexicon. Most simply put, they are much shorter than grandmother clocks and grandfather clocks. We expect and hope that grandson clocks will one day be as widely known and the clock definition and term as widespread in use.
We also at 1-800-4CLOCKS make an effort to make shopping for relatively short grandmother clocks or relatively taller grandfather clocks to be relatively easy by having created separate categories for grandfather clocks and grandmother clocks. While on the one hand this initially confuses some of our clock shopping customers in that they see the same clock under 2 categories, customers quickly recognize that this is much easier than calling the same clock by different names. See for yourself by visiting the following 2 links below each picture:
As a long-time leading retailer of grandfather clocks, we are frequently asked for our grandfather clock catalog. This is especially true because of our roots in direct marketing as a grandfather clock catalog retailer with a memorable toll-free number. Of course we have always sold and featured wall clocks, mantel clocks, cuckoo clocks, grandmother clocks, atomic clocks, antique grandfather clocks, and antique timepieces of all sorts including pocket watches and some amazing antique grandmother clocks, regulators, congreve clocks, inclined plane clocks, automata, sterling silver sundial-compass combinations and much more.
Antique clocks always present a special challenge to market in a catalog, as any experienced auction house knows. There is almost always just one of the antique clocks or watches for sale, so listing these timepieces with a fixed price can create many headaches. Yet at the same time, despite the currently appearing ubiquitous presence of auctions online and off, from eBay to Christies to Sothebys, many buyers and sellers prefer the old fixed price antique market model, much like one would find in a fine antique clock and watch shop.
Many readers of this blog post, the fifty and over generations, will remember to some degree the old Sears and Roebuck Catalog, that literally set the standard for the catalog direct marketing revolution that it began. Even the Catalogs themselves became collector’s items, as did reprints of the original Sears Catalogs.
However, fast-forward one hundred years into the future, meaning today, and the web and individual websites like 1-800-4CLOCKS.com have taken over as the modern-days Catalogs of choice. New grandfather clocks and wall clock collections can be added daily. Grandmother Clocks on backorder can be noted as such so grandmother clocks on backorder will not disappoint customers. Complete new lines and brands can be added in a day. Consumer expectations about the customer shopping experience have gone through the roof, as grandfather clock shoppers and those searching for wall clocks discounts and mantel clocks on sale expect that anything they see on a website for sale is absolutely in stock.
Grandfather clock makers such as Howard Miller Clocks, Ridgeway Grandfather Clock Collection, Kieninger Clocks, and Hermle Floor Clocks are much better then ever before about providing more current inventory data. Yet at the same time, this grandfather clock, wall clock and mantle clock data will not be real time. And some clocks, including Kieninger Grandfather Clocks and wall clocks and mantle clocks, and some of the Hermle clock models, including Hermle Grandfather Clocks and Mantel and Wall Clocks can have a 2-4 month lead time and are generally considered prepaid custom orders. This is hard to communicate either in an old-fashioned direct marketing catalog and even in a great website like the one we have at 1-800-4CLOCKS.
The good news is that with the advent of the internet, we are able to offer both selection and savings never before imagined even 20 years ago. More choices, higher discounts on the best grandfather clocks, better pictures of each clock, and even the ability to hear a specific clock chime and offer supersize pictures can all really recreate the grandfather clock gallery shopping experience. A tradeoff is that many fewer of us bricks and mortar-type stores are surviving, especially as new and competing technologies are vying for some of the same shopping dollars that were previous spent on grandfather clocks and wall clocks. Not only can one see the current time on most any personal computer or MacBook, but also on iPhones and other mobile devices including the Samsung Galaxy.
Having said that, there is nothing that competes with the old world charm of a grandfather clock or wall clock or mantle clocks, whether a new or antique clock. A grandfather clock is truly the heartbeat of the home.