Grandfather clocks

Grandfather Clocks in Our Nation’s History

10.09.08

I was in Philadelphia recently where I was able to tour the many spots synonymous with the birth of our nation – Independence Hall where they signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Carpenter’s Hall that hosted the first Continental Congress, and what was once the home of Benjamin Franklin – writer, printer, inventor, scientist, politician, and diplomat. In touring through the museum dedicated to Franklin, I was amazed to see that they had in their possession many of the items that were actually in his home – from pieces of furniture to some of his many inventions that he crafted throughout his lifetime.

One of the items that I was most drawn to was a stunning grandfather clock – called a tall case clock at that time. Handcrafted for Franklin in 1750 it was made by Edward Duffield – a member of Franklin’s Junto Society; a group of gentlemen that met on a regular basis to discuss ways to improve life in Philadelphia.

What struck me was the high quality of this grandfather clock and the fact that it was in such spectacular condition. Clearly it had been lovingly restored and well maintained by those in charge of gathering these historic relics. But even so it was still just as beautiful as I imagined it was standing in Benjamin Franklin’s home.

There are few pieces like grandfather clocks – that span the history of this country so completely. Today’s grandfather clocks are the modern versions of those simple – yet glorious – early designs. But we know that they will represent yet another time in history when grandfather clocks were a part of the décor of our homes.

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