Grandfather clocks

Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks Floor Clocks

09.20.09

Grandfather clocks by Howard Miller have been among our best sellers of high end grandfather clocks at 1-800-4CLOCKS.com and in our Stores for many years.  The breadth and depth of offerings by Howard Miller Clocks, along with Howard Miller’s excellent reputation as a high-end maker of grandfather clocks, grandmother clocks and floor clocks of all types has let to our customers gravitating toward them time after time.  The number of repeat customer, the number of grown children looking for the best gift for a special anniversary for their parents (including many 20th wedding anniversary presents, many 25 year wedding anniversary milestones, several 40th, and even a 50th wedding anniversary gift just selected days ago) and especially the noteworthy purchase by parents looking for the perfect wedding present for their child and soon-to-be child-in-law.

Less common but still noteworthy are those individuals who collect Howard Miller grandfather clocks only, and the many more who collect many of the different clocks that Howard Miller clocks, including the mechanical keywound mantel clocks, and the many mechanical chiming wall clocks made by Howard Miller Clocks and sold by us.  They see and appreciate the quality, and they keep coming back.

We have yet to find anyone who has shared with us that they collect atomic wall clocks or atomic mantel clocks, but we know you are out there!  Let us know -  we are interested in tracking the trends in collecting any kind of timepiece.

One noteworthy quality that collectors and shoppers who are looking for serious expensive gifts, is that the grandfather clocks be of heirloom quality.  That is something that people who are looking for high end grandfather clocks on sale are especially drawn to, knowing the clocks can and will be appreciated for many generations.

Grandfather clocks discounts are another feature that those looking for grandfather clocks on sale strive to attain.  We will always work with a customer in one of our Stores to make sure whenever we can that we can meet or beat the competition when it comes to price.  We aim for grandfather clocks discounts every day, rather than artificially raising the prices so we can lower them again.  We also avoid SPECIAL SALE ENDS TODAY kind of game-playing marketing that pervades the internet and timepiece advertising in general.

On Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, and on all the mechanical grandfather clocks on sale at 1-800-4CLOCKS, we offer BOTH Free Shipping and Free In Home Set-up.  Our customers also benefit from the fact that we are not required to collect sales tax for any grandfather clock shipped to the other 49 States, whether California, Colorado or Florida.  Only in New York are we required by law to charge sales tax.

While looking at Howard Miller Clocks, it is also worth looking at some other great brands we sell, including Hermle Grandfather Clocks, the Ridgeway Granfather Clocks Collection, Bulova Grandfather Clocks, and Kieninger Floor Clocks which are made to order and then shipped directly to your home from Germany (requiring several weeks of planning time).

Take a peek at the many grandfather clocks, wall clocks, mantel clocks, atomic clocks and more that we have to offer by only the best makers, and all at great discounts.  Mantle clocks too!  Watch out for the many cheap no-name brands that might sound like something you might have heard of, but will only last a short while, relatively speaking.  We get many calls from buyers of those clocks who are in distress.  Nothing we can do, unfortunately, but suggest they buy from us next time, or shop for clocks more carefully.

Grandfather Clocks Antique or Not

08.31.09

Well this is a subject that the author of this blog post has been stewing about for some period.  Grandfather clock sellers, and for that matter sellers of wall clocks and mantle clocks as well, will frequently describe their specific grandfather clocks or other clocks as antique, even when it is ONLY ten, twenty, or thirty years old!

By that definition, I am an antique as well … but I sure do not feel like one.

When I was growing up, an antique anything always had to be 100 years old, at the very least, to qualify as an actual antique.  This is the definition we at 1-800-4CLOCKS.com have always used as  that milestone when an item moves from the vintage milestone to the antiques description!  Or occasionally, we might take the liberty of time definition if something is near antique, such as 90 years old or something.

OK, now before both taking the moral high ground and potentially looking like an idiot on our Grandfather Clocks Blog, I am about to look up the actual definition!  Be right back, or as many might instead time today, brb.

INTERESTING … not as cut and dry a definition as I might have thought.  I have learned something new.  When used as a noun and according to USA Customs law, an antique is in fact defined as something more than 100 years old.  But when used as an adjective, there is apparently a LOT more flexibility in the meaning.  Look below at the dictionary definition excerpted here from Dictionary.com:

–adjective

1. of or belonging to the past; not modern.
2. dating from a period long ago: antique furniture.
3. noting or pertaining to automobiles approximately 25 years old or more.
4. in the tradition, fashion, or style of an earlier period; old-fashioned; antiquated.
5. of or belonging to the ancient Greeks and Romans.
6. (of paper) neither calendered nor coated and having a rough surface.
7. ancient.

–noun

8. any work of art, piece of furniture, decorative object, or the like, created or produced in a former period, or, according to U.S. customs laws, 100 years before date of purchase.

So cars can be referred to CORRECTLY as “an antique car” if it ONLY ABOUT 25 YEARS OLD!?!?!?!!!!!!!

Live and learn!!!!  Even though realize I may now be defined as an “antique blogger”, at least I am still able to learn and adapt, even though a may have been born from a period long ago according to the definition, let’s say, of my children, or indeed of many out there.

Here’s where I think we antique clocks folks may still have the advantage of the younger (or vintage :) ) folks.  How many younger people today know the difference between a noun and an adjective, and even more so, when to properly use each one.  I submit that in this day and age older antique people will be much much better at this then their younger counterparts.

OK so how do we get back to grandfather clocks and how to classify them.  I guess I first may owe an apology (even though I did not say anything this time, I just thought it) to the young man who tried to sell us his battery driven antique grandfather clock that used to belong to his grandmother who got it as a gift twenty or thirty years ago.

Live and learn.  Time and time again!

Grandfather Clocks Movements – Replace or Repair

08.27.09

In more modern grandfather clocks, there are 3 major categories of grandfather clocks with related movements, which are cable driven grandfather clocks, chain driven grandfather clocks, and quartz grandfather clocks, which are battery operated (there is also a tubular chime grandfather clock which has yet a different movement, but these clocks, while perhaps the most collectible, are the least collected because of their high price tag — so not addressed in this post).

The finest of the 3 movements, in our opinion, is the cable-driven mechanical clock. These magnificent timepieces, especially when the movements are made by the leading German movement makers Hermle and Kieninger, can in our experience expect to have a true heirloom life expectancy of 50-100 years with proper care, literally spanning several generations. The movements are generally 8 days, so winding once a week keeps then running continuously. The chime quality is the best because one actually hears the hammer striking the chime rod on each note. And cable driven movements can come with many bells and whistles, such as automatic nightime shut-off options, and many have triple chimes, with 2 in addition to the Westminster Chime. The downsides are there is no volume control for practical purposes, and grandfather clocks with these movements tend to be the priciest, though within a wide price range.

Grandfather clocks with chain-driven movements have some advantages and disadvantages as well. The movements themselves are smaller, so they are generally put in smaller cases, resulting in grandfather clocks with less height and depth than average. Many are attached to chain-driven clocks for sentimental reasons, especially if one grew up with one in one’s home. They are generally less expensive. They are also mostly 8 Day Movements, so if one “winds” the three weights by pulling down on each of the 3 chains once a week, the clock will run continuously. The only downsides we see with this type of movement are that the associated grandfather clocks do not generally have the same “bells and whistles”, e.g. automatic nighttime shutoff, or a moving and working moonphase dial. Perhaps the biggest downside in our experience is that the lifetime expectancy on a grandfather clock with a chain-driven movement is perhaps roughly half of what it might be for a cable-driven grandfather clock movement — in our experience maybe 25-50 years for a chain-driven grandfather clocks vs. 50-100+ years for a cable-driven grandfather clocks.

Now quartz grandfather clocks, which are battery operated, have a separate set of pros and cons. The pros are they are the least expensive to purchase, they have volume control, most have auto-night shut-off, and one does not need to remember to wind one! The cons are that the cases tend to be not as nice as those grandfather clocks housed with mechanical movements, and the sound of the chimes is not as good as with a mechanical grandfather clock. The reason for that is with a quartz grandfather clock one is actually listening to the chimes on a sound chip, and it has a higher pitch and “tinnier” sound. In our experience, a high quality quartz movement for a grandfather clock might be expected to last 10-25 years.

The good news for all 3 of these types of clocks is that the movements can either be repaired or replaced, even many many years later (we will go out on a limb here, be futuristic, and say they should be available for the next 100+ years, if a replacement movement is needed). Proper care and maintenance of a clock, including a “check-up” with cleaning and oiling every 5 years, is a must to preserve the longevity of your clock. When parts where out, and they will, there is always the question of whether it is cost-effective to simply replace the movement, or to fix the worn or broken parts, e.g. worn pivots or a broken wheel.

Quartz movements are generally most cost efficient to have replaced. They are inexpensive. With cable driven and chain-driven grandfather clocks, one really needs to look carefully at the pros and the cons of each action, with a special focus on the cost and likely longevity factor weighing in with either choice for a grandfather clock. Currently, there would not seem to be a reason to keep the clock “all original”, but tell that to the kid who’s mom threw out his old junk baseball card collection in a house clean-up. The conventional wisdom and collectibility factor could be a set of changing rules over time.

Have a grandfather clocks service center that you trust makes all the difference. We might also recommend getting 2 opinions if that is possible in your situation.

If one is horologically inclined, one could even order a new movement directly from an authorized supplier, such as Merritts.com or BlackForestImports.com. One needs all the numbers and markings on the back of the clock to be most certain-likely to get the “exact” or close to exact movement.

Any specific grandfather clocks questions or comments, please feel free to post them here at GrandfatherClocksBlog.com, operated by 1-800-4CLOCKS.com.

Grandfather Clocks and Ignorance and Stupidity

07.27.09

Most readers of this Blog will have heard of the book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”.

Well, interestingly, one of the reasons we entered this business many years ago is that, aside from our joy from and pleasure with dealing with clocks customers and the public at large, we also found satisfying our relationships with people in the profession worldwide to be trustworthy, trouble-free and enjoyable. We work around the globe, and a very significant percentage of our business is outside of North America.

Of the many times we deal with grandfather clocks service centers around the globe, we have by and large been pleased with the quality and integrity in our dealings, and the fact that the starting point, whether it was with wall clocks, mantel clocks, or a grandfather clock, was one of trust and mutual respect.

We have found this to be as true for people who are customers as for those who service the various grandfather clocks, mantle clocks, and wall clock models.

Well, everyone we suppose has their weaknesses, not to mention their brighter and dimmer moments. And the current deep recessionary climate has obviously taken its toll across almost all sectors and many millions of individuals. Economic pressure affects different people to different degrees, not even to mention that different industries and companies and individuals are all affected to varying and various degrees.

Now for the $64,000 question, or the BIG question, for those who may be too young to recognize the name of that long-ago television game show whose title became part of the American lexicon. Does this poor economic climate make people meaner? More short-tempered? More cautious? Less thoughtful?

Interestingly, among our customer base, aside from seeing a dramatic increase in the number of those who want to know what their antique grandfather clocks, or weight driven wall clocks, or nested bell chiming mantel clocks are worth, customers are just as nice, and just as respectful. There is no doubt and no surprise grandfather clocks customers of all types are searching for the best deals available, and we would be shocked if that were not the case.

Now clock and watch repair people, of which we are also, seem to be another story. It has been noted by many and is more or less accepted as fact, that clock repair people, also known as clocksmiths, and watch repair people, also known as watchsmiths, are a dying breed — only in the sense they they (we) are dwindling in numbers and the demand for services is decreasing as well. While there has been some resurgence in the collecting of antique clocks, and eBay has helped fuel an increase in pocket watch collecting, the general trends are undeniable, particularly when including the younger generations. It will be quite interesting to see if the iPod and iPhone generation purchase the best watches by Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Vacheron, and Patek, not even to mention Casio or Timex, or whether their wrists will be sporting something else. Even this ignores the unrelenting rise of the quartz movement vs. the mechanical movement, which greatly effects the repairs that might or might not be necessary over the life of any given watch.

But have clocksmiths changed their ways, or are they still on pretty good behavior the way consumers purchasing or shopping for grandfather clocks, atomic clocks, mantel clocks and wall clocks seem to be? Well, we know we have not changed our ways. Most all of those we deal with day in and day out are as great in every way as usual. We notice some concern up-front about the timing of payment, but that is natural given the state of the current economy.

One rather shocking development has been, in our view, how people react to things they are not familiar with or and perhaps ignorant about, when addressing new ways of marketing grandfather clocks. We had proposed an absolute win-win situation for clocksmiths to raise their internet profile, knowing by and large that this group as a whole is not exactly on the leading edge in this arena. Our sense is the economic climate has given many of them more time on their hands to be fretful about things they know little about. We will not comment here on the amazingly irresponsible vitriol from those who perhaps knew least what they were talking about. One can only hope they know more when it comes to grandfather clocks and mantel clocks. Wall clocks and atomic clocks too.

We took some time comfort and read with amusement something that may well apply to the small minority of the most outspoken ignorant individuals regarding grandfather clocks marketing. Read on.

THIS IS PROVIDED WITH HUMILITY and a note of levity, and we feel only might apply to people whose ignorance, whether about grandfather clocks, or wall clocks, or marketing or the internet, lead them to say things and do things that are truly reprehensible by any standard measure of clocks decency.

About “stupid” people. No offense. While they constitute the last category of humanity deemed fair game for name-calling — nitwit, halfwit, dumbass, doofus, dullard, imbecile, simpleton, moron, cretin, boob, dope, nincompoop, dolt, etc. – their stupidity isn’t a moral failing or weakness of character. Their handicap is just an accident of birth. This is excerpted from an article in today’s Advertising Age on another subject entirely.

We love most all of our grandfather clocks colleagues. Every profession has its dregs. Clocks rule!

Grandfather Clocks for Sale-Discounts

07.22.09

In the current economic climate, which we believe firmly is just beginning to emerge from the recession (and yes, we do have a credible Economics background), discounts and sales are something that are increasingly on the minds of grandfather clocks shopper and other shoppers just about everywhere.  Thankfully for our industry, despite this latest and longest downturn in our lifetime, we find many individuals, or rather they find us, who view clocks and timepieces as purchases important enough not to be put off until a time that might be more convenient financially.

Most certainly, customers are inquiring more about the 12 month zero & financing we offer on grandfather clocks and all new clocks which cost $1,000 or more.  And yes,we have wheeler dealer types who come into our shop and call us and try to get the best deals possible.  It’s human nature, and it is especially smart of them in this recessionary time period.

We have certain discounts available which with some manufacturers we are severely discouraged from being price aggressive online.  Others less so.  But so many of our clients are return clocks shopping customers that it has fortunately become less of an issue.

Interesting, and sadly, two of our biggest competitors in the New York City area are gone and it does not appear as though they will be resurrected.  One is the Astor Club, long-known for selling both pianos and grandfather clocks.  The other, much better known, is Fortunoff, which has gone into Chapter 11 for a second time in a year (as we understand it), and this time, as we understand it, it is likely gone for good.  Sad, because it was truly a great store in many ways.

Someone has even suggested to us that with Fortunoff’s demise, we should change our tag line to 1-800-4CLOCKS.com, The New Source?

All you time travelers and collectors and clocks enthusiasts, please let us know.

Discount Grandfather Clock

06.29.09

Where is the best place to purchase a discount grandfather clock, whether it is a new Howard Miller Grandfather Clock or a special antique grandfather clock?

We feel we know the answer, because it is from the source for all the best information and prices relating to grandfather clocks, which is 1-800-4CLOCKS.

1-800-4CLOCKS.com has a lowest price guarantee posted and explained on their website, which should give internet shoppers especially a high level of comfort.  They are also members of the Better Business Bureau in good standing, as well as being part of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce community.

The brands that are carried are only those of the highest quality, NOT any of the many cheaply made imports now flooding all shopping channels, from some nice department stores to all across the internet, including cheap grandfather clock kits, which, like the others, frequently have many plastic parts and in some cases require difficult assembly of in our view very cheaply made parts.

Most all of our mechanical grandfather clocks have high-end German made grandfather clock movements, and have solid wood cases generally made either in the USA or Germany.

So if you are serious about buying a high quality grandfather clock, you should check out www.1-800-4CLOCKS.com.  In the summertime, grandfather clocks are common high-end gifts to couples getting married, as well as graduation present, special birthday presents, and gifts for that hard to find milestone wedding anniversary gift.

Hey, it’s what we do.  And love doing it!

Mechanical Grandfather Clocks – To Wind or to Allow to Wind Down

01.08.09

The vast majority of high-end mechanical grandfather clocks, whether they have cable driven movements or the chain driven movement type, have 8 day movements.  This means the movements, when fully wound, will run for eight days.  This is true for Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, Hermle Floor Clocks, the Ridgeway Grandfather Clock Collection, Bulova Grandfather Clocks, and the made-to-order Kieninger Grandfather Clock Collection.

One question we are asked with some regularity is whether a grandfather clock can be damaged if it is allowed to wind down completely, or if it is stopped – by stopping the pendulum – while the weights are, say, halfway down.  The short answer is no, this should not hurt the mechanism of one’s grandfather clock.  The grandfather clocks are built to both withstand the pressure of the weights if they are partially down or fully down.  When winding a chain-driven clock, it is important, as it would be all the time, not to pull the chains too hard so that the weights go higher than they should.  But this would not be any different whether the chains are being pulled up after 7 days or after the clock has stopped and fully wound down after eight days.

Many super high quality grandfather clocks in fine condition that have been owned by the person writing this post have been left more or less as decorative pieces vs. timekeepers and chimers, in some cases for years, and these floor clocks are no worse for the wear, or perhaps the lack of wear!

Grandfather clock maintenance is of course still critical, with most experts recommending a cleaning and oiling at least every 3 years, as the oil will tend to dry out over time and cause more wear on the internal mechanism if it is not sufficiently lubricated.

Oh, and to start your grandfather clock up again if it has stopped (aside from any necessary winding, of course), don’t forget to move the pendulum on your mechanical grandfather clock with gentle nudges or pushes or swings from each side until you hear it ticking away and can hear a consistent ticking sound, known in the trade as being “in beat”.

Wishing all clock collectors, admirers, and everone else in the world a happy, healthy, and peaceful 2009!

Grandfather Clocks Floor Clocks Tallcase Clocks or Longcase Clocks

11.30.08

Whether you call your grandfather clock a Floor Clock, or refer to grandfather clocks as long case clocks or tall case clocks has a lot to do with which side of the Atlantic you were raised, or possibly what century in time one happened to be born into.  In the USA and Canada, grandfather clocks have been known as well, grandfather clocks, for well over a hundred years, after the well known Grandfather Clocks Song, which not only swept the nation, but also the North American vernacular.

Historically, in England and Western Europe in general, grandfather clocks were and still are referred to more frequently as Tallcase clocks or Longcase clocks.  The Floor Clock vocabulary has been used on both sides of the Atlantic, and has been reinforced over the years by the major makers of grandfather clocks, including Hermle Clocks, the Howard Miller Grandfather Clock company, Ridgeway Floor Clocks, the Bulova Grandfather Clocks Collection, and Kieninger Floor Clocks.

The grandfather clock and floor clock words are used relatively interchangeably today, even by many grandfather clock shoppers today at 1-800-4CLOCKS.

Grandmother Clocks is another term which is frequently asked about, with the only major difference being the height of the clock. Other than the height, in most instances, the two terms can be used reasonably interchangably.

Oh, and grandfather clocks are sometimes referred to as granfather clocks or grandfathers clocks, or even grand father clocks.  These are just simple common misconceptions of what the correct words and terminology are.

Granddaughter Clocks are smaller, and Grandson Clocks, actually introduced by 1-800-4CLOCKS much earlier this year, are even smaller.  Keep an eye out for them at a retailer near you.

The Many Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Grandfather Clock, Part I

08.29.08

Buying a grandfather clock is a very big purchase, one that should be considered carefully. After all, if done right, this should be the only purchase you will ever have to make (unless of course you love your grandfather clock so much that you decide you need an additional clock to place somewhere else in your home). Grandfather clocks are purchases made for a lifetime, as a clock made by top manufacturers can last for generations.

Online consumers will find the ability to purchase grandfather clocks from suppliers that are authorized dealers for some of the most renowned clock makers in the world, including Howard Miller grandfather clocks, Kieninger grandfather clocks, and Ridgeway grandfather clocks. Once you find the site and the manufacturer that you want to work with, it comes down to choosing the grandfather clock that works best for your home. To this end, be sure to consider:

* Size. This is the most important consideration of all, as you would hate to choose a grandfather clock only to later determine that it won’t fit in the room. Before you begin looking at grandfather clock sizes, you need to first determine the room and exact spot your grandfather clock will occupy. Perhaps you have a living room with cathedral ceilings – which would make your height consideration very different than if you choose to put your grandfather clock in a low ceilinged room. Choose your spot, measure accurately, and then choose your grandfather clock.

* Style. Just as important as choosing a grandfather clock that physically fits the room is choosing a grandfather clock that fits the room in terms of its style. Everything from contemporary to country style grandfather clocks can be found through online suppliers; be sure to choose a style in line with the room in question and the home overall.

In the next post, we’ll list some more things to consider when purchasing a grandfather clock.

Give the Gift of Melody This Upcoming Holiday Season with Grandfather Clocks

08.23.08

Sure it’s August and the weather is hardly something that reminds us that fall is coming. But the truth is that in just a few short weeks it will indeed be fall, followed quite closely indeed by the coming of the holiday season. While it makes no sense to panic about the December holiday while summer is still upon us, it does make sense to at least keep an open mind in terms of planning for special gifts in advance – especially if those gifts are something that will require some careful selection and planning in terms of shipping arrangements.

For that special someone in your life – or even just to delight yourself and those visiting your home this holiday season – why not consider a grandfather clock? Today, more than ever, shopping for grandfather clocks has become easy and convenient. Online grandfather clock suppliers offer extensive selections of grandfather clocks in all styles including country, contemporary, traditional, and others. Better yet, these suppliers offer grandfather clocks from some of the most reputable clock manufacturers in the world including Howard Miller grandfather clocks, Kieninger grandfather clocks, and Ridgeway grandfather clocks.

While grandfather clocks may be tricky to purchase as gifts they could easily be the perfect present for someone very close to you and whom you know very well. Choose a grandfather clock that is in keeping with the person’s style (if they like antiques then a contemporary grandfather clock won’t make much sense) and account for the space they have in their home (what good is a great grandfather clock if there’s nowhere to put it?).

In the end, a grandfather clock that is given as a gift will likely always hold a special place in the recipient’s heart and could very well become the family’s next important heirloom.

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