Grandfather clocks

Grandfather Clocks Week

05.13.14

Grandfather Clocks are an integral part of USA history and the American way of life.  Therefore, by this proclamation, 1-800-4CLOCKS has declared that the week beginning May 12th every year shall now and forever be known as Grandfather Clocks Week.

While grandfather clocks, originally known as long case and tall case clocks and invented in the mid 1600s in England, they made their way over to the so-called New World, with earliest production taking place in a States like Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York and Boston.  Probably the earliest made and most sought after antique grandfather clocks came from Pennsylvania.  Other later arrivals, by companies such as early Seth Thomas Clocks Grandfather Clocks and E Howard Regulators, among others, are still highly sought after to this day.

Farmers were among the earliest users of grandfather clocks, with one critical function being the rotating moon dial which showed – and still shows – when there will be a full moon, which is every 29 1/2 days.  Early American farmers found this useful both for planning when to plant crops, as well as when to pick and harvest their Earthly bounty.

Many are not aware that the term or phrase grandfather clock first began to take hold in the USA because of an American song that came out in 1876 by the composer Henry Clay Work titled “My Grandfather’s Clock”.  We have written about this song extensively on our 1-800-4CLOCKS.com website and in this blog, but suffice it to say here that the song was a huge hit, and these timekeepers formally known as Long Case and tall case clocks started to be called Grandfather Clocks and Grandmother Clocks. Other terms used include Floor Clocks and Hall Clocks.

Interestingly, the term Floor Clocks is used almost exclusively by Howard Miller Clocks for their Grandfather Clocks and Grandmother Clocks.  Howard Miller currently has the largest high-end market share, as well as much market cache, for its Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks. Yet you will see on Howard Miller’s own website it refers to Howard Miller Floor Clocks.

Other major makers of hi-end grandfather clocks include Hermle Clocks, Ridgeway Clocks, 1-800-4CLOCKS’ own Museum Clocks, Kieninger Clocks, Americana Clocks and others.  Interestingly, Hermle Clocks, a German Company, has started to make some of its finest grandfather clocks right here in the USA, in Virginia.  We hope to see more Made in USA grandfather clocks, as are most of both Howard Miller’s and Ridgeway Clocks.

Any special suggestions as to how to celebrate and commemorate Grandfather Clocks Week, beginning this Friday on May 2nd?  We of course will be having some special sales!  Always feel free to call us about any pricing flexibility we may have.  And most of all, we would like to hear the thoughts of all the clock enthusiasts out there, so please feel free to call, email or post a comment on our Grandfather Clocks Blog right here and now.

Putting an 8 Day Deadbeat Grandfather Clock Movement into “Beat”

02.10.14

These instructions were written specifically for Hermle Grandfather Clocks, but should in general work with other high-end brands of mechanical grandfather clocks including Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, Kieninger Grandfather Clocks and Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks.  When in doubt, consulting an expert grandfather clock technician in always a wise option, and we would highly recommend it.  Furthermore, we can only warrant these Grandfather Clock Instructions for what you have paid for reading them.

Pull down on upper leader and move to the left approximately 1 ½” and release. You will feel tension but this is normal.  It would not be unusual if one needed help in understanding what a leader means as it relates to a grandfather clock movement, and its associated pendulum.  On the back of the grandfather clock movement, one will see a horizontal post that has a suspension spring attached to it.  If that spring is broken, the grandfather clock will not run. You may want to purchase the grandfather clock parts yourself, which we would only recommend if you are something of a clock expert, or you may want to call in an expert grandfather clock technician local to you.

Your grandfather clock also has a pendulum leader (generally about 5-8 inches long).  The pendulum leader hooks on to the suspension spring and the grandfather clock’s pendulum hangs on to its bottom.  There is also a lever that comes out from the top of the grandfather clock movement, is angled down, and it either goes through, or around the pendulum leader.  This is what pushes the pendulum.  If this particular lever either binds with or is not in contact with the pendulum leader, the grandfather clock will not run.

Pull down once again and pull the leader back to the right approximately 1”, and then release it.  Gently pull down a shift from left to right, stopping each time to see if you have an even beat. Once you have an even beat you then will be able to place your pendulum back on your clock, and as long as it is in beat – with an even left to right sound – it should work fine.

Once you are able to begin getting your pendulum to “tick-tock” one will need to listen to see if it is an even sound.  If not it is not in beat, with a rhythmic and synchronous “tick-tock”, first gently stop the pendulum.  One will then need to gently pull down on the pendulum and pull to left a small amount and then start the grandfather clock’s pendulum, gently pushing it from left to right, and listen again for the smooth grandfather clocks beat.

We always welcome comments to improve any instructions.  If one is not clear about how to adjust your grandfather clock, it is always best to bring in a grandfather clocks expert to make any adjustments or repairs.

Grandfather Clock Repair

Grandfather Clocks Repair

Grandfather Clock Owners Manual

11.05.13

Behind the grandfather clock dial that shows time is the grandfather clock movement that keeps the hands telling time, as well as the grandfather clock chiming mechanism, and connected to that mechanism the weights and pendulum that drive the operation of the grandfather clock.  When doing anything new with a grandfather clock, whether moving the grandfather clock, setting and starting it up for the very first time, or troubleshooting for whatever clock reason, the Grandfather Clock Owner’s Manual or Grandfather Clock Instruction Guide can be the go to place for clock information about how to do things right., whether it is a grandfather clock setup, a repair, or even changing the time for Daylight Savings time.

Most all grandfather clocks from high-end makers like Howard Miller Clocks, Hermle Clocks, Kieninger Clocks, Ridgeway Clocks and others come with a reasonably extensive manual with the basic How Tos for the new owner or the not so new owner revisiting this Grandfather Clock Instruction Manual and thinking of it as the first line of offense and defense to both manage the grandfather clock optimally while maintaining it correctly, to what do do if something is not right or something is quite wrong with the operation of the grandfather clock.

Interestingly, Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks, which are considered certainly amongst the highest-end grandfather clocks, call all of their grandfather clocks floor clocks, and the Owners Manual even says Guide to Howard Miller Floor Clock Operation.  This is likely because it does not distinguish between grandmother clocks and hall clocks and tallcase clocks and longcase clocks, and many people do use the term Floor Clock, though we believe it to be a relatively small minority of the public, much less grandfather clock shoppers and horologists alike.

If you want to set some of the special features of your grandfather clock, like automatic night shutoff, or switch from the Westminster Chime to the Ave Maria Chime or reset the rotating moonphase Dial, the grandfather clocks instruction guide or owner’s manual would be a good place to go.  Similarly, people who have received a grandfather clock that has already been used, either from an inheritance or estate, or a gift from a friend who is moving, or bought at a local yard sale or antique store, one of the first steps the new owner will take is to attempt to get the instruction manual for his or her clock.  This is definitely one of our most frequently asked questions.

Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks Manual Cover

Howard Miller Grandfather Clock Instruction Manual

 

 

 

How Much is My Grandfather Clock Worth?

10.25.13

One of the most common inquiries we get at our stores selling grandfather clocks and other furniture and wall and mantel clocks, is what is the worth of my xyz grandfather clock.  Despite being one of the most common grandfather clock questions we get, it is a very difficult one to answer.  One of the defining factors is whether the clock is one of the many antique grandfather clocks out there, and if so, a grandfather clock by which maker, the condition, the look, the quality, whether everything is all original, and how and where one is planning to sell the grandfather clock.  Generally speaking, there should not be any major difference in the worth or appraisal of comparable grandmother clocks vs grandfather clocks.  They are both Floor Clocks.

For new grandfather clocks such as Howard Miller grandfather clocks, Hermle Grandfather Clocks, Kieninger Grandfather Clocks and the Ridgeway and Americana Grandfather Clock Collections, we generally always advise that a grandfather clock purchase, even of one these high-end grandfather clock and furniture brands, should generally not be thought of as a purchase for investment purposes, even if you are at the greatest grandfather clocks sale with a grandfather clock discount wherever you turn.  Yes, many if not most of these clocks can and should be reasonably thought of as heirloom quality grandfather clocks that should live through many generations, and perhaps fought over as cherished heirlooms within families.  Many of the calls we get of from people either liquidating an estate with one or more grandfather clocks or from a family member who wants to try to establish the grandfather clock worth for a trade of sorts within a family.  Additionally, while on this point, grandfather clock estate planning is something we have seen quite frequently, with parents wanting to make certain that each of their children are give grandfather clocks that they each can and will cherish, and so their own grandfather clock bequest with be either predefined or a non-issue.

Establishing the value of a vintage grandfather clock, whether one of the Howard Miller Clocks or a Hermle Clock or Ridgeway Clock, can be near impossible to do with any high degree of  either confidence or accuracy.  Yes, when it was made, of what wood(s), what grandfather clock chimes it has, the condition of the grandfather clock movement, any special features such as auto-nighttime shutoff all do matter, but aside from not knowing what the condition of the grandfather clock is on the inside, whether everything is all original, the condition and style of the case, there is the reality that the grandfather clock will be worth what somebody is willing to pay for it, and there are hundreds of variables that can effect that.  People frequently have a difficult time understand that reality.  There is also the question of what the age of the clock does to the value of a grandfather clock, and that is also a question with many layers to any coherent answer.  A true antique grandfather clock, like an antique car, can be worth a lot more than it might otherwise, but what happens before then is especially uncharted territory by definition.

Whether you are selling your grandfather clock at a yard sale, or on Craigslist or on eBay, or at a store in general, or perhaps one of the finest antique stores, there can be many price points, and aside from the sale venue, how long one is willing to wait and advertise and publicize their grandfather clock sale, and what credibility they might have, also matter importantly.  Another critical factor is the coat of shipping, and associated with that the risk of damage, which can be very expensive, especially for an individual.  Even moving the grandfather clock, unless one knows what they are doing, is fraught with the risk of damaging the grandfather clock during the move.

The simplest answer therefore, if one is buying a grandfather clock, is simply what it is worth to you for your home decor value, and what risk or level of confidence do you have that there are no hidden issues with the grandfather clock.  If you pay no more than it is worth as a piece of high-end furniture to be appreciated by interior decorators and visitors alike, there is no way you can go wrong with that grandfather clock or floor clock purchase.  That is the best advice.

What is my grandfather clock worth?

How Much is My Grandfather Clock Worth?

 

 

Ohio Grandfather Clock

10.15.13

On the second floor of the Capitol Building stands a grandfather clock that had garnered a lot of attention in the news about the Countdown to a potential Government Financial default and counting up of the days since the Federal Government has shut down and “non-essential” workers remain at home.  During this Debt Ceiling Limit and Government Budget showdown, the so-called Ohio Grandfather Clock made by Thomas Voigt actually stopped running, and that was a euphemism to many that our Government was indeed broken. The Senate purchased the clock in 1815 from Thomas Voigt.  The rumor is that the clock was meant to celebrate Ohio joining the Country because the clock has 17 stars and Ohio was the 17th state to join.   However, there is no proof that the rumor is true and the clock was ordered 12 years later when there were 18 states in the Union. The big, wide Senate hall just outside the back of the Senate Chamber, on the second floor of the Capitol, attracts dozens of reporters every Tuesday around lunchtime.

Democrats meet privately in a room on the far right (as one walks away from the president’s room) while Republicans meet around the corner. Arrive around 12:30 p.m. to get senators as they go in, then leave around 1:15 p.m. Come back at 1:45 and get ‘em as they go out.

The more in-demand senators will go to special microphones to the right of the clock around 2:15. Be sure to bring a tape recorder.

The Ohio Clock, standing in what is now known in the Capitol as the Ohio Clock Corridor, is an imposing grandfather’s clock opposite the main doors of the chamber, is often cited as a place to meet sources — easy to find, easy to remember.

Thomas Voigt 1815 Grandfather Clock on Second Floor of US Capitol outside Senate Chambers in Ohio Corridor

The government shutdown was ironic from the moment it began — It all happened over the health care law, which started registration the moment the government shut down at midnight on Oct. 1.

Over the days since, the United States has witnessed a variety of strange consequences. Here is s a look at the weirdest effects of the shutdown, from a panda cam going dark to the hands on a historic Senate clock frozen in place to bored Congressional workers.

Clock hands ‘frozen’ in place
Credit: U.S. Senate

The hands of the Senate’s historic Ohio Clock are frozen at 12:14, according to NBC News. The curators tasked to wind the 11-foot-tall (3.4 meters) clock have been furloughed, last winding the clock on Sept. 30.

Despite its name and the shield with 17 stars on the front of it, the clock is not meant to celebrate the 17th state Ohio’s statehood, according to the U.S. Senate. In 1815, Sen. David Daggett of Connecticut ordered the clock from clockmaker Thomas Voigt. Though Sen. Daggett gave fairly detailed instructions about the clock’s appearance, he didn’t mention anything about it commemorating Ohio or how many stars should be placed on the shield.

“The dial to be about two feet in diameter, an hour, minute and second hand, a Spread Eagle on the top and the United States arms at foot. We wish it good and handsome and expect to pay accordingly,” read the order for the clock, according to the U.S. Senate website.

Complete Resource of Information on Grandfather Clocks

10.09.13

When shopping for grandfather clocks online, or looking for the best grandfather clock discount, knowledge of the market is critical to any savvy buyer.  Unless one happens to be an expert at their local Grandfather Clock Store or Furniture Retail Store which may have grandfather clocks on sale, the array of choices can become very hard to create a climate where a floor clock buyer feels he or she is in control.  This is compounded by the fact that more and more grandfather clock stores have gone out of business, and those that remain have significantly curtailed the number of grandfather clocks they may have on display on their showroom floor.  This is true because the economics of selling clocks of all kinds, whether floor clocks or mantel clocks or wall clocks or cuckoo clocks, have changed dramatically over the last decades.

Whether you are looking for a Howard Miller Grandfather Clock, a Kieninger Floor Clock, one of the Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks or a Hermle Grandfather Clock, a sophisticated shopper is likely to run into the same grandfather clock shopping questions and issues regardless of where in the USA, Canada, or other parts of the world the consumer or individual may be located.  It is relatively easy to see many grandfather clocks online, but trying to see the one you are most interested in by a particular maker, whether it be one of the Howard Miller Clocks or Hermle Clocks or Ridgeway or Kieninger Clocks, finding the clock to view in person can be a challenge.

In response to that, clock retailers like 1-800-4CLOCKS, in addition to the obvious toll-free service and advice they provide, have also created resources for shoppers to at least begin to understand the different both between and within grandfather clock brands, as well as the type of movements and musical chimes available, the wood used, which is solid hardwood for most all cases, and what the pros and cons are between different clocks, styles, movements, manufacturers, price points, features and much more.

The Grandfather Clocks Blog was launched, in fact, to be a thorough and highly searchable resource for someone who wants to learn not only about new grandfather clocks, but also antique grandfather clocks and Vintage grandfather clocks.

Here are but a few of the titles of blog posts we have used to be the best single source of information for grandfather clock buyers:

Moving Grandfather Clocks

Antique Grandfather Clock Prices

Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks Setup Video

El Howard Miller Video de Como Construir su Reloj de Caja

Granfather Clocks

Types Grandfather Clocks Tops Swans Neck Bonnet Flat or Round Styles

Clocks Index

Grandfather Clocks Information

Grandfather Clock History Revisited

Discounts Grandfather Clocks

Tick Tock Tick Tock

Grandfather Clock Diagram

Grandfather Clock Buying Guide

Tempus Fugit Grandfather Clocks Means Time Flies

Hermle Grandfather Clocks on sale

Grandfather Clocks Discount

Presidential Grandfather Clocks by Howard Miller

Clock Collecting Across Generations

Black Forest Grandfather Clocks

Grandfather Clock Showroom

Chiming Grandfather Clocks

Discount Grandfather Clocks

Grandfather Clocks Made in America

Grandfather Clocks Running Fast Slow Over Time

Grandfather Clocks Private White House Office

Big Ben Clock Turns 150 Today and is As Good as Old

Grandfather Clocks Running Fast Slow How Fix

Discount Grandfather Clock

Grandfather Clocks Make Beautiful Heirlooms

Grandfather Clocks Tallcase Clock Long Case Clock

Grandfather Clocks Wedding Anniversary Presents

Grandfather Clocks eBay

Unusual Grandfather Clocks

Grandfather Clocks Antique or Not

Grandfather Clocks for Sale-Discounts

Grandfather Clocks Howard Miller vs Ridgeway

We also hope you will out 1-800-4CLOCKS.com website, as well as ClocksBlog.com to see even many more resources to help make your clock shopping experience most valuable.  And remember, we at 1-800-4CLOCKS never use a call center and always have knowledgeable grandfather clock people who will be available to answer any questions you may have.

Grandfather Clock Complete Resource Guide

Grandfather Clock Complete Resource Guide

Grandfather Clocks History Past-Present

10.07.13

Some grandfather clock history and clocks history never gets old.  Just look at the stories of Simon Willard, Aaron Willard and Benjamin Willard.  An article written in 1936 is still as informative and interesting to a clocks historian as one written today.  Grandfather Clocks enthusiasts are sure to minimally find this interesting.

Richmond Times-Dispatch
May 24, 1936

Grandfather Clocks, Some Genuine Old-Timers Still Tick Off Hours or Chime Timely Melodies, Proof of Care Their Makers Used

Many things had been discussed by the little group seated behind the plate glass window of a Franklin Street store. And that isn’t exactly true either. Many things had been broached, but the discussion was almost wholly a monologue by the host, a veteran of many a trek into the hinterlands of the antique country and a recognized authority on early American antiques. Now and then a listening member would throw a few words into the conversation, more to keep the oratory flowing than for any factual use, until at last someone uttered those well-worn last words: “What time is it getting to be?”

Subconsciously glances were directed toward the tall dominating grandfather clock against the far wall. Then they fell back to modern wrist-watches and there was a concerted start–for watch and clock pointed to the same hour. No one mentioned it, but there was a subtle sort of mental agreement that it was all “just a coincidence.” But it wasn’t. That old grandfather’s clock was still keeping time, and correct time. “How come?” I lingered to question the antique dealer. And thereby came this tale, a story of famous old American clocks and clockmakers.  It seems that– when Simon Willard was 13 years old he made his first “grandfather” clock. When he was 82 he made the large clock in the Capitol at Washington. He was born in 1753, lived to be 95 years old, and left behind him some of the best and most beautiful clocks that have ever been made.

Simon Willard had no grand ideas about organization, sales promotion and production. He did all his work in the space of four rooms. It is good to think that Simon’s clocks, which were made by hand and with infinite care and solicitude, command a higher price today than those made by Aaron Willard, his brother, who opened up a factory and turned out watches and clocks by the hundreds.

Side by side in a Richmond, Virginia antique shop may be seen a grandfather clock made by Simon Willard and one by Aaron Willard. To the connoisseur with blood in his eye the clock made by Simon is much the finer. To the casual onlooker both the clocks are rare examples of early American grandfather (or long case) clocks.

A Simon Willard “Grandfather” clock (left), which is still in first-class condition. The case is very handsome with its curved fretwork on top. Phases of the moon and the days of the month are both given. Simon Willard made his first Grandfather clock at the age of 13.
A Simon Willard shelf clock (right). The Willards’ called these clocks, which were made as early as 1784, timepieces, because they did not strike. The works are made of brass.

 

Benjamin Willard, who started making clocks in 1764, was the father of Aaron and Simon, and the first of this famous Massachusetts family to engage in clock-making. In the Boston Gazette for February 22, 1771, he advertised, “Musical clocks playing different tunes, a new tune every day in the week, and on Sunday a Psalm tune. These tunes perform every hour.”

Reliable Clocks Kept Puritan Sabbath

And such is the reliability of a Willard clock that there is no single record of a Puritan Sabbath being violated by week-day tunes. Likewise, the beauty and workmanship which went into the clock cases of Simon Willard is not the only reason these clocks bring good prices wherever antiques are sold: The clocks run and they keep good time.

Simon Willard was an inventor of genius, but that did not keep him from being a thrifty American. He thought that clocks ought to be good and that they ought to be cheap enough for an American to own one, and at the same time have money enough left for a house to put it in. He advertised little, relying on his clock papers (and his clocks) to put across his ideas. One of these clock papers tells his story:

A Simon Willard ‘Grandfather’ clock (left), which is still in first-class condition. The case very handsome with its curved fretwork on top. Phases of moon and days month are both given. Simon Willard made his first at age 13. A shelf (right). Willard called these clocks, were as early 1784, timepieces, because they did not strike. The works were brass.

“Simon Willard, at his Clock Dial in Roxbury Street, manufactures every kind of clock work, such as large clocks for steeples, made in the best manner. . . . Clocks that will run one year without winding up, with very elegant cases, price 100 dollars. . . . Elegant daytime pieces, price 30 dollars. Timepieces which run 30 hours and warranted, price 10 dollars. . . . Chime clocks that will play six tunes, price 120 dollars. . . . Gentlemen who wish to purchase any kind of clocks are invited to call at said Willard’s Clock Manufacture, where they will receive satisfactory evidence that it is much cheaper to purchase new than old and second-hand clocks. He warrants all his work–and as he is ambitious to give satisfaction–he doubts not of receiving public approbation and patronage.”

Willard Originated the “Banjo” Clock

Although Simon Willard knew the worth of his clocks, it is doubtful if he dreamed of the approbation and patronage they would receive less than a hundred years after his death. He set out to make serviceable clocks that thrifty Americans could buy with a clear conscience. What would he say if he could happen in today on some sale of rare antique clocks and see his paragons of thrift and mechanical perfection sold for prices for four figures? And the purchasers, descendants, perhaps, of those thrifty New England customers of his, glad to get them at that price and paying for them with a smile?

Aaron Willard turned out his clocks by the hundred. The clock at right is mahogany with inlay. The other clock is by Nathaniel Edwards of Acton, Mass.

In 1802 Willard brought out his patent timepiece, which was later called the banjo clock. It was a prodigious success. No improvement has since been made on the original design. The story goes that such accuracy did Willard have in his hand and eye that he habitually filed the teeth of his cogwheels without marking them; and that when someone asked him why he didn’t stamp his brass with markers, he replied that it was unnecessary–his wheels were accurate. And Simon Willard was right! One proud owner of a Willard order clock says that it has run within 30 seconds of accuracy for a month.

Simon Willard died during the turbulent year of 1848. He had retired from business in 1839 and sold his tools and the good will of the business (together with the privilege of putting the name Simon Willard on the dials) to Elnathan Taber, his best apprentice. Simon Willard Jr. took these clocks and sold them at his shop in Boston.

It was this son, Simon Jr., who made the astronomical clock now in the observatory of Harvard University. His astronomical regulator was standard time for all railroads in New England.

Since the first grandfather clock appeared in England in 1681, clockmakers in this country and abroad have given them thought and consideration, so that now, when the antique hunter goes clock hunting, there is every style, every wood and every price at his disposal for this useful and beautiful ornament.

Celebrating the Masterpiece London art and antiques fair with designer Elissa Cullman

05.16.13

Design’s boldface names gather in New York to toast this summer’s best art and antiques fair, Masterpiece London

Grandfather Clock Made in USA

05.05.13

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.

Grandfather Clock Made in USA

Grandmothersclocks.com

03.03.13

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:

 

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