Longcase clock

Longcase clock

Overview
A longcase clock, also tall-case clock, floor clock, or grandfather clock, is a tall, freestanding, weight-driven pendulum clock
Pendulum clock
A pendulum clock is a clock that uses a pendulum, a swinging weight, as its timekeeping element. The advantage of a pendulum for timekeeping is that it is a resonant device; it swings back and forth in a precise time interval dependent on its length, and resists swinging at other rates...

 with the pendulum
Pendulum
A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot so that it can swing freely. When a pendulum is displaced from its resting equilibrium position, it is subject to a restoring force due to gravity that will accelerate it back toward the equilibrium position...

 held inside the tower, or waist of the case. Clocks of this style are commonly 1.8–2.4 metres (6–8 feet) tall. The case often features elaborately carved ornamentation on the hood, or bonnet, which surrounds and frames the dial, or clock face
Clock face
A clock face is the part of an analog clock that displays the time through the use of a fixed numbered dial or dials and moving hands. In its most basic form, recognized universally throughout the world, the dial is numbered 1–12 indicating the hours in a 12-hour cycle, and a short hour hand...

.
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Encyclopedia
A longcase clock, also tall-case clock, floor clock, or grandfather clock, is a tall, freestanding, weight-driven pendulum clock
Pendulum clock
A pendulum clock is a clock that uses a pendulum, a swinging weight, as its timekeeping element. The advantage of a pendulum for timekeeping is that it is a resonant device; it swings back and forth in a precise time interval dependent on its length, and resists swinging at other rates...

 with the pendulum
Pendulum
A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot so that it can swing freely. When a pendulum is displaced from its resting equilibrium position, it is subject to a restoring force due to gravity that will accelerate it back toward the equilibrium position...

 held inside the tower, or waist of the case. Clocks of this style are commonly 1.8–2.4 metres (6–8 feet) tall. The case often features elaborately carved ornamentation on the hood, or bonnet, which surrounds and frames the dial, or clock face
Clock face
A clock face is the part of an analog clock that displays the time through the use of a fixed numbered dial or dials and moving hands. In its most basic form, recognized universally throughout the world, the dial is numbered 1–12 indicating the hours in a 12-hour cycle, and a short hour hand...

. The English clockmaker William Clement is credited with the development of this form in 1670. Most longcase clocks are striking clock
Striking clock
A striking clock is a clock that sounds the hours audibly on a bell or gong. In 12 hour striking, used most commonly in striking clocks today, the clock strikes once at 1 AM, twice at 2 AM, continuing in this way up to twelve times at 12 noon, then starts over, striking once at 1 PM, twice at 2...

s, which means they sound the time on each hour or fraction of an hour.

The terms "grandfather", "grandmother", and "granddaughter" have all been applied to longcase clocks. Although there is no specifically defined difference among these terms, the general consensus seems to be that a clock smaller than 1.5 m (5 ft) is a granddaughter; over 1.5 m (5 ft) is a grandmother; and over 1.8 m (6 ft) is a grandfather.

Origin



The advent of the longcase clock is due to the invention of the anchor escapement
Anchor escapement
In horology, the recoil or anchor escapement is a type of escapement used in pendulum clocks. An escapement is the mechanism in a mechanical clock that maintains the swing of the pendulum and allows the clock's wheels to advance a fixed amount with each swing, moving the hands forward...

 mechanism around 1670. Prior to that, pendulum clock movements used an older verge escapement
Verge escapement
The verge escapement is the earliest known type of mechanical escapement, the mechanism in a mechanical clock that controls its rate by advancing the gear train at regular intervals or 'ticks'. Its origin is unknown. Verge escapements were used from the 14th century until about 1800 in clocks...

 mechanism, which required very wide pendulum swings of about 80-100°. Long pendulums with such wide swings could not be fitted within a case, so most freestanding clocks had short pendulums. The anchor mechanism reduced the pendulum's swing to around 4° to 6°, allowing clockmakers to use longer pendulums, which had slower "beats". These needed less power to keep going, caused less friction and wear in the movement, and were more accurate. Most longcase clocks use a seconds pendulum
Seconds pendulum
A seconds pendulum is a pendulum whose period is precisely two seconds; one second for a swing in one direction and one second for the return swing, a frequency of 1/2 Hz....

(also called a "Royal" pendulum) meaning that each swing takes one second. These are about a metre (39 inches) long (to the centre of the bob), requiring a long narrow case. The long narrow case actually predated the anchor clock by a few decades, appearing in clocks in 1660 to allow a long drop for the powering weights. However, once the seconds pendulum began to be used, this long weight case proved perfect to house it as well.

Modern longcase clocks use a more accurate variation of the anchor escapement called the deadbeat escapement.

Origin of the term "grandfather clock"


The Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

states that the 1876 song, My Grandfather's Clock
My Grandfather's Clock
"My Grandfather's Clock" is a song written in 1876 by Henry Clay Work, the author of "Marching Through Georgia". It is a standard of British brass bands and colliery bands, and is also popular in bluegrass music.-Origin of the song:...

, is responsible for the common name "grandfather clock" being applied to the longcase clock. However, the term appears as early as 1817 in Ovid's Art of love, Remedy of love, Art of beauty, and Amours, by John Dryden Ovid.

Description



Traditionally, longcase clocks were made with two types of movement
Movement (clockwork)
In horology, a movement is the internal mechanism of a clock or watch, as opposed to the case, which encloses and protects the movement, and the face which displays the time. The term originated with mechanical timepieces, whose movements are made of many moving parts...

: eight-day and one-day (30-hour) movements. A clock with an eight-day movement required winding only once a week, while generally less expensive 30-hour clocks had to be wound every day. Eight-day clocks are often driven by two weights – one driving the pendulum and the other the striking mechanism, which usually consisted of a bell or chimes. Such movements usually have two keyholes on either side of the dial to wind each one (as can be seen in the Thomas Ross clock above). By contrast, 30-hour clocks often had a single weight to drive both the timekeeping and striking mechanisms. Some 30-hour clocks were made with false keyholes, for customers who wished that guests to their home would think that the household was able to afford the more expensive eight-day clock. All modern striking longcase clocks have eight-day movements. Most longcase clocks are cable-driven, meaning that the weights are suspended by cables. If the cable was attached directly to the weight, the load would cause rotation and untwist the cable strands, so the cable wraps around a pulley
Pulley
A pulley, also called a sheave or a drum, is a mechanism composed of a wheel on an axle or shaft that may have a groove between two flanges around its circumference. A rope, cable, belt, or chain usually runs over the wheel and inside the groove, if present...

 mounted to the top of each weight. The mechanical advantage
Mechanical advantage
Mechanical advantage is a measure of the force amplification achieved by using a tool, mechanical device or machine system. Ideally, the device preserves the input power and simply trades off forces against movement to obtain a desired amplification in the output force...

 of this arrangement also doubles the running time allowed by a given weight drop.

Cable clocks are wound by inserting a special crank (called a "key") into holes in the clock's face and turning it. Others, however, are chain-driven, meaning that the weights are suspended by chains that wrap around gears in the clock's mechanism, with the other end of the chain hanging down next to the weight. To wind a chain-driven longcase clock, one pulls on the end of each chain, lifting the weights until the weights come up to just under the clock's face.

Elaborate striking sequences


In the early 20th century,quarter-hour chime sequences were added to longcase clocks. At the top of each hour, the full chime sequence sounds, immediately followed by the hour strike. At 15 minutes after each hour, 1/4 of the chime sequence plays, at the bottom of each hour, half of the chime sequence plays, and at 15 minutes before each hour, 3/4 of the chime sequence plays. The chime tune used in almost all longcase clocks is Westminster Quarters. Many also offer the option of Whittington chimes
Whittington chimes
Whittington chimes is the name of a clock chime melody, also called St. Mary's.-Dick Whittington story:The customary English theater story, adapted from the life of the real Richard Whittington, is that the young boy Dick Whittington was an unhappy apprentice running away from his master, and...

 or St. Michael's chimes, selectable by a switch mounted on the right side of the dial, which also allows one to silence the chimes if desired. As a result of adding chime sequences, all modern mechanical longcase clocks have three weights instead of just two. The left weight provides power for the hour strike, the middle weight provides power for the clock's pendulum and general timekeeping functions, while the right weight provides power for the quarter-hour chime sequences.

Types of longcase clock


Comtoise clocks


Comtoise clocks, also known as Morbier
Morbier
Morbier is a commune in the Jura department in Franche-Comté in eastern France.From 1680 to 1920, Morbier was with Morez the center of Comtoise clock production.- Demographics :- References :*...

 clocks
or Morez
Morez
Morez is a commune of the Jura department in Franche-Comté in eastern France.The town is mostly known for the manufacture of spectacles. From 1680 to 1920, Morez was with Morbier the center of Comtoise clock production.- References :*...

 clocks
, are a style of longcase clock made in the French region Franche-Comté
Franche-Comté
Franche-Comté the former "Free County" of Burgundy, as distinct from the neighbouring Duchy, is an administrative region and a traditional province of eastern France...

 (whence their name). Production of these clocks began in 1680 and continued for a period of about 230 years. During the peak production years (1850–1890) over 60,000 clocks were made each year. Features distinguishing this style are a curving "potbellied" case and a greater use of curved lines. Often a heavy, elongated, highly ornamented pendulum bob extends up the case (see photo)

Many Comtoise clocks can be found in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 but they are also frequently found in Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, and other parts of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, less in the USA.
These clocks were very popular across the generations; they kept the time on farms throughout France. Many Comtoise clocks were also exported to other countries in Europe and even further, to the Ottoman Empire and as far as Thailand. The metal mechanism was usually protected by a wooden sheath.

Bornholm clocks


Bornholm clocks are Danish
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 longcase clocks in the form of a tall wooden box. They are driven by a pendulum and were made on Bornholm
Bornholm
Bornholm is a Danish island in the Baltic Sea located to the east of the rest of Denmark, the south of Sweden, and the north of Poland. The main industries on the island include fishing, arts and crafts like glass making and pottery using locally worked clay, and dairy farming. Tourism is...

 from 1745 to 1900.

Bornholm clock-making began in the 1740s when an English ship
Ship
Since the end of the age of sail a ship has been any large buoyant marine vessel. Ships are generally distinguished from boats based on size and cargo or passenger capacity. Ships are used on lakes, seas, and rivers for a variety of activities, such as the transport of people or goods, fishing,...

, which had longcase clocks in its hold
Hold (ship)
thumb|right|120px|View of the hold of a container shipA ship's hold is a space for carrying cargo. Cargo in holds may be either packaged in crates, bales, etc., or unpackaged . Access to holds is by a large hatch at the top...

, was stranded. They were sent for repair to a turner
Turning
Turning is the process whereby a single point cutting tool is parallel to the surface. It can be done manually, in a traditional form of lathe, which frequently requires continuous supervision by the operator, or by using a computer controlled and automated lathe which does not. This type of...

 named Poul Ottesen Arboe in Rønne
Rønne
Rønne is the largest town on the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. It has a population of 13,904 . Once a municipality in its own right, it is now the administrative centre of the Bornholm municipality....

 and as a result of his repair of them he learned enough about clocks to begin to make his own.

The demand for Bornholm clocks has been falling in recent years.

Historical manufacturers


Clockmakers in Britain
  • John Alker
    John Alker
    John Alker , aka Alker of Wigan, was one of a family of longcase clock makers from Wigan, Lancashire.-Bibliography:*Davies E.: Greater Manchester Clocks and Clockmakers...

     or Alker of Wigan
    Wigan
    Wigan is a town in Greater Manchester, England. It stands on the River Douglas, south-west of Bolton, north of Warrington and west-northwest of Manchester. Wigan is the largest settlement in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan and is its administrative centre. The town of Wigan had a total...

    , Lancashire
    Lancashire
    Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

  • Allam & Clements
  • John Clement & Son (Tring, Hertfordshire)
  • William Barrow, London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

  • Thomas Birchall Nantwich, Cheshire
  • Robert Bryson, Edinburgh
    Edinburgh
    Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

  • Thomas Bullock, Bath
  • Thomas Cartwright
  • Richard Donisthorp
    Richard Donisthorp
    Richard Donisthorp was a clockmaker in Loughborough in the United Kingdom. He used the surname spelt Donisthorp as an engraved signature on the clock faces he made and was a member of the Donisthorp family who were Leicestershire clockmakers. The name of Donisthorp appears in records also as...

     (fl.
    Floruit
    Floruit , abbreviated fl. , is a Latin verb meaning "flourished", denoting the period of time during which something was active...

     1797), of Loughborough
    Loughborough
    Loughborough is a town within the Charnwood borough of Leicestershire, England. It is the seat of Charnwood Borough Council and is home to Loughborough University...

  • Matthew & Thomas Dutton
  • Peter Fearnley, Wigan
    Wigan
    Wigan is a town in Greater Manchester, England. It stands on the River Douglas, south-west of Bolton, north of Warrington and west-northwest of Manchester. Wigan is the largest settlement in the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan and is its administrative centre. The town of Wigan had a total...

  • John Fernhill, Wrexham
    Wrexham
    Wrexham is a town in Wales. It is the administrative centre of the wider Wrexham County Borough, and the largest town in North Wales, located in the east of the region. It is situated between the Welsh mountains and the lower Dee Valley close to the border with Cheshire, England...

  • Thomas Hackney
    Thomas Hackney
    Thomas Hackney was a U.S. Representative from Missouri.Born near Campbellsville, Tennessee, Hackney moved with his parents to Jackson County, Illinois, in 1864....

    , London, c. 1700–1750
  • Edward Harrison
    Edward Harrison
    Edward Harrison may refer to:*Ted Harrison , Canadian painter*Ted Harrison British artist, cartoonist, writer and former BBC correspondent*Edward Harrison , 18th-century British administrator...

    , Warrington
    Warrington
    Warrington is a town, borough and unitary authority area of Cheshire, England. It stands on the banks of the River Mersey, which is tidal to the west of the weir at Howley. It lies 16 miles east of Liverpool, 19 miles west of Manchester and 8 miles south of St Helens...

  • John Harrison
    John Harrison
    John Harrison was a self-educated English clockmaker. He invented the marine chronometer, a long-sought device in solving the problem of establishing the East-West position or longitude of a ship at sea, thus revolutionising and extending the possibility of safe long distance sea travel in the Age...

    , Wakefield
    Wakefield
    Wakefield is the main settlement and administrative centre of the City of Wakefield, a metropolitan district of West Yorkshire, England. Located by the River Calder on the eastern edge of the Pennines, the urban area is and had a population of 76,886 in 2001....

    /Barrow-in-Furness
    Barrow-in-Furness
    Barrow-in-Furness is an industrial town and seaport which forms about half the territory of the wider Borough of Barrow-in-Furness in the county of Cumbria, England. It lies north of Liverpool, northwest of Manchester and southwest from the county town of Carlisle...

    /London
  • Nathaniel Hedge
    Nathaniel Hedge
    Nathaniel Hedge was an English clockmaker based in Colchester in Essex.Hedge was apprenticed to the Colchester clockmaker John Smorthwaite in 1728 and married Smorthwaite's daughter Sarah in 1733. Hedge went on to become a prosperous and highly-respected clockmaker. Examples of Hedge's work can be...

    , Colchester
    Colchester
    Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

  • Holmes
  • James Howden, Edinburgh
    Edinburgh
    Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

  • Thomas Johnson
  • William Lassell (1758–1790), Toxteth
    Toxteth
    Toxteth is an inner city area of Liverpool, England. Located to the south of the city, Toxteth is bordered by Liverpool City Centre, Dingle, Edge Hill, Wavertree and Aigburth.-Description:...

     Park, Liverpool
    Liverpool
    Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

  • Alexander Miller, Montrose
    Montrose, Angus
    Montrose is a coastal resort town and former royal burgh in Angus, Scotland. It is situated 38 miles north of Dundee between the mouths of the North and South Esk rivers...

  • Peddie Stirling, Scotland
  • Daniel Quare
    Daniel Quare
    Daniel Quare was an English clockmaker and instrument maker who Invented a repeating watch movement in 1680 and a portable barometer in 1695.-Biography:...

  • Thomas Ross, Hull
  • John Snelling, Alton
    Alton, Hampshire
    Alton is a historic market town and civil parish in the East Hampshire district of the English county of Hampshire. It had a population of 16,584 at the 1991 census and is administered by East Hampshire district council. It is located on the source of the River Wey and is the highest town in...

  • Trubshaw
  • Thomas Worswick, Lancaster
    Lancaster, Lancashire
    Lancaster is the county town of Lancashire, England. It is situated on the River Lune and has a population of 45,952. Lancaster is a constituent settlement of the wider City of Lancaster, local government district which has a population of 133,914 and encompasses several outlying towns, including...

  • Thomas Wright
  • Henry Young, Swaffham
    Swaffham
    Swaffham is a market town and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. The town is situated east of King's Lynn and west of Norwich.The civil parish has an area of and in the 2001 census had a population of 6,935 in 3,130 households...

  • John Wyld, Nottingham
    Nottingham
    Nottingham is a city and unitary authority in the East Midlands of England. It is located in the ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire and represents one of eight members of the English Core Cities Group...



Clockmakers in the Finland
  • Masters of Könni Könnin mestarit (1757–1865), Ilmajoki
    Ilmajoki
    Ilmajoki is a municipality of Finland.It is located in the province of Western Finland and is part of the Southern Ostrobothnia region. The population of Ilmajoki is and the municipality covers an area of of which is inland water...

    , Family of Könni Wepsite, Seven hands clock mechanism.
  • The Finnish Museum of Horology is master of Jaakko Könni manufactured table clocks and pocket watches
  • Ilmajoki Museum is Masters of Könni manufactured horse vehicles, clocks, looms, locks, tools, machine of gear "keervärkki"


Clockmakers in the United States
  • Luman Watson
    Luman Watson
    Luman Watson was an early Cincinnati clockmaker. He worked in Cincinnati, Ohio from 1819 to 1834. His clocks had wooden works. He made both tall clocks and shelf clocks....

     (1790–1834), Cincinnati
  • Simon Willard
    Simon Willard
    Simon Willard were produced in Massachusetts in the Grafton and Roxbury workshops of Simon Willard , a celebrated U.S. clockmaker...

     (1753–1848), Roxbury, Massachusetts
    Roxbury, Massachusetts
    Roxbury is a dissolved municipality and current neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It was one of the first towns founded in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630, and became a city in 1846 until annexed to Boston on January 5, 1868...



Clock Case Manufacturer in Australia
  • Harry Williams - Oxford Cabinet Company Pty Ltd (1946–1961), Granville,NSW,Australia

Current manufacturers

  • Hermle Clocks
    Hermle Clocks
    Hermle Clocks was founded in 1922 in the Black Forest region of Southern Germany. Hermle Clocks is a German family owned and operated company in its third generation. Hermle manufactures mechanical mechanisms, battery operated mechanisms, accessories such as dial, pendulums and weight shells, as...

  • Howard Miller Clock Company
    Howard Miller Clock Company
    The Howard Miller Company is a Zeeland, Michigan based manufacturer of longcase clocks and other home furnishings.-History:Howard Miller Clock Company was founded in 1926 as the Herman Miller Clock Company division of office furniture manufacturer Herman Miller. It was spun off in 1937 and...

  • Seth Thomas Clock Company
    Seth Thomas Clock Company
    The Seth Thomas Clock Company began producing clocks in 1813, and was incorporated as the "Seth Thomas Clock Company" in 1853. The clock at Grand Central Terminal in New York City was manufactured by the company...

  • Ridgeway Clocks
    Ridgeway Clocks
    Ridgeway Clocks is a division of Howard Miller Company, and is a producer of longcase clocks, mantle clocks, and wall clocks. The company's facilities were located in Ridgeway, Virginia...

  • Bulova Watch Company