Grandfather clock identification

Info & tips about grandfather clock identification

There are several components that divide grandfather clocks onto its category. Due to the increasing long case clocks varieties that are emerging, they are further broken down onto other means of classifications.

But generally, there are only 2 types of grandfather clocks namely:

Comtoise grandfather clock

This particular type of grandfather clock is made in Franche-Comte, a region in France. Comtoise is also referred to as Morbier or Morez.

comtoise grandfather clock-designThey can be frequently found in Germany, in Spain and other parts of Europe.

The production of the Comtoise grandfather clock began in 1680 which reached a period of more or less 230 years which peaked during 1850 until 1890, manufacturing and producing over 60, 000 long case clocks per year.

A Morbier clock can be distinguished thru a curving “potbelly” case and its style and design uses a majority of curved lines.

A heavy, elongated and highly ornamented pendulum bob extends up the case and a wooden sheath protects the metal mechanism.

Bornholm grandfather clock

This kind of grandfather clock takes the form of a tall wooden box.

These are Danish long case clock driven by a pendulum made in Bornholm, a Danish island found in the Baltic Sea.

Bornholm clocks are pendulum driven clocks that were made from 1745 until 1990. However the demand for Bornholm grandfather clock began receding in recent years.

Antique grandfather clocks are likewise divided into 2 categories based on how long it would last once you wind it. There’s a 30-hour grandfather clock and an 8-day grandfather clock.

30-hour grandfather clock – instead of a key this is wound thru a chain or a rope. It features one single weight that is responsible for making this grandfather clock strike and run properly. The 30-hour long case clock is typically less costly but less valuable too.

8-day grandfather clock8-day grandfather clock – actually functions like a one-week clock allowing an extra day to function in case you are not physically there to do so or you just forgot to wind it.

You could also categorize grandfather clocks based on its overall façade and features, once again dividing grandfather clocks into 2 types; traditional and contemporary.

Traditional grandfather clocks tell time by winding with a key or by positioning the weights. These antique long case clocks are generally made up of wood therefore bearing elaborate wood carvings.

Contemporary grandfather clocks on the other hand are battery – operated. Because they are the present day grandfather clocks, they possess sleeker lines and are composed of a variety of materials.

Identifying the type of grandfather clock

Grandfather clock identification covers several aspects; it could be through the manufacturer or designer that created it, the materials they’re constructed with and their unique architectural styles and description.

grandfather clock maker signatureGrandfather clock designer or manufacturer

Each tall case clock maker has his own signature feature that marks his creation. You can find the company name printed or engraved on the dial faces or on its edge that may be clearly visible or almost unnoticeable and obscured.

The name of the maker can also be found stamped on the back plate of the movement. Paper labels are sometimes affixed to the inside of the clock case or pasted at the back.

European, Asian, and South American clock makers brand their clocks either in symbols or initials making it quite difficult to identify.

Grandfather clocks are also marked by their manufacturers on specific details such as the winding mechanism and the physical and visual style and appearances.

The place of origin or of the manufacturing also classifies a tall case clock, as such there are Welsh (Wales), Dutch (Netherlands) German (Germany), French (France), English (England), and Scottish (Scotland) grandfather clocks and more.

Mahogany antique English grandfather clock by BulovaLong case clock materials

The kind or class of a grandfather clock can likewise be determined according to the material they are made from. Wooden grandfather clocks can well be labeled according to the type of wood used.

Long case clocks are usually constructed from oak, walnut, beech, mahogany and other hardwoods, and then done in light, medium, dark and even in painted finish.

There are grandfather clocks that are created from satinwood, elm, and fruitwood but are very rare.

Nowadays, new materials that compose grandfather clocks has also emerged creating new twists to the prevalent façade of a long case clock.

They now incorporate other materials such as stone, metal, glass, and other components.

The contemporary designs of grandfather clocks generally appeals to the younger generations who prefers modern concepts.

Howard Miller Metal grandfather clockArchitectural description

The architectural design of a floor clock likewise serves as its identification.

The construction of each grandfather clock differs in one way or another to other floor clocks.

Grandfather clocks are available in different styles such as traditional, contemporary and curio, all of which are perfect and striking timepieces.

They are often done with intricate designs thus present a classy and stately look.

grandfather clock crownsGrandfather clock crown

The tops or the crown of the grandfather clocks contributes much to the totality of its form. You can find them in both classic and modern schemes.

- Split pediment grandfather clock top (Top left picture) – also referred to as the Swans Neck Top. This type of grandfather clock crown is generally associated with the more traditional looking long case clocks.

- Bonnet Topped grandfather clock (Bottom left picture) - features a decorative top centerpiece design which can either be found in the traditional and contemporary clock look.

- Flat Top grandfather clock (Top left picture) – is obviously named for its flat top which also present in contemporary and traditional grandfather clocks.

- Round Top grandfather clock in circular, slim, and rounded forms (Bottom right picture) – either has a full circle sitting on a base or a half-circle integrated with the design of the clock.

As time progressed the demand for grandfather clocks increased, it is no longer limited to well-to-do families but has extended to be available among the majority of the population.

Other factors that contribute to an antique grandfather clocks styles, design and details include painted or brass dials as well as date and second dials. Rare grandfather clocks even have rocking ship automaton or moon phase discs. Rarer still, there are those that boast reeds in order to sound like an organ and music bells.

These distinct architectural accents and designs are both decorative and functional.

Caddy grandmother clockGrandmother clocks

Grandfather, grandmother, and granddaughter clocks are terms that are all associated and applied to long case clocks.

There is no specific difference except for their height, the grandfather clock stands over 1.8 meters (6ft), grandmother stands over 1.5 meters (5ft), and smaller than that is the granddaughter clock.

Grandmother clocks are typically made in the 1920’s and 1930’s with a height that varies between 5’4” to 5’9”. Other elements that distinguish a grandmother clock is that it is very slim, spring driven, has a dome top, and an 8” or less square or arch brass dial.

Due to their smaller size, a grandmother clock is ideal for modern homes and for locations where 7 feet headroom is unavailable.

Granddaughter clocks

Most granddaughter clocks are made late in the 1930’s. They stand less than 5’ tall, some 5’2” and are commonly not of high quality.

Granddaughter clocks veneers are usually of oak, walnut, and mahogany. They come in solid cases and are not regarded to as expensive clocks. The majority of granddaughter clocks have round, electroplated silver dials; the numbers are painted on and not engraved.

Grandfather wall clock by-KasselGrandfather wall clocks

A grandfather wall clock is derived from a long case clock based on the idea of Isaac Blaisdell to create a clock for those people who find tall case clocks too big but still prefer a timepiece of the same nobility and class

The name itself already suggests what a grandfather wall clock is like.

Grandfather wall clocks are scaled-down versions of a long case clock that bears all the same elegance and character.

All the other features of a grandfather clock are more or less present in a grandfather wall clock.

The only difference is that they are reduced in style and instead of standing on the floor; they are hanged, attached and displayed on walls.

Majestic curio grandfather clockCurio grandfather clocks

A curio grandfather clock is a unique addition to the traditional timepiece. Instead of solely telling the time, curio long case clocks provides additional purpose.

This type of tall case clock has shelves, partitions and sometimes drawers visible thru a glass panel. This allows you to place decorative pieces such as figurines, tea cups, decorative vases and more.

It’s just like owning a curio cabinet but you also have an elegant grandfather clock that goes with it.

Mini grandfather clock

A miniature grandfather clock is actually a wristwatch that rests inside a mini grandfather clock casing.

The imitative housing takes the form of an elegant grandfather in a diminutive form wherein a conventional wristwatch settles so as to have a clock face exposed for time viewing.

A pendulum moving back and forth completes the look of a mini tall case clock, coupled with the actual operation of the wristwatch’s hand, thus creates a fascinating combination.


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