Types Of Grandfather Clocks – A Complete List You Will Need Update 12/2021

types of grandfather clocks

Grandfather clocks have a very interesting history where they were at first the choice for telling time. They are also still used as a beautiful accessory to home decor and can add to the beauty of any room in your house.

Grandfather clocks are the most important one of these types of clock because they were the first clocks used for telling time, and its name reflects that.

The type of grandfather clock which was constructed to chime every 15 minutes was called strike/count grandfather clocks but this has changed with modern striking mechanisms. The mechanism is still very similar in nature if not the same.

Grandfather clocks are found in many sizes, shapes and prices. As for size they come from very small to large examples; their price can be anything from thousands of dollars to only a few dollars depending on what is needed for your home or business.

Types Of Grandfather Clocks

Comtoise Clocks

Comtoise Clocks

They are European in origin and were used in the 1500’s by priests to call people to service. They were also used on ships at sea for telling time as accurately as possible in demanding conditions.

Comtoise clocks are very similar in construction of striking mechanisms but this one can vary widely on how it actually chimes or strikes the hour.

They can be very fancy or simple but they are all considered Comtoise Clocks. They also come in many sizes, shapes and prices.

There is another form of Comtoise clock called a “Travel” or “Travelling” clock, and these can be huge wall clocks.

These are the most popular type of grandfather clock and their origin dates back to 17th century England where they were used for naval purposes. They are also known as ship’s clocks because they were used on ships.

These clocks were first made in a very narrow and tall case form to fit into the small cabins of the ship, but this has changed over time with different styles.

Cuckoo Clocks

Cuckoo Clocks are another type of clock which used to tell time very accurately but is now popular mostly for decorating or using as a collectable because the alarm chimes an old German folk tune which is activated by a bird popping out of the clock every hour.

Cuckoo clocks can be found in many sizes, shapes and prices like all other types of grandfather clocks. The size varies from small ones to large and ornate examples; their price also varies widely depending on what you want or need for your home or business.

They don’t have much of a history except for the origin of their name being from its sound when it chimes and an old tradition to use them in the house during harvest time because they would not scare the cuckoo bird away.

Bornholm Clocks

Bornholm Clocks

They are the only type of grandfather clock to be named after a place but they were in fact, not made on Bornholm Island by the natives as its name would imply. It is said that this type of grandfather clocks was created by Michael Wallnöfer in 1926 when he built a clock for his brother-in-law’s home on Bornholm Island.

Bornholm grandfather clocks are not very popular and there is only one modern company that still makes them today. Most of these types of clocks come from the late 1920’s to 1930’s.

These are bought mostly by people who have a taste for old brass or for those with an interest in German culture. These grandfather clocks can be found in varying sizes, shapes and prices but are not very popular even though they are very beautiful and elegant.

Empire Clock

Empire Clocks are really not a descriptive name for this type of grandfather clock because they don’t resemble anything related to empires but there is a story behind it.

The original clocks were imported from France and installed in Napoleon’s palace, hence their name empire clocks. After the revolution the citizens of France destroyed the remaining examples; thus making them very rare.

There are many modern “Empire Clocks” that are actually replicas of the original clocks, but these can be found in varying sizes, shapes and prices just like the originals. They are another type of a grandfather clock which has been made into an ornamental piece of art rather than for telling time only.

Mora Clocks

Mora Clocks

These grandfather clocks were first made in Sweden during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Its invention is accredited to a man named Anton Bengtsson who was working for the German Uhrwerk Union A.G. factory in Hamburg, Germany.

This clock was a large brass wall clock that had wooden figures on top of its dial; each wooden figure was dressed in a traditional Swedish costume and struck the hour on a gong. The figures were hand carved by Bengtsson himself and were made from oak wood.

These clocks can vary in price from lots of money for a huge example to very little money. They are not popular at all but they do sell because of their uniqueness with the story behind them and if you have one you will be able to say “I have a Mora Clock”.

Electric Grandfather Clocks

Electric grandfather clocks have been created in the past few years. They are mostly made from plastic but can be found made out of wood, metal or glass. The internal mechanisms of these types of grandfather clocks usually contain batteries and they use electricity in order to strike the hours on its bell much like a normal grandfather clock would do.

These types of grandfather clocks are more of a novelty item than an accurate time piece. They do not have much of a history or appeal to them but they can be found in varying prices, sizes and shapes depending on what you want or need from them; just like any other type of grandfather clock.

These types of grandfather clocks will make your family and friends think that you have an old-school taste rather than a modern one if that is what it takes for them to notice your new clock.

Howard Miller Clocks

Howard Miller Clocks

Howard Miller Clocks are very beautiful and elegant. They are one of the most wanted types of grandfather clocks on the market today because they offer a simple design with an ornamented front combined with their brass finish.

Most people buy these grandfather clocks because they are a part of a set; usually placed with an alarm clock, mantle clock, and/or wall clock. These types of clocks make the perfect gift to give to your close friends or family members who have everything and anything else that they need for their home.

Westminster Chimes Clocks

Westminster chimes grandfather clocks came about in the mid-19th century. The inventor of Westminster chimes is unknown but what was known was that it was based off an invention by Edward Barlow, he called his invention cathedral chimes and it had a separate bell tower built into them; which made these clocks very noisy and harder to hear the time from. The invention of this type of clock was not very successful because it made too much noise for most people to handle.

The original chimes that were used in these clocks, also called hymns or carols, were all written by Reverend Edward H. Wotfold; who was appointed Inspector of Clocks at Westminster Abbey in 1830.

These clocks are a beautiful piece of history and can be found in varying prices, sizes and shapes depending on what you want or need from them; just like any other type of grandfather clock.

Miniature Grandfather Clocks

Miniature Grandfather Clocks

Miniature grandfather clocks are just like any other grandfather clock except that they come in a smaller size. These types of clocks can be found made out of glass, wood, metal or plastic.

They usually have the same internal mechanisms as any other type of clock so they strike their bells at every hour just like normal grandpa clocks do. Just because they are smaller in size does not mean that they are any less grand than other types of grandfather clocks.

The Grandfather Clock Movements

One-Day Movement

This grandfather clock movement was designed to work on the old mechanical weight-driven time keeping systems. It is a self-winding movement which means that you don’t have to wind it up manually every day.

It turns a winder which keeps the weight spinning, therefore winding up the spring.

This type of grandfather clock movement is very popular because it doesn’t require much maintenance but you should still check on its operation once in a while to make sure that everything is in working order.

Eight-Day Movement

This grandfather clock movement is a little more advanced than the one-day movement. It was designed to work on a new type of automatic winding system.

It has an eight-day spring wound up by turning its special eight-day key, which winds the weight and turns around every night and rewinds itself automatically with every turn of the weight.

This type of grandfather clock movement is used in a modern-day version of a long case clock and it’s called the infinity grandfather clock. It is the perfect grandfather clock movement if you want to have a granddaddy that will be running for eternity, without having to do any heavy maintenance work on it every day like winding up its weights.

You should still check on its operation once in a while to make sure that everything is in working order.

FAQS

Are all grandfather clocks the same size?

The answer is no, they vary in sizes with some being larger than others. They also come with different types of movements which helps determine their overall size.

What is the different between a long case and short case clock?

Long clocks are tall and slim, while short ones are shorter all around. Both types of grandfather clocks run on weights system which turns its movement system to make it strike every hour.

Can you choose and buy any kind of clock that you would like to have as a grandfather clock?

No, you can’t; not unless you’re going to be making a grandfather clock yourself. Like I have said before, that there is a wide-range of styles and sizes of them available in the market place at any given time.

Are all grandfather clocks made out of wood?

No, they aren’t. Some are made from glass, metal and other types of materials.

Are all grandfather clocks called granddaddy or grandpa?

No, they are not because there are also some that are called great-grandfather clocks and antique grandfather clocks.

How do you care for a clock like this?

It’s best to keep it dusted on a weekly basis; which will help keep it clean and working properly. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to suck up any dust or dirt that has accumulated on the surface of its case.

What does the weight in a grandfather clock do?

The weight is what turns around and winds up the spring which keeps its pendulum swinging back and forth, keeping time like most other clocks do.

How often should you wind up a grandfather clock?

If it’s an eight-day movement type, then every 8 days; if it has a one-day movement system, then every day.

How much would such a clock cost me?

They can run in the thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars. It all depends on the type, size and material that it was made out of.

What Are the Different Grandfather Clocks and Grandmother Clocks?

A grandfather clock and grandmother clock are not the same type of clock. The main difference between the clocks is that a grandfather clock’s pendulum swings back and forth inside the case, while in a grandmother clock, the pendulum is outside on an exposed shaft to allow for easier access when oiling.

Grandfather clocks typically do not chime the quarter-hours, although they can be made to strike. Grandmother clocks (which are usually just called ‘grandfather clocks’) always chime the quarter-hours on a different musical note than hours and other times. The most common notes used for these chimes are F and G. 

Some clocks have an optional chime for noon, but not usually on a different note than the other quarter-hour notes. Most grandmother clocks do not have a strikework mechanism and thus do not have hourly strikes or chimes at all, only the grand chime on the hour.

Conclusion

A grandfather clock is a type of tall, freestanding wooden clock with weights and pendulum. These types of clocks are also known as ‘grandfather’ because they were once very common in families but have since been made obsolete by wall clocks. The use of digital clocks has almost replaced the need for this type of clocks to be used at home or in the workplace.

Grandfather clocks are still available on the market today, but they are only used for aesthetic reasons and as a type of decoration item. Nowadays you are far more likely to see them at flea markets, antique shops or car boot sales than inside people’s homes. These types of clocks have been around for hundreds of years and have a very long-standing tradition in the West.

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