Discovering the Grandfather Clock: Exploring Its Components and Timeless History

What is a grandfather clock?

What is a grandfather clock, you ask? Well, let us take you on a captivating journey today as we delve into the intricate details, timeless beauty, and remarkable history of this magnificent timepiece that has captured the fascination of generations. From its majestic presence to its meticulously crafted craftsmanship, the grandfather clock embodies an exquisite blend of art, precision, and tradition. Join us as we unravel the stories behind this iconic horological masterpiece and discover the secrets that have made it an enduring symbol of elegance and sophistication.

Components of a Grandfather Clock

Begin by gaining a thorough understanding of the fundamental elements that comprise a grandfather clock. It comprises a towering wooden case, typically standing between 5 to 7 feet in height, which houses the intricate clock mechanism movement along with an elongated pendulum. The clock face, embellished with either numerals or Roman numerals, elegantly showcases the passage of time. Delicate hands gracefully indicate and display the hours, minutes, and seconds with utmost precision.

Grandfather Clocks different style and features

The Pediment is the upper part of the clock. It can be a swan neck pediment, flat top pediment or arched bonnet pediment.

It can have a moon dial that is an additional feature on the clock. This provides a crescent shape window where one can view the moon phase and how they change as the day passes by. Furthermore, some clocks come with ornate carvings or decorations at each corner as well as raised pillars or columns in order to add flair and sophistication. The door glass is lock by a key. The Cabinet is crafted using select hardwoods, typically oak, cherry, mahogany, or walnut, which are meticulously polished to perfection. It can have a bright glossy finish and inlays of contrasting woods. The dial face consists of intricate designs with colors such as black, brass, silver or gold. There are also the different kinds of movements that power the clock like mechanical movement which has to be wound every week and quartz movement that are battery operated.

What are the 3 chimes on a grandfather clock?

These chimes are Westminster, St Michael's, and Whittington.

The Westminster Chime

The Westminster Chimes, renowned for its grandeur, stands as the epitome of the majestic Grandfather Clock. Derived from the iconic Big Ben clock at the Palace of Westminster in London, this chime gracefully weaves a symphony of quarter-hour melodies, culminating in a series of resounding hour-strikes. Each resonating gong produces a deep, mellifluous tone, evoking an aura of sophistication and timeless allure.


St Michael's Chime

Inspired by Galway's St. Michael's Church, this chime exudes a delicate, ethereal quality -- instantly recognizable. With each passing quarter hour, the harmonious melody gradually grows, culminating in a resounding strike as the hour arrives. Imbued with a lilting tune, this enchanting wind chime evokes an uplifting and otherworldly ambiance, enriching any space it graces.

Whittington Chime

The captivating Whittington chime has its origins in the renowned Church of St. Mary le Bow in Cheapside, London. In the 15th century, Richard Whittington's generosity paved the way for the creation of a splendid set of bells. Infamous for its exquisite and intricate melody, the Whittington chime gradually unfurls with an enchanting sequence of notes every quarter-hour, culminating in a truly melodic spectacle on the hour. Furthermore, it enchants with an intricate and delightful song, lending an air of refined elegance to any grandfather clock.

How does the grandfather clock work?

Curious about how it works? Well, let me explain. The pendulum, elegantly suspended from a rod, gracefully swings back and forth in a meticulously regulated manner. This rhythmic motion, artfully governed by an escapement mechanism, orchestrates the gears of the clock, ensuring accurate and dependable timekeeping. To energize the clock, one may rely on weights that descend gradually or springs that unwind slowly. In either case, they provide the necessary impetus for the clock to function flawlessly. And why the grandeur of a massive wooden case for a grandfather clock, you ask? Well, the weights and the pendulum require ample space and distance, enabling them to power the clock for a remarkable 8 days (or 1 week) before necessitating rewinding. Their are cable driven and chain driven clocks movement. Cable driven clocks tend to be pricier but offer superior quality in comparison.

History of antique grandfather clocks

The history of the grandfather clock can be traced back centuries to 1680 when the ingenious clockmaker William Clemente, a pioneer in his craft, gave birth to their creation in England. With extraordinary talent and an unwavering commitment to excellence, Clemente and his esteemed colleagues devoted countless hours to meticulously fashioning intricate and ornate cases that would envelop the delicate clockwork within. Each clock was an exquisite masterpiece, a shining testament to their unrivaled attention to detail and unyielding artistic prowess. These magnificent timepieces, sought after for their impressive durability and timeless elegance, captivated the hearts of many, transcending mere functionality to become cherished heirlooms. Today, as they proudly stand in resplendent glory, these grand symbols of time serve as everlasting reminders of the skill, dedication, and unparalleled mastery of their visionary creators.

What is the rationale behind the term "grandfather clock" instead of "longcase clock"?

Ever wondered about the origins of the term "grandfather clock"? The story goes that it derived from a popular English song called "My Grandfather's Clock," penned by Henry Clay Work back in 1876. The song vividly portrayed an antique longcase clock that once graced a hotel in George, North Yorkshire, with its presence. Interestingly, this clock had always faithfully kept the time for a remarkable 90 years under the ownership of two brothers. However, when the first brother passed away, the clock began to falter, and upon the passing of the second brother, it ceased to tick altogether. Struck by this tale, Work was inspired to immortalize it in a song, which quickly gained widespread popularity. And so, the name "grandfather clock" was born, becoming firmly entrenched in our lexicon.

The grandfather clock in George Hotel that inspired the Grandfather song.


Presently, we refer to it as a Floor Clock.

Even in today's modern age, the allure of the grandfather clock continues to captivate. It goes beyond being a mere furnishing or timekeeping device. Rather, it is a cherished heirloom, bridging us to our ancestral past, holding the memories of generations gone by. Its presence in any home bestows an air of elegance, tradition, and warmth.

In today's fast-paced world, a grandfather clock serves as a gentle reminder to pause, reflect, and truly appreciate the exquisite beauty of every passing moment. With its captivating rhythmic ticking and melodious chimes, it creates an oasis of tranquility and fond memories, offering respite from the relentless hustle and bustle that surrounds us in our daily lives.

How much are grandfather clocks worth now?

Grandfather longcase clocks of these days are worth between 3000$ CAD and 15 000$. The Most expensive one can be worth up to 45 000$. We can compare these longcase clocks like a watch. Meaning they hold their value over time as long as you follow the maintenance by manufacturer recommandation. They stood the test of time because they are simple but elegant lines. The tick tock hour strike can be a good investment and show your guess your success.

The iconic Big Ben clock in London stands as the epitome of fame when it comes to timepieces, captivating the world with its grandeur for decades.

It comes as no surprise to regard this clock as the crown and epitome of timepieces. This towering clock has withstood the test of time and boasts remarkable maintenance. The engineering from the past has been truly exceptional. During World War Two, a symbol of hope was erected in London. Standing tall, it rang its bell, inspiring faith in the hearts of those who heard it.

Why everyone should have an antique grandfather clock

Why should everyone own a grandfather clock? Because it transcends being a mere timepiece. It embodies our heritage, embodies exquisite craftsmanship, and serves as a cherished reminder to appreciate the present while honoring the past. A grandfather clock imparts timeless beauty and an undeniable touch of elegance to any home.

At, we pride ourselves in offering the finest selection of antique grandfather clocks anywhere in Canada. Our collection features renowned brands such as Howard Miller and Hermle, delivering exquisite craftsmanship and exceptional quality.

Experience a seamless shopping experience with us, as we provide complimentary shipping and white glove delivery right to the room of your choice. Setting up your clock is a breeze, thanks to our detailed instruction manual and helpful video animation.

Should you require any assistance or support in setting up your clock, our dedicated team is here to help. Feel free to reach out to us and we'll be more than happy to assist you.

Discover the perfect grandfather clock for your home and elevate your space with timeless elegance. Visit us at today!

Grandfather clock song lyrics

Back to blog