Grandfather, Grandmother & Granddaughter Clocks
by Brian J Short


I find over the time that I have been repairing antique clocks the above terms have been used all of which come under the heading of the longcase clock, tall-case and floor clock.


Clocks of this style can be under 1.5 m (5ft) in height to over 1.8m (6ft). The term granddaughter seems to be a clock smaller than 5ft, Grandmother over 5ft and over 6ft is a grandfather which can be as high as 8.6ft plus.


Most of the antique longcase clocks are of the over 6ft type and have either an 8day movement or a 30hr movement and date back as far as the 17th up to the 19th century. Those made from the early 20th century tend to have the modern strike or chime movements and are still available to the present day as are the grandmother and granddaughter size clocks.


The early clocks with the 30hr movement require winding daily, these being generally the less expensive while the 8day movement every week. The 8day are often driven by two weights one for the going side (pendulum) and the other for the striking, usually a bell or chimes.


8day clocks usually have two keyholes on either side of the dial whereas the 30hr has a single weight driving both the timekeeping and the striking mechanism and has no holes in the dial, although some were made with false keyholes to make them look like the more expensive 8day clocks.


In the early 20th century changes in size of houses made the smaller grandmother and granddaughter size more acceptable and many were made in the 20s and 30s with spring wound mechanisms with both strike and chime movements, the larger grandfather size still having weights and for the chime movement having three weights one to drive the movement, one for the chime and the other for the strike and wound by chains instead of lines.


This is only a summary of the details which make up the longcase clock and there are many exceptions to this rule but this is a general basic guide to term of the LONGCASE Clock.


If you have a longcase clock which you would like more detail or information on please feel free to contact me and I will do the best I can to answer.