Origins of Grandfather Clocks

Grandfather Clock courtesty of Wikipedia.orgIt was in the 1600s when the pendulum clock was invented by Christiaan Huygens. His invention of the pendulum clock, patented in 1657, was a breakthrough in timekeeping. However, the pendulum clock was still considered inaccurate.

Such was the British Parliament’s yearning for a clock that could accurately tell the time, that a cash reward awaited anyone who could create a clock that could be used even for navigation. Finally, the accurate clock was invented and humans were once again able to navigate and work knowing that their clocks were telling them the right time.

One of the clocks that have become famous is the grandfather clock. This clock is known for being a work of art in itself, enclosed in a tower case and has a long pendulum. Remember that in the olden days, the longer the pendulum of the clock was – the more accurate the time. Grandfather clocks usually measured a minimum of six feet tall, and the tower made of hardwood and glass.

The Grandfather Clock actually referred to the floor clock kept in the George Hotel in England, owned by two brothers. The death of one of the brothers resulted in time malfunction of the floor clock. When the clock started to fail, the second brother died. The clock was never repaired.

This was the same clock which inspired the song “My Grandfather’s Clock”, composed by Henry Clay Work in 1875 and written after he stayed in the George Hotel and learned of the story of the two brothers. Thus the origin of the term “Grandfather Clock.”

Most Grandfather Clocks are striking clocks. Striking clocks, like the Big Ben clock in London, England are clocks that make a gong sound at every hour.


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