Archive for the 'Clocks' Category

All the kings horses…

September 23, 2010
Author: DumpsterCat

Many members of my family have had cuckoo clocks.

My grandparents had one for as long as I knew them.

My husband had a cuckoo clock that his mother had given years before we met.

It hung on the wall in the house he lived in when he was single.  It hung on the house we lived in when we were first married, and it hung on the wall in the house we moved to a few years later.

It was a nightly routine for him to wind the clock just before he left for work each night.

Sometimes the clock would stop because it would shift just enough that it would be off center which caused the pendulum to stop swinging.

When that happened he would have to push the clock over just a tiny bit to center it again and then start the pendulum swinging again.

One night he was going through his nightly routine getting ready to leave for work and went to wind the cuckoo clock.  It had stopped, so after winding the weights up he went to push the clock ever so slightly with his finger.

It was like a scene out of a movie!  He touched the clock ever so slightly to push it to one side and WHAM!  Down it fell onto the floor, as if it was a movie scene in fast motion!

It broke into dozens of pieces.  It was so sad seeing my husband trying so hard to salvage the multitude of pieces from the floor, putting them into a box in hopes of having the clock repaired someday.

We eventually bought another cuckoo clock that was bigger and fancier but we never threw away the box with the broken cuckoo clock from his mother.

How Grandfather Clocks Got Their Name

August 18, 2010
Author: Miagro2000

How Grandfather Clocks Got Their Name



In England’s North Yorkshire region, there was a town called Piercebridge sometime in the late 1700’s. In this town was a hotel, known as the George Hotel, which was a popular place for travelers to stop and rest their horses while the traveler’s went inside for refreshments. This establishment was run by the Jenkins brothers.

As the story goes, there was a long-case clock in this hotel which reportedly kept remarkably good time. That is until one of the two Jenkins brothers passed away.  Suddenly, it is said, an odd thing occurred –  the old floor clock began losing time.  It started to lose as much as 15 minutes per day. Then, it lost even more time each day until it was losing well over an hour each and every day. 


No clocksmith could repair the long-case clock, and eventually they all gave up.The clock stayed put in this hotel.  Having been remarkable in its ability to keep time, now it was remarkable in its lack of accuracy and the strange timing coinciding with the brother’s death. It was the source of much discussion, as the travelers came and went year after year.As the story goes, another, stranger event took place.  The second brother passed away at the age of 90 and the clock stopped running completely. Even when wound completely, the clock workings refused to move and the hands would not turn.

When the hotel acquired a new owner, the old clock was left standing in a corner of the lobby, its hands reportedly stuck showing the moment that the last Jenkins brother died.

In 1875, Henry Work, an American songwriter, was on holiday in England and found himself at the George Hotel.  The story of the clock was still alive.  It sparked Henry’s creativity and imagination. So Henry wrote a song and published it. His sheet music eventually sold over a million copies.

 Here are the lyrics to the song:

“My grandfather’s clock was too tall for the shelf
So it stood ninety years on the floor
It was taller by half than the old man himself
But it weighed not a pennyweight more

It was bought on the morn on the day that he was born
It was always his treasure and pride
But it stopped, short, never to go again
When the old man died

Ninety years without slumbering
Tic toc tic toc
His life’s seconds numbering
Tic toc tic toc
It stopped, short, never to go again
When the old man died.
In watching its pendulum swing to and fro
Many hours he had spent when a boy
And through childhood and manhood, the clock seemed to know
And to share both his grief and his joy

For it struck 24 when he entered at the door
With a blooming and beautiful bride,
But it stopped, short, never to go again
When the old man died


My grandfather said that of those he could hire
Not a servant so faithful he’d found,
For it kept perfect time and it had one desire
At the close of each day to be wound

At it kept to its place, not a frown upon its face
At its hands never hung by its side
But it stopped, short, never to go again
When the old man died


It rang an alarm in the still of the night,
An alarm that for years had been dumb
And we knew that his spirit was pluming for flight
That his hour of departure had come

Still the clock kept the time
With a soft and muffled chime
As we silently stood by his side
But it stopped, short, never to go again
When the old man died”

Where are we today?Prior to this song, these clocks had a variety of names – long case clocks, tall case clocks, floor clocks, and pendulum clocks.  Since the popularity of Henry Work’s song, these clocks have been referred to primarily as Grandfather Clocks

The History of Grandfather Clocks

August 17, 2010
Author: Miagro2000
The History of Grandfather ClocksHumans have been keeping track of time throughout the ages using everything from hourglasses to sundials.  During the second half of the 13th century, the very first mechanical clocks were developed. These early clocks were huge contraptions made with heavy iron frames and large gears, usually placed in church towers and striking the church bell on the top of each hour.

Enhancements led to an hour hand and the ability of the clocks to strike every quarter-hour. Eventually, during the first half of the 15th century, personal clocks started to appear. As time progressed, these clocks became a popular fixture in the homes of the upper classes, especially grandfather clocks.

Galileo was first credited with the discovery that a pendulum could be used to keep time. This led to Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens developing the first pendulum clock,  the prototype for the grandfather clock. These clocks hung on walls and were affectionately entitled “wags-on-the-wall” due to their short pendulums. In the mid-1600’s, English clockmakers introduced a clock which was even closer to today’s grandfather clock known as the “long case” clock, which was nearly 6 feet long with a 10-inch pendulum.By 1670, an even longer pendulum was used, various changes were incorporated, and the first grandfather clock was produced. The advancements resulted in an increase in precision that meant the clocks held time to within a few seconds variance per week. This was the start of the popularity of grandfather clocks due to their ability to keep time so accurately.

A minute hand was added, and eventually a glass front was introduced to better display the internal workings of the pendulum, chains, and weights. These lovely timepieces were not referred to as grandfather clocks but rather were called “long case” clocks or “floor” clocks until nearly 1900. Throughout these early years, grandfather clocks were made almost exclusively for people of noble heritage. Though produced in America since the late 1600’s, it was not until the 19th century that grandfather clocks became affordable for everyone.