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A guide to buying longcase clocks

Longcase clocks have been made since the late seventeenth century. The long wooden cabinet for the pendulum and chain in a grandfather clock gives it the name of a longcase clock. Galileo had first proposed the use of a pendulum in a clock. Christian Huygens in the seventeenth century gave the exact formula connecting pendulum length to time.

Grandfather, grandmother and granddaughter clocks

Nowadays, there is a resurgence in the demand for Longcase clocks as decorative fixtures and also as accurate time givers. Longcase clocks later got the name of grandfather clocks because of a popular song. The height of old clocks determines whether they are grandfather, grandmother or granddaughter clocks.

Expensive hobby

A clock which is below five feet is called a granddaughter clock - a less than six foot clock is called a grandmother clock and any clocks which are above six feet are called grandfather clocks. Generally, genuine collectors’ longcase clocks are eight feet or above in height. Buying a UK clock can prove to be an expensive venture and requires a lot of knowledge and expertise.

Cheap American grandfather clocks

Since Americans flooded England with cheap grandfather clocks, England was the world's master in manufacturing longcase clocks. There were many manufacturers of clocks for sale. They manufactured day-clocks which had to be wound after a day or eight-day clocks which had to be wound only once a week.

Identifying marks on antique clocks

It is better to get a good knowledge about the different types of clocks before proceeding to buy clocks. There are dial clocks, smith clocks and clocks made of oak, mahogany with ebony inlays. There are many things to be checked in an antiques clock. The name of the manufacturer, the year of manufacture, the shape of the hood, tower and base have to be considered. Antiques sales There are many clock shops which claim to make antique sales. Wisdom lies in consulting an expert. Longcase clocks could have been manufactured in France, Holland, England or America. Comtoise clocks were made in Franche-Comte, a French region and Bornholm clocks were made in Denmark. An American Bailey Biddle and Banks made in 1907 can cost as much as 18,000 pounds. Value This is the precise reason why care has to be taken while dealing with someone who claims to sell antique clocks. A fake can mean a loss of one’s savings. Even a simple wall barometer can be worth thousands of pounds. A longcase clock has many components from chains, clock weights and pendulums to curved glass faces and inlaid dials. Each and every grain of the wooden casing has to be examined for blemishes. Thus, one should buy only once the provenance of a longcase clock has been genuinely established.

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