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Grandfather Clocks

Grandfather clocks evolved with the development of the pendulum clock in the 17th century. Innovative clockmakers lengthened pendulums in order to create a more reliable timekeeping device, and a case was needed to protect the pendulum and weights for domestic clocks. This inconvenience was solved by creating the longcase style of clock, more commonly known as the grandfather clock.

By the mid-18th century, American clockmakers began making tall-case clocks by hand. Due to the heavy tax on brass and other clockmaking materials shipped from abroad, the colonial grandfather clock was made mostly of wood, including its movements.

Originally producing chiming wall and mantel clocks, Howard Miller began manufacturing grandfather clocks in the '60s including the colonial-style Barwick grandfather clock. Tempus Fugit grandfather clocks are often assumed to be a brand name, but many clockmakers and watchmakers through history have inscribed the Latin phrase that translates to "time flies" on the dial of a clock. Though often applied to Ridgeway or Howard Miller clocks, the term can apply to any clock bearing the words. Modern grandfather clocks from Tiffany and Swedish Mora Gustavian spice up design collections with their contemporary edginess.


Quick Facts

  • A mid-18th century Northern European marquetry and walnut longcase clock sold for $9,999 at Bonhams in 2004
  • A William III walnut striking longcase made by Thomas Tompion around 1699 realized a price of $181,519 at an auction by Christie’s London in 2012
  • A Philadelphia Chippendale carved walnut tall-case clock with a dial signed by Edward Duffield and a case attributed to Nicholas Bernard and Martin Jugiez realized a price of $386,500 at a Christie’s New York auction in 2010

Recommended Items at Auction

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Monumental William IV Mahogany Tall Case Clock
Jun 23, 6:00 PM EDT
Monumental William IV Mahogany Tall Case Clock
by Caswell Prewitt Realty, INC
Est: $0- $0
$67518 Bids
Colonial 9 Tube Grandfather Clock Tall Case Clock German UW03082 Urgos Clock Movement
Jun 23, 3:00 PM MST
Colonial 9 Tube Grandfather Clock Tall Case Clock German UW03082 Urgos Clock Movement
by Ace Of Estates
Est: $0- $0
$65011 Bids
Early Pine Tall Clock
Jun 22, 6:30 PM EDT
Early Pine Tall Clock
by Gary R. Wallace Auctioneers Inc.
Est: $0- $0
$605 Bids
Federal-style Mahogany Grandfather Clock
Jun 15, 11:00 AM EDT
Federal-style Mahogany Grandfather Clock
by Kaminski Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
Grandfather clock. H 224cm W 52cm D 27cm
Jun 16, 12:00 PM AEST
Grandfather clock. H 224cm W 52cm D 27cm
by Christian McCann Auctions
Est: AUD200- AUD300
AUD1501 Bid
Howard Miller Grandfather Clock.
Jun 15, 11:00 AM CDT
Howard Miller Grandfather Clock.
by Direct Auction Galleries, Inc.
Est: $300- $500
$1001 Bid
EARLY CHERRY TALL CASE CLOCK
Jun 15, 10:00 AM EDT
EARLY CHERRY TALL CASE CLOCK
by Appalachian Trading Post & Auction Company
Est: $10- $5,000
$101 Bid
Rustic Modern Green Painted Wood Tall Case Clock
Jul 09, 11:00 AM EDT
Rustic Modern Green Painted Wood Tall Case Clock
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $200- $400
$500 Bids
A GRANDFATHER CLOCK OF THE 18TH
Jun 21, 10:00 AM CEST
A GRANDFATHER CLOCK OF THE 18TH
by Historia Auctionata
Est: €0- €0
€3300 Bids
SLIM GRANDFATHER CLOCK, WHITE WI
Jun 21, 10:00 AM CEST
SLIM GRANDFATHER CLOCK, WHITE WI
by Historia Auctionata
Est: €0- €0
€1200 Bids
AN 18TH/19TH CENTURY GRANDFATHER
Jun 21, 10:00 AM CEST
AN 18TH/19TH CENTURY GRANDFATHER
by Historia Auctionata
Est: €0- €0
€1200 Bids
RARE GRANDFATHER CLOCK WITH MOON
Jun 21, 10:00 AM CEST
RARE GRANDFATHER CLOCK WITH MOON
by Historia Auctionata
Est: €0- €0
€2200 Bids
GRANDFATHER CLOCK, ENGLISH MAHOG
Jun 21, 10:00 AM CEST
GRANDFATHER CLOCK, ENGLISH MAHOG
by Historia Auctionata
Est: €0- €0
€1,4000 Bids
EXTREMELY SMALL GRANDFATHER CLOC
Jun 21, 10:00 AM CEST
EXTREMELY SMALL GRANDFATHER CLOC
by Historia Auctionata
Est: €0- €0
€600 Bids
AN IMPORTANT EMPIRE GRANDFATHER
Jun 21, 10:00 AM CEST
AN IMPORTANT EMPIRE GRANDFATHER
by Historia Auctionata
Est: €0- €0
€3000 Bids
longcase clock with Westminster chime, watch manufacturer
Jun 29, 11:00 AM CEST
longcase clock with Westminster chime, watch manufacturer
by Henry's Auktionshaus
Est: €350- €700
€3200 Bids
antique French Morbier tall case clock
Jun 17, 10:00 AM EDT
antique French Morbier tall case clock
by Yardley Antiques
Est: $1,200- $1,500
$4000 Bids
An Olde Windsor Grandfather clock by Bell and Loveday, circa 1990.
Jun 21, 11:00 AM AEST
An Olde Windsor Grandfather clock by Bell and Loveday, circa 1990.
by Because Auctions
Est: AUD280- AUD400
AUD2400 Bids
Musik-Standuhr, Polyphon Nr. 64.
Jun 21, 10:00 AM CEST
Musik-Standuhr, Polyphon Nr. 64.
by Dannenberg
Est: €3,000- €3,600
€3,0000 Bids
A mantle clock formed as a miniature long case / g…
Jun 24, 9:00 AM BST
A mantle clock formed as a miniature long case / g…
by Claydon Auctioneers
Est: £30- £50
£300 Bids
William Preddy, Langport : A 19thC oak cased 30 ho…
Jun 24, 9:00 AM BST
William Preddy, Langport : A 19thC oak cased 30 ho…
by Claydon Auctioneers
Est: £100- £200
£800 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Grandfather Clocks


Hutchinson Scott Limited

Hutchinson Scott Limited

Historia Auctionata

Historia Auctionata

Derksen Veilingbedrijf

Derksen Veilingbedrijf

Claydon Auctioneers

Claydon Auctioneers