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A Brief History of Grandfather Clocks

Grandfather Clocks have been in existence for hundreds of years, standing tall as one of history's most distinctive heirloom pieces of furniture. The fine craftsmanship and the decor that they provide to a home have been renowned across the globe.

Galileo Galilei is given credit for discovering, in 1582, that the pendulum was an instrument that would record time. The pendulum (the long swinging weight inside the wooden case) is what keeps the time regular.

The man said to be responsible for inventing the first grandfather clock after the discovery of the pendulum, was the celebrated Dutch astronomer and physicist Christian Huygens, who developed a pendulum style floor clock around 1657. It was described as keeping a 'more even' time than any known clock of its day.

In 1670, William Clement discovered that clocks work more accurately with a longer pendulum, and so the "long case clock" was created. It stood about six-feet tall in a well-crafted wooden case, with an enclosed pendulum and weights. Over the years clockmakers enhanced the craftsmanship of the wooden case and added chimes.

Long case clocks (later called grandfather clocks) were very exclusive to nobility, as their complexity made them very expensive. Eventually their construction became more cost effective, and in the 1880s, England and America began calling them "grandfather clocks." The name became popular because of the song written by the American Henry Work in 1875 called "The Grandfather's Clock."

Today they are a great symbol of time and antiquity, acting as family heirlooms and museum quality relics.