Here is a partial list of terms related to Grandfather
Clocks, their parts, their design, and their functioning. We hope you will
find them useful and that you will learn something you did not know before.
4/4 Movement - Grandfather clock
movements that chime or strike on the quarter, half and three-quarter hour, in
addition to every full hour. Our clocks chime on the hour and half hour.
Beat - The tick of a clock. Or the
time it takes for a grandfather clock pendulum (balance) to swing from its
center (dead point) to one side and return to its center again. Most clock
"escapements" beat twice per cycle. The beats should be equally disposed about
the center of the pendulum. Grandfather clocks with single-beat escapements,
such as the chronometer and duplex, have one beat on each alternate swing of
Bezel - Front section of the
grandfather clock case including grooved rim into which crystal is set. Can
also describe the flat decorative surface adjacent to the grandfather clock
Bob - Polished round disc at the
lower end of a grandfather clock pendulum.
Bonnett - The top of these
grandfather clocks are usually rounded or connected in a full arch at the top.
Bookmatched - The wood piece is cut
in half and folded open like a book so the wood pattern mirrors each other
from right to left; to match the grains of (as two sheets of veneer) so that
one sheet seems to be the mirrored image of the other.
Break arch - A type of top for
bracket clocks and grandfather clocks which appeared about 1765 and is
characteristic of the style of George Hepplewhite. The arch is incomplete,
having a small ledge or step where it joins the sides of the case. Break-arch
grandfather clocks usually had circular dials with brass bezels, but a number
are known with silvered all-over, enameled or painted dials Dials with a
semi-circular top are also known as break arch.
Burl - A piece of wood with more
lines and pattern in the grain of the wood. Burls have to be cut from special
areas of the tree; a hard woody often flattened hemispherical outgrowth on a
Cable Driven Movement - A movement
that is wound with a crank or key to pull the weights up to the top of the
clock. The weights will fall over the course of the week that powers the
Chain Driven Movement - This
grandfather clock movement requires a chain attached to the 3 weights is
pulled down once a week to raise the weights. The weights will then fall over
the course of the week which powers the clock. This process can mean more
problems with the clock. Our clocks do not need the weights to function.
Chapter Ring - The ring on the dial
of a grandfather clock where the numbers are displayed. Usually in a brushed
silver in a circular pattern.
Chime Rods - Stationary metal rods
inside the grandfather clock that, when struck by small hammers, create chimes
and the hour gong.
Clock - The word clock is derived
from the medieval Latin "clocca" meaning a bell. This is essentially because
the earliest "alarm" clocks did not possess dials but merely sounded a bell at
the "set" time.
Dentil moulding - A flat piece of
molding, equally notched to create small squares in the wood. used to decorate
the case of a grandfather clock.
Dial, brass - Brass was the most
common material in use on grandfather clocks from the late 16th century to the
late 18th century, when enamel or iron dials began to appear. Before it became
possible to produce sheets of brass with an even thickness, brass dials were
cut from sheets which had been cast and reduced to the required gauge by
beating with trip hammers operated by water power.
Escapement - The device in a
grandfather clock that controls the action of it's movement.
Finial - A decorative ornament
perched on the upper extremity of a column or other structure. Finials are
often found on the very top of grandfather clocks, between the split arches.
Fixed Moon Phase Dial - An
non-functional image of a moon dial to enhance the look of the grandfather
Grandfather Clock - Also called
tallcase, longcase, or floor clock. Grandfather clocks are pendulum clocks
enclosed in tall narrow cases which are over 6 feet tall. (Some say a true
grandfather clock must be 6 foot 3 inches or taller - all of our clocks are at
least that tall.)
Grandmother clock - Generally, a
popular name for a shorter version of the grandfather clock. If a clock is
under 6 foot 3 inches, or very slim and spring-driven with a dome top and an
8” or less square.
Granddaughter clock – This is
an even shorter version of a grandfather clock. Generally, any clock less than
5 foot 2 inches tall with most of them using round, electroplated silver
dials, with numbers that are painted on rather than engraved.
Hands - The pointed indicators which
mark the hours, and minutes on the dial of the grandfather clock.
Keystone - The semi-triangular piece
of wood usually at the top center of the clock.
Key-wind - Term used to describe
grandfather clocks powered by a mainspring, as with all of our clocks.
Movement - The mechanical parts of a
grandfather clock that run the time and the features of the clock. The inner
mechanism of the grandfather clock can be key-wind, weight driven, electric or
quartz (battery powered). Our grandfather clocks are 31-day key-wind movements
which never require electricity or batteries.
Pediment - This usually refers to
rounded top of a grandfather clocks which is interrupted or split in the
center (usually seen on cherry clocks).
Pilasters - Columns or posts that
are found on the sides of the grandfather clock running vertically. These are
decorative, but also add strength the the cabinet.
Pendulum - A
swinging rod hanging from below the grandfather clock's movement to regulate
the timekeeping for mechanical movements (usually decorative for quartz
Roman Numerals -
Numeral style (I, II, III, IV, etc) used on grandfather clock dials. You may
see the Roman Numeral 4 as IIII. This is not incorrect. In fact, it is the
original and oldest designation by the Romans.
Tapered - progressively narrowed
toward one end.
Tempus Fugit -
Latin phrase that means "Time Flies". This can be frequently found above clock
Weight - Heavy metal piece used to
power certain types of grandfather clock chime movements. Usually decorative
when used with quartz movements.
It is our mission here at GranFather
Clocks Online to provide these lovely Grandfather Clocks at a truly
affordable price for everyone. Quality craftsmanship, dependable
movements, excellent woodworking all combine to create a beautiful grandfather
clock for you or your loved ones which will last a lifetime.
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