The first known incarnation of the black forest grandfather clock, which was actually made of iron and was mounted on the wall, was in the mid 1600’s. A man named Christiaan Huygens made the clock based on Galileo’s discovery of the pendulum. Though it wasn’t very accurate it was the precursor to today’s modern grandfather clocks.
Over the years many improved upon the original design and in 1670 William Clement realized that the clock would be more accurate if the pendulum was longer, hence a taller clock. The actual name ‘grandfather clock’ has been attributed to a song titled ‘My Grandfathers Clock’ from 1875. The name just kind of stuck.
Grandfather clocks are instantly recognizable by their long wooden and glass cases which house the swinging pendulum. They can vary greatly in the type of woods used. Some are painted and some are varnished, but the overall look of a grandfather clock is unmistakable.
Today these grandfather clocks are often passed down from one generation to the next as family heirlooms. The long case clocks, as they were once called, are truly a melding of beauty and functionality. These clocks have a long, glorious history and it’s easy to underestimate the complex construction methods that have gone into creating these works of art.
The black forest of Germany has been the leading clock making region for almost 300 years. The quality of the craftsmanship is unequaled. And the reputation for quality and excellent products has been a mainstay for centuries.
Not only are these clocks known for their remarkable craftsmanship, they are also known for their beauty. Using the wood from the Black Forest of Germany, these clocks offer some of the most distinctive and beautiful craftsmanship available on a grandfather clock.
This region of Germany is the ‘birth place’ of clock builders. Germans have long been known for their engineering expertise and that is just as true for clocks as for anything else. Add to that the abundance of beautiful woods from the black forest and you can have a precise clock that is also a work of art.
Today’s clocks can be driven by more than just a pendulum. They are available in quartz drive, cable drive or chain drive. They are made up of many types of woods such as pine, oak, mahogany, beech, and cherry. Grandfather clocks will often have some sort of decorative crowns such as a split pediment, bonnet, arched or federal style.
Today there are many companies that manufacture grandfather clocks, from all over the world though many will still use the German engineered movements and the black forest woods in their construction.
Howard Miller, Hermle, Ridgeway, Bulova and Hentschel are some of the more well known brands. When purchasing a grand father clock make sure you only deal with reputable companies.
Like many beautiful things these clocks will require some TLC and you will have to learn how to set them up and take care of them so it’s good to have a dealer you can trust to help guide you.
Investing in a black forest grandfather clock for your home will really add an air of elegance and beauty. With so many options to choose from you can find the perfect clock to reflect your taste and style.