Antique Longcase Clocks
Learn more about Antique Longcase Clocks
What is a Longcase Clock?
For many people, the dignified appearance and mellow sound of a longcase clock gives life to a home. As decorative objects, they cover a large variety of styles, from the early country examples to those with extremely sophisticated dials, movements and cases.
Longcase Clock Features
When and Where Were Longcase Clocks Made?
Along with the invention of the pendulum in 1658, longcase clocks were also made. The longcase (or Grandfather) clock was a practical solution to the problem encountered with the weight-driven lantern clock: protecting the weights and pulleys from dust and interfering children or animals.
The first examples of longcase clocks had short pendulums and verge escapements, housed in narrow ebony cases. By the 1670’s, the verge escapement was discontinued in favour of the anchor escapement which was a much simpler process and increased the clock’s accuracy.
Early longcase clocks, Grandfather Clocks, had brass dials until c1770/1780 when the painted dial first appeared, however brass dial clocks still continued to be made. Dials soon became increasingly sophisticated, with automated scenes, landscapes or seascapes, phases of the moon and other calendar information all variously incorporated. In the 18th Century, the dial was normally flanked by columns and crowned by a pediment.
The buyer will recognise that the longcase clock is a combination of engineering and craftmanship. Occasionally, however, divorces and remarriages have taken place somewhere along the line. Many things can be altered in a clock, which is acceptable as long as the buyer is aware of the alterations when considering the price. If the clock has not got its original combination of features, it will significantly affect its value.
Longcase Clocks for Sale
A large number of clocks have undergone a great deal of alteration over the years meaning prices of Grandfather clocks (longcase clocks) are influenced by condition, originality and authenticity. The best advice which applies to buying any type of clock is to be vigilant and visit a reputable, experienced dealer.
Olde Time Longcase Clocks for Sale
Often regarded as the epitome of English clockmaking, we supply a wide range of Grandfather and other longcase clocks here at Olde Time. We have a huge choice, with each clock more unique than the next.
Longcase Clock / Grandfather Clock Maintenance and Repair
In order to keep your antique longcase clock looking as good as new, you should follow these maintenance guidelines:
- Keep the clock out of direct sunlight and avoid excessive hot or cold temperatures.
- A weekly feather dusting or cleaning of the casework with a mild natural beeswax or crystalline wax will help to remove fingerprints and a build-up of dust from the case. Crystalline wax is a mixture of refined waxes, blended to a formula used by the British Museum to revive and protect valuable furniture, leather, paintings, metals, marble, etc. It is available to buy from Olde Time.
- Never use household cleaners or abrasives of any kind to clean any part of the clock especially the gold plating and lacquer.
- Carefully remove the hood once a month and very carefully remove any cobwebs or dust that has accumulated with a small soft brush, similar to a paint brush.
- To clean the dial and remove any dust that has accumulated, use a small soft brush, similar to a paint brush, and be very careful with delicate hands.
A longcase / Grandfather clock should only be cleaned and overhauled by a specialist antique clock restorer. Never attempt to clean or repair an antique clock yourself.
Moving or Transporting a Longcase Clock / Grandfather Clock
If you need to move or transport your longcase – or Grandfather – clock, here are some tips you should follow:
- Never lift up and carry a Granfather (longcase) clock without taking it apart first.
- To remove the pendulum, carefully stop the pendulum from swinging first. Then, hold it from the middle of the brass bob and lift it slowly in order to remove the suspension spring that holds the pendulum in place. The suspension spring is delicate – do not force it, the pendulum should unhook easily.
- Remove the weights carefully and wrap them in a soft protective material to prevent damage to the brass casing. Then, pack them safely in a properly padded, sturdy moving box.
- The movement and dial should be removed carefully and packed separately. It is best to pack the movement and dial in an upright position in a sturdy, well-padded box keeping the front of the dial and hands safe. It will also prevent the crutch at the back of the movement from bending and becoming damaged.