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Elderly Grandfather Moves in with the VCs

August 24, 2022

Elderly Grandfather Moves in with the VCs

Do you know anyone under 50 with one of these at home? Either I’m showing my age or perhaps at the cusp of a trend-shift in fashions 😀 but I saw this, loved it and bought it.

Traditionally known as a long case clock, the term Grandfather came from the popularity of a song released in 1876 by Henry Clay Work called My Grandfather’s Clock.

I prefer long case clock and expert horologist David Newell returned this week to fit the mechanism he’d serviced. I’ve great admiration for passionate experts, and talking to him about the history of clocks was a joy. Before semi-retiring he used to service the clocks at the Wallace Collection nearby.

They are mainly French, ours is English and quite different. France and England were the centre of world clock making in the 17th and 18th century, of course each claiming the title. The Germans were proficient as early as the late 13th Century and it amazes me the level of engineering brilliance going on so shortly after the Middle Ages.

Our own clock from around 1710 has been serviced to keep to time within about 10 seconds a week; way better than any Rolex I’ve worn, and I love the soft tick of the clock which David modestly told me was down to the quality of the servicing and balancing. The case is Japanned which was a popular painting effect from the 17th Century when all things from the Orient were fashionable. This European finish imitates East Asian lacquerwork, and ties in nicely with our décor.

Whilst it’s a mechanical device in a wooden case, there’s something soulful about a long case clock in the centre of the home. Graceful, calm, and reliably chiming on the hour. The boys are fascinated by it too and are looking forward to the first rewinding tomorrow.

 Michael Van Clarke





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