Antique Clocks

In ancient times, people would start work when the sun rose and stop once it had set. Then sun dials and water clocks were invented and people could tell the time using these devices.

Clocks were made for public buildings in the 16th century and they became popular in ordinary homes in the early part of the twentieth century.

Long Case Clocks, or to give them their more popular name, Grandfather Clocks, were invented in Britain. The pendulum was first used in a clock by Christian Huygens, he was Dutch. But, it was British manufacturers who dominated the market from around the time of the reign of William and Mary, until the middle of the Victorian era. There are many beautifully crafted 18th century grandfather clocks on the market todays and prices range from the very affordable to a sizeable investment.

As the Industrial revolution produced more people with money to spend on their homes, there was a demand for a cheaper and more practical clock.  The spring driven clock was the type seen in most homes of people on a modest income.  During the Regency period cartel wall clocks became popular with the upper-classes. The clocks were very ornate and made of gilt-wood or ormolu.

Carriage clocks originated in France and were made so that travellers would have a timepiece that was small and light enough to be carried. Most of the antique carriage clocks for sale today are from the middle 1800’s onwards. Carriage clocks had to fairly sturdy, so they were usually made with brass casing, although there are a few around that are made of solid silver.

Another popular collector’s item is the Cuckoo clock. These lovely clocks were first made by Franz Ketterer, who was from a village in the Black Forest in Germany. They were designed so that on the hour, every hour a door would open on the clock and it would make a cuckoo sound. Inside the doors were figurines such as a man and a woman, or one figurine such as a soldier or a bird and this would pop out as the cuckoo sound was made. The cuckoo clocks were usually carved in wood from the Linden Tree and hand painted. Nowadays, collectors can pay a lot of money for a clock from a famous German clock maker. 

Famous Antique clock manufacturers to look out for are Dent and Frodsham from England, Drocourt and Henri Jacot from France; and American clock manufacturers, E.N Welsh and Elias Ingraham.

If you see a clock you particularly like, but it is need of repair, there are clock repairers, or to give them their correct name, Horologists, who can repair and restore an antique clock to its former glory.  Most clocks benefit from a professional clean every decade, to keep them in good working order

Many antique shops stock antique clocks, but there are also specialist antique clock dealers, who can give you expert advice. Browse the internet to get an idea of what type of clocks collectors are buying and selling and also look out for antique clock fairs in your region.