5 Different Types of Grandfather Clocks

Learn all about the different types of grandfather clocks and discover the interesting history as well as the cultural significance of these iconic longcase clocks.

Ever wondered why grandfather clocks are called by this particular name; or perhaps, how they acquired this unique name? When was the last time you actually saw a grandfather clock in someone’s house?

Given their incredibly long cases, echoing bells, swinging pendulums, and the prominent Roman numerals, one might assume that they belong to the world of ‘grandparents,’ as the name implies. However, that is not really the case. The exclusive name of these longcase clocks actually has nothing to do with grandparents. In fact, it has quite a rich, fascinating history behind its name and significance.

So how exactly did grandfather clocks they end up with this name?

Types of Grandfather Clocks

Nothing says history, elegance, creativity, and charm like a tall, slender grandfather clock does. Standing at almost 6-8 feet tall with a strong body that supports the weight-driven swinging pendulums, these clocks are, indeed, quite a masterpiece.

Take a look at some of the most popular types of grandfather clocks from ancient times that are considered to be real, priceless gems in today’s time.

Comtoise Clocks

Also known as ‘Morez clocks’ and ‘Morbier clocks,’ this is one of the most common types of grandfather clocks.

Comtoise Clocks are a type of longcase clock that mainly originated in France. These clocks were specially made in the French region called Franche-Comté, which is primarily how the clock got its unique name. Since these clocks were also produced in the vicinity of Morbier in France, they were given the name ‘Morbier clocks.’ The name variation is simply due to the different names of areas in the Franche-Comté region.

Bornholm Clocks

As the name suggests, this type of grandfather clock originated in Bornholm, which is a Danish island in the Baltic Sea. The island is situated south of Sweden, east of Denmark and north of Poland.

The production of clocks began in 1745 and lasted till 1900. These are basically Danish longcase clocks with a delicate crown, often square-shaped with a tiny window on both sides. The windows allowed one to see the working of the clock from the inside.

Empire Clock

This is a type of Bornholm clock that was produced in the 1800s and eventually faced a steep decline in the 1900s. The Empire Clock consists of a white face made of iron, coupled with black-colored numbers and simple brass hands. The backside of the face often has the clockmaker’s name or initials painted in ink.

The body of the Empire clock also consists of three pieces: the foot, case, and head. The head has a round window with even sides. The window often has a row of pearls or a carved laurel wreath below it. The foot, on the other hand, consists of angled sides while the corners of the case have a carved drape with capitals and a column base toward the corners.

The Empire clock is also called a ‘Han’ or He, and its counterpart clock is called a ‘Hun’ or She, which has bowed-out sides and was created somewhere during the 1830s.

Mora Clocks

This is a classic Swedish clock made in Mora, which is a town situated in the Dalama province of Sweden. It has gained significant popularity in recent years, mainly because of its unique shape and design.

The origin of the Swedish Mora clock goes as far back as the 18th century, at a time when long periods of droughts had severely affected the Mora town. Many residents left the town during this difficult time and fled to Stockholm. This period is known as one of the toughest economic crises for Mora and its people.

City Mora Clock

This style of Mora clocks made quite a strong stylistic statement, mainly because it included a beautifully painted finished. They were meant for finer and more elegant decorative spaces, which is what set them apart from other Mora clock varieties.