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The Origin Of Grandfather Clocks
Remember those big, wooden clocks with long pendulums and which gives out eerie sounds? Antique clocks can evoke feelings of nostalgia for times gone by. Hearing the clock going ding-dong could either bring a person back to the past or to a time in the future.
Clocks, no matter what kind they are, have always been an important aspect of man’s life. The invention of the clock has made life easier for humans, who used to tell time by the way the sun’s rays were positioned in the sky. Our ancestors could tell it is noon when the sun is set at a certain height or level in the sky. While this system worked, it made the telling of time impossible during night time or at times when it is raining.
Mechanical clocks which sounded a bell at every hour were invented in the 1300s. However, these clocks were so primitive they did not have minute hands or faces which could easily tell the time the way the clocks do nowadays. The discovery of the coiled spring in the 1400s made possible for the existence of smaller clocks and even watches. It was in the 1600s when the pendulum clock was invented by Christiaan Huygens. However, the pendulum clock was still considered inaccurate.
Such was the British Parliament’s yearning for a clock that could accurately tell the time, that a cash reward awaited anyone who could create a clock that could be used even for navigation. Finally, the accurate clock was invented and humans were once again able to navigate and work, knowing that their clocks were telling them the right time.
One of the clocks that have become famous is the grandfather clock. This clock is known for being a work of art in itself, enclosed in a tower case and has a long pendulum. Remember that in the olden days, the longer the pendulum of the clock was, the more accurate the time. Grandfather clocks usually measured high at a minimum of six feet tall, and the tower made of hardwood and glass.
The Grandfather clock actually referred to the floor clock kept in the George Hotel in England, owned by the two brothers. The death of one of the brothers resulted to time malfunction of the floor clock. When the clock started to fail when the second brother died, the clock was never repaired. This was the same clock which inspired the song “My Grandfather’s Clock”, composed by Henry Clay Work in 1875 and written after he stayed in the George Hotel and learned of the story of the two brothers.
Most Grandfather clocks are striking clocks. Striking clocks, like the Big Ben clock in London, are clocks that make a gong sound at every hour.