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The Clockmakers Company

I have mentioned about the Clockmakers Company before, but I believe this institution needs mentioning in further detail.

Royal Charter 1631

The Clockmaker’s Company was founded under a Royal Charter of King Charles I in 1631 This makes this organization coming up to 400 years old and one of the oldest guilds in the world.  It is the main reason why London and the UK became the centre of clock making in the 17/18 and 19th centuries. The guild kept standards very high. Its powers were restricted on the whole to the city of London but its influence stretched further afield. This vital group was important in quality control, training and the welfare of its members. 

Conditions of being a Member

To sell and manufacture antique clocks within the city of London one first had to become a freeman of the Clockmaker’s Company.  This was achieved by becoming an apprentice to a free cloc kmaker. This was done through purchase or by the right of a child to follow a parent into the profession. Quality was kept extremely high, as if standards slipped the Company had to right to confiscate or destroy your work.

It was also important for the Clockmaker’s Company to manage the various arts of clock making into one cohesive unit. Everyone was working together for the benefit of each other. i.e. the bell makers, engravers etc

Visit London

It is important if you visit London to go to the Clockmaker’s Companythis was situated in the Guildhall, but it is now based at London’s Science Museum. They have in my opinion one of the finest collections of clocks and related information in the world. John Harrison’s 5th marine chronometer completed in 1770 is on view here.

Below is a list of the masters of this Clockmaker’s Company from 1631 up until 1875. This guild is still going strong today. The Company was and still is governed by a “Court” of ten or more “Assistants”. Each year a Master is elected and three wardens and a clerk who attends to its day to day business. You will notice some very famous antique clock makers below.

The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers (1631-1875)


The Masters
1631 David Ramsey
Named in the Charter
1632 David Ramsey
Sworn 22nd October
1633 David Ramsey
Represented by his Deputy
Henry Archer
1634 Sampson Shelton
1635 John Willow
1636 Elias Allen
1638 John Smith
1639 Sampson Shelton
1640 John Charleton
1641 John Harris
1642 Richard Masterson
1643 John Harris
1644 John Harris
1645 Edward East
1646 Simon Hackett
1647 Simon Hackett
1648 Robert Grinkin
1649 Robert Grinkin


1650 Simon Bartram
1651 Simon Bartram
1652 Edward East
1653 John Nicasius
1654 Robert Grinkin
1655 John Nicasius
1656 Thomas Holland
1657 Benjamin Hill
1658 Benjamin Hill
1659 Simon Hackett
1660 John Pennock
1661 John Coxeter
1662 John Coxeter
1663 John Pennock
1664 Henry Child
1665 Jeremy Gregory
1666 Jeremy Gregory
1667 Jeremy Gregory
1668 Thomas Taylor
1669 Thomas Taylor
1670 Thomas Claxton
1671 Nicholas Coxter
1672 Samuel Home
1673 Samuel Home
1674 Jeffery Bailey
1675 Jeffery Bailey
1676 Jeremy Gregory
1677 Nicholas Coxeter
1678 Ralph Almond
1679 Samuel Vernon
1680 Walter Hayes
1681 John Brown
1682 Richard Ames (died)
Benjamin Bell
1683 Richard Lyons
1684 Thomas Wheeler
1685 Richard Jarratt
1686 Edward Norris
1687 Thomas Taylor
1689 Nathaniel Barrow
1690 Henry Wynne
1691 Henry Jones
1692 Nicasius Russell
1693 William Knotsford
1694 William Clements
1695 Wither Cheney (excused)
Walter Henshaw
1696 John Sellar (excused)
Edward Stanton
1697 John Ebsworth
1698 Robert Williamson
1699 Robert Halstead


1700 Charles Gretton
1701 William Speakman
1702 Joseph Windmills
1703 Thomas Tompion
1704 Robert Webster
1705 Benjamin Graves
1706 John Finch
1707 John Pepys
1708 Daniel Quare
1709 George Etherington
1710 Thomas Taylor
1711 Thomas Gibbs
1712 John Shaw
1713 Sir George Mettins (Lord
Mayor 1724-1725)
1714 John Barrow
1715 Thomas Feilder
1716 William Jaques
1717 Nathaniel Chamberlain
1718 Thomas Windmills
1719 Edward Crouch
1720 James Markwick
1721 Martin Jackson
1722 George Graham
1723 John Berry
1724 Joseph Williamson (died)
1725 Peter Wise
1726 Langley Bradley
1727 Cornelius Herbert
1728 James Drury
1729 Richard Vick
1730 Thomas Stones
1731 John Marsden
1732 William Bertram (died)
1733 William Tomlinson
1734 Edward Faulkner
1735 Hugh Richards
1736 James Snelling
1737 Thomas Wrightson
1738 John Maberly
1739 John Pepys
1740 William Sherwood
1741 John Stafford
1742 Thomas Hughes
1743 David Hubert
1744 John Hiorne
1745 Joshua Appleby
1746 Mathew Skinner
1747 Nathaniel Delander
1748 Samuel Whichcote
1749 William Scafe


1750 Henry Horne
(Change to new style calendar)
1751 Nathaniel Style
1752 Joseph Stephens
1753 Henton Browne
1754 Jasper Taylor
1755 William Webster
1756 Francis Perigal
1757 Charles Cabrier
1758 Conyers Dunlop
1759 Devereux Bowley
1760 Stephen Goujon
1761 Benjamin Sidey
1762 John Jones
1763 Anthony Benn (died)
1764 Samuel Whichcote
1764 William Addis
1765 Thomas Hughes
1766 Daniel Fenn
1767 Peter Higgs
1768 Samuel Charrington (died)
Charles Merry
1769 Thomas Garle
1770 James Brown
1771 Daniel Aveline (died)
1772 Eliezer Chater
1773 David Rivers
1774 William Rogerson
1775 Francis Perigal
1776 Joseph Stephens
1778 Southern Payne
1779 William Plimley
1780 Francis Atkins
1781 Robert Poole
1782 Thomas Lea
1783 Nathaniel Sargeant
1784 James Green
1785 Hilton Wray
1786 Edward Tutet
1787 Charles Howse
1788 James Richardson
1789 Benjamin Sidey
1790 Richard Style
1791 Daniel Fenn
1792 The Rev. Dr. Robert
1793 Samuel Fenn
1794 William Rivers
1795 Harry Potter
1796 John Jackson
1797 John Ward
1798 Richard Duncombe
1799 John Marriott


1800 Matthew Dutton
1801 William Plumley
1802 Edward Gibson
1803 Timothy Chisman
1804 William Pearce
1805 William Robins
1806 Francis S Perigal Jnr
1807 Samuel Taylor
1808 Thomas Dolley
1809 William Robson
1810 Paul Philip Barraud
1811 Paul Philip Barraud
1812 Harry Potter (died)
1813 Isaac Rogers
1814 William Robins
1815 John Thwaites
1816 William Robson
(First Master to be sworn in
January of the following year)
1817 John Roger Arnold
1818 William Robson
1819 John Thwaites
1820 John Thwaites
1821 Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy
1822 John Jackson Jnr
1823 Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy
1824 Isaac Rogers
1825 Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy
1826 John Jackson
1827 Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy
1828 Richard Ganthany
1829 Richard Ganthany
1830 William Harris
1831 William Harris
1832 William Harris
1833 John Sharp
1834 Edward Ellicott
1835 Edward Ellicott (died)
John Sharp
1836 William James Frodsham
1837 William James Frodsham
1838 John Grant
1839 John Grant
1840 William Gravell
1841 William Gravell
1842 Joseph Fenn
1843 Joseph Fenn
1844 Richard Pinfold Ganthaed (died)
1845 George Atkins
1846 John Grant
1847 Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy
1848 Francis Bryant Adams
1849 Francis Bryant Adams


1850 John Aldington Perry
1851 John Aldington Perry
1852 George Harker
1853 George Harker
1854 James Adams
1855 Charles Frodsham
1856 John Carter, Alderman
1857 James Adams
1858 John Grant
1859 John Carter (Lord Mayor
1860 William Rowlands
1861 George William Adams
1862 Charles Frodsham
1863 Joseph Fenn
1864 John Carter, Alderman
1865 Francis Bryant Adams
1866 John Garratt Curtis Addison
1867 William Rowlands (died)
1868 John Grant
1868 George William Adams
1869 William Lawley
1870 George Moore
1871 John Garratt Curtis Addison
1872 William Wing
1873 Charles Wellborne
1874 William Lawley
1875 George Moore


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30 Hour Clocks

antique cottage clock - 30 hour

30 Hour Country Clocks

My last post was about my most special antique clock makers. I jumped to the support of a superb provincial clock maker at the expense of the hundreds of high quality London makers. In no way was I undermining the great London clockmakers though. We sell more London clocks than any others. I must say we all owe a great deal to the formation of the Clockmaker’s Company in London. The Clockmaker’s Company set standards high and as a result we have lots of special clocks. The UK and London became the centre of clock-making in the 18th century. It is something I am very proud of.

I do think there is a place though for the simple 30 hour clock produced in the provinces. London looked down on the simple 30 hour in the 18th century. No 30 hour grandfather clock examples I believe were produced here after the about C1700. They thought the same of oak cabinets. You will not see a genuine oak London longcase clock I believe, all these were veneered in walnut/marquetry or in figured mahogany, or decorated with chinese lacquer work.

Antique 30 hour clock

Clockmakers Company

The Clockmaker’s Company kept standards in London high. Provincial 30 hour clocks though have a character of there own. In the 18th century you still had to be well off to own a grandfather clock. They were normally the most expensive item in the household.

lovely 30 hour dial

30 hours clocks can have a single hand or two hands to tell the time. Most examples do not have a second hand. For a 30 Hour clock to have a second hand it would need a extra wheel in its train or it would run backwards.

Original 18th century 30 hour oak or pine clocks that have not been altered or have not suffered from the dreaded rot or worm infestation are rare though, many have lost parts of their bases over the years or had their movements converted from 30 hour to ‘8-day’ examples. Both of these dramatically effects the value and I would not recommend purchasing one of these.

wilson 30 hour clock

If you own a cottage though there is nothing better than a simple oak ’30-hour’. You will find they will be very reliable and will fit in with the low ceilings in a cottage much better. Most collectible ’30-hour’ grandfather clocks will have either 10 or 11inch dials, this makes them smaller and slimmer than their standard ‘8-day’ equivalent.

Most of these clocks are wound with a rope or chain, since this rope or chain is on a continious loop, the clocks weight is always engaged when winding. This means that the clock will not stop or lose time during winding. This is effectively the same as ‘maintaining power’ on the fine regulator clocks. They will strike on the hour and it is the same weight that drives the time or going side and the striking side. This is partly why the clock will only last one day on a wind. If you put a clothes peg on the flywheel of the strike mechanism, a 30 hour clock would normally last for about 3 days before needing to be wound.


If you do decide to take the plunge and buy a collectible 30 hour after reading this. Make sure you buy from a recognised dealer. They will give you a money back guarantee that the clock is genuine. Remember to enjoy your search for your grandfather clock whether that be a simple 30 hour clock or a ‘8-day’ example.

As with all antique clocks you are only a custodian of them for future generations. They with live long beyond us if cared for properly.

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What is my favourite antique clock maker?

So many times I get asked the question. When you have so many antique clocks, which one do you like best? It is a very difficult question to answer, as I love antique clocks. I have loved them all my life. There is no one set clock that I can opt for. One clock maker I truly respect amongst all others though.

Clockmaker Thomas Ogden

You might well expect me to go for a special London clockmaker, as so many names run off the tongue. We have Thomas Tompion, the father of English clockmaking. Fromanteel, a very special early clockmaker. Edward East another early and well respected clockmaker. George Graham, Daniel Quare, John Ellicott, a very special maker. Eardley Norton, John Knibb, wow the list is so long and I could include many many more. These are truly amazing clockmakers. You will notice though they are all London gentlemen. It was far easier to get on, produce wonderful clocks in London, than pretty much anywhere else in the 17th/18th centuries.

Why Thomas Ogden ?

After long thought I have decided the workmanship and talents of the Ogden family of clockmakers, and in particular Thomas Ogden Clock . Ogden produced amazing workmanship away from the centre of clock making and knowledge that was London. This makes him my no 1 choice, as a result he certainly has the X factor for me.

Quaker Clockmaking

Thomas Ogden was from a family of Quakers. He was born in C 1693. He initially worked in Ripponden, probably continuing his fathers business. Ogden then moved to Halifax, where he had a shop on the High Street and Upper Swift Place in Soyland. He died with no children in 1769 aged 77.

Superb Quality Workmanship

Thomas Ogden’s work is of the highest quality. He is one of the very few clock makers, that put a half round brass beed, as seen the pictures above, around his dial. No spandrels to the dial is a typical Quaker thing to do. I have been lucky to own a few of his antique clocks. Every one, like the one above, is exacting in every detail. The internal workmanship is not matched in my opinion, especially considering he is not from the establishment of clock makers, that was London in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Globe Moons

He produced some wonderful globe moons or ‘Halifax moons’ ,as they were later called and various world time dials. He is in my opinion the finest of all provincial clock makers and in some ways one of the finest of all clock makers. Pendulum of Mayfair has one such amazing example on its website.

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Timekeeping – Clocks

The pendulum clock

The speed of the clock is the only thing that controls timekeeping. Adjusting the pendulum will make the clock go faster or slower. All other factors can be considered constant. This can be seen from the equation relating to the period of swing of a simple pendulum.

T = 2π√(L/g)


  • T is the period in seconds (s)
  • pi = 3.14 (it is also written as the Greek letter π)
  • L is the length pendulum in meters or feet
  • g is the acceleration due to gravity (9.8 m/s² or 32 ft/s²)

Lengthen pendulum to go slower and vice versa

If your antique clocks are correctly set up and are fast and gaining time, you will need to lengthen the pendulums. If your clock is slow, you will need to shorten the pendulum of the clock, to quicken it up.

All clock pendulum rods and bobs prior to the temperature compensated pendulums either will expand or contract with temperature changes. They need to be adjusted accordingly. Most antique clocks in centrally heated houses will be re-markedly accurate though, after you have adjusted to your mean temperature.

Temperature Compensated Pendulums on Clocks

Probably the earliest method for trying to overcome deviations in timekeeping as a result of temperature changes was the wood rod pendulum. In long grain the wood rod will expand only a little.This expansion will be compensated by the addition of a large brass cased lead bob. This brass bob will also expand slightly up and down from the rating nut, with temperature changes.

Every Increasing Accuracy

Refining the accuracy of the very best precision clocks started from the early 18th century with Harrison’s grid iron pendulum. Differing expansions of metals was understood many years earlier. Harrison devised a pendulum with a specific proportion of brass and iron. These two metals would have rates of expansion and contraction that would effectively cancel each other out.

George Graham

In 1722 Graham produced a mercury compensated pendulum. The mercury as seen in a regulator clock in the picture above is contained in a jar. This is effectively acting the same as a normal brass pendulum bob. Mercury will expand roughly 6 times the rate of steel and so in the ratio 1:6. The expansions will roughly cancel each other out. The thermal coefficients of the differing metals is therefore important when building compensated pendulums. Glass being a poor conductor of heat was the only real negative to this invention but this method proved very effective and the pendulums do look stunning. These type of clocks are very collectible.

John Ellicott

There were various other pendulum’s developed like Ellicott’s compensated pendulum and Richie’s compensated pendulum on regulator clocks.Then the eventual use of metals like Invar which is a mix of nickel/iron and small quantities of carbon and manganese.


All these compensated pendulums are just trying to keep the effective length of the pendulum the same. When I say effective length of the pendulum, this will be from the bending point of the feather at the top of the clocks pendulum, to the centre of gravity of the pendulum near its bottom.  This is why on some clocks coins or small weights were added on the rod to change fine timekeeping. I will happily answer more question if you contact me.

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Humidity: Antique Furniture and Clocks

Humidity – Does it really matter?

Please read this before it is to late. This particular topic is very dear to my heart. It is vital for not only for people that own antique clocks and furniture, but people that care about their health. No doubt many ears pricked up when I mentioned health. Yes that’s right. Low humidity and high humidity have been found to be major contributors to asthma. Humidity changes and the incorrect humidity will effect all things like your plaster, cornice or your newly laid expensive wood floor. If you do not take action splits or the joints opening up or general warping can occur.

Not Low or High Humidity

All natural things are susceptible to damage from either low or high humidity, whether that be mold damage or shrinkage damage. Antique furniture pieces are often veneered, which means a flamboyant wood like mahogany on the outside and oak or pine on the carcass. Different woods have differing expansion rates. Rapid changes to humidity or prolonged low humidity will therefore lead to warping, splitting or cracks developing in the veneers. Veneers on antiques are stuck on normally by ‘animal glues’, after changes to humidity and temperature over time veneers tend to drop off.  This can be an early sign of the incorrect humidity levels in your home or office.

Early Signs of Problems

Another early warning sign is the hood glass on your grandfather clock splitting from side to side. The door frame shrinks leaving the glass no where to go. If this happens get your humidity levels urgently checked before expensive restoration work is required. If this problem is left untreated it may be too late.

Humidifiers Are Vital

Antique clocks and furniture should be kept in a controlled environment. Rapid changes to humidity or prolonged low or high humidity can cause damage as described above. Low humidity is damaging for antiques, as a result many antiques have been ruined by central heating. This is a real shame and something that is easily corrected.

Purchase a hygrometer

Humidity is the amount of moisture or water molecules in the air. Keep your humidity between 40-65%. Purchase a hygrometer to check whether you have an issue. Humidity levels can be adjusted to the correct levels by either a humidifier (if you have low humidity) or a de-humidifier. (in cases of high humidity)

Customers can benefit if you have low humidity and like it warm can increase your humidity. Higher humidity will make you will be able to have noticeably lower temperatures and still feel comfortable. Slightly increasing your humidity can therefore save on heating costs. Contact me now at Pendulum of Mayfair, for more information.


By controlling your humidity to the desired levels you can therefore:

1) save your antiques from damage

2) save money on your heating bill

3) look after your health in the process

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Dating Antique Painted Dial Clocks

Dating clocks

Longcase or grandfather clocks were made in Britain from about 1658 and during the first few years their production was confined almost exclusively to London. One of the earliest provincial grandfather clocks I have seen is dated 1689 by a maker called John Washbourn.

Painted dials on the other hand were brought out just after C.1770, these were made to compete with the single sheet dial or one-piece brass dial, that was introduced around C.1760.

I like to catagorize painted dial grandfather clocks into three seperate time periods.

Period 1 – 1770 – 1790

Painted dial manufacture and painting was started in Birmingham by two individuals called Osborne and Wilson. They were in partnership between 1772 and 1777, they later went there own ways producing dials on their own merit, Wilson died in 1809. White dial production became very popular in Birmingham in the 18th century. Towards the end of the 18th century there were a large number of dial painters situated in Birmingham. Most dial manufacturer’s stamp their names on the iron false plate behind the dial. It is true to say Birmingham dominated the market in painted grandfather clock dial production, but there were a few other areas that set-up dial painting and manufacture for example in Halifax and Edinburgh. 


The very earliest dials were attached to the front plate of the movement directly. After a short time, dials were attached by means of an iron false plate. This made it easy for the clock maker to attach his dials. It would not interfere with any part of his movement. Also it meant you could have smaller dial feet, which were therefore more stable and less prone to bending.


The two dials above are exceedingly early white dials and just have the gold leaf decoration to the corners. These type of dials date from about C.1772-1775

Below you will see the second stage of period 1 antique clock dials. Some colour is added to the gold leaf decoration to the corners and arch. These clock dials below date from C1775-C1785

You will notice in London gold leaf decoration and flower to the corners is earlier than the corresponding dials in the provinces. In London new advances were always ahead of their time. Even though dial painting originally started in Birmingham. Early London dials around C1775 will have gold leaf decoration and flowers to the corners. Sometimes London dials have no decoration at all. Also sometimes the chapter ring and the strike/silent ring are porcelain or painted with the rest of the dial left brass.


There is therefore three stages in my opinion of period 1 antique clock white dials. The last stage of period 1 is between C.1785 and C.1795. This is when the dial painter drops the gold to the corners and sometimes a scene is included or a bird.

Period 2 – 1790 – 1810

Period 2 can be mixed in certain ways with period 1 dials. They are certainly in no way inferior to period 1 dials. In fact the two dials I have included here are amazing works of art. I suppose it is the real height of dial design and some of the dials produced certainly in the C.1790-C1800 period are of the finest detailing.

Period 3 – 1810 onwards

I must admit  period’s 1 , 2 and the very start of period 3 white dials are the most collectable. These are of the highest value and my favourite. The two pictured below are very nice clocks both dating from start of the 19th century.  As the 19th century progresses the dials become larger and the scenes not so well painted. Generally if your dial is 13 inches or below and your clock is an antique and not a copy. Your clock will date from earlier than C.1820 as a rule of thumb.


You will also notice the dial progression, the very earliest white dial grandfather clocks are mostly white. As time progresses more of the dial becomes painted. The later you go, the painting gets quite dense. On the later mid 19th century ones, these sometimes are not of a very high quality or very appealing. The dials below are very good period 3 antique clock dials, and still very collectable. The clock dial on the left is a rare oval dial. You will notice most dials produced were either square and arched. Visit our homepage for further information.

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Caring for your clocks

Clock Maintenance

It is important that your antique clock movement is properly serviced. A full movement overhaul , if carried out properly and correctly, can last a generation. If your movement requires cleaning this is a separate issue and should be carried out as and when necessary. This is usually every 15 years or so. This should always be carried out by a qualified horologist. I am going to advise on general maintenance in this blog, that can be undertaken by the owner. This general care should be carried out every year or 18 months.

Service every 10-15 Years

I am assuming your clock has had a proper service in the last 10/20 years. Running a dirty or worn clock movement can lead to further wear and is not advisable.

Oiling your clock movement

It is important to oil your clock movement every year or 18 months. I recommend using a good Swiss clock oil, like Moebius Clock Oil. This can be found at good clock part suppliers or on the Internet via companies like eBay. Do not use poor quality oil substitutes, as these can dry out and may require your movement to be cleaned to remove deposits.

Where to oil?

Correctly oil your antique clock movements. This will therefore extend the life of your movement before a major service will be required. The wheels of the movement do not require oiling. It is important to oil where the pivots go through the front plate and backplate of the movement. The wheels are fixed onto to arbors and at the ends of these arbors are called pivots. Tiny oil sinks are on the outer side of the front plate and backplate to hold the oil.

Little and Often

Apply a drop of oil using a fine artist brush. If you cannot oil the oil sink on the outer side of the plates, oil where the pivot goes through the plates on the inner side. At the top of the movement, there is the anchor. The pivot for this is attached to back-cock and is not on the backplate of the movement. It is also good to oil the anchor pallets, this is the part which goes tick / tock. At this service you can oil the pulleys, which the clock weights are attached and other places like hinges of the clock door etc.


Customers should never use aerosol spray polish on your grandfather clocks cabinet. Furthermore only use beeswax polish as aerosols can have added chemical and propellants which can damage your patina. I have known customers use spray polish and this has literally stripped the wax finish of the cabinet. Use pure beeswax polish, this is essential, for proper care. You should contact us concerning antique clock repair.

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How to spot fakes – a brief guide

Buying Clocks Advice

So you have finally managed to take the plunge and purchase your antique clock. There are many antique clocks available on the market but not all are original examples. There is nothing worse than spending lots of hard earned money on something that you later find out to be not what you originally thought. Regularly you will only find out something is amiss when someone knowledgeable visits your home. I have had to break bad news when asked for my comments on many occasions.

When buying an antique clock to purchase from someone you can trust. Finding someone like this is never easy. Try and find someone who is long established and are specialists in this field. Maybe they will offer you a money back guarantee. You should then have peace of mind.

Some restoration will have been carried out on all antique clocks. This should be sympathetic restoration though and not major surgery. I have devised some basic things to look out for below.

Genuine London Antique Clock C.1770

Look. Smell. Feel.

  • Probably the most common part of an antique grandfather clock to have been replaced is the base of the clock. Clocks used to stand on cold, damp floors, and many bases simply rotted away or were attacked by the dreaded woodworm. Clearly the bottom feet or plinth is an acceptable part of restoration but not the entire base section. Easy signs of new bases are when the wood does not match the trunk door. If the figuring of the wood and colour is different be-ware.

    On London and south country clocks the backboard should be old and full length. If the backboard is rotted at the bottom and stops way short of the bottom, this is something to be careful of. If the backboard has rotted away, how much of the base has been rebuilt? In North country clocks, backboards can be made in two pieces from the later part of the 18th century.

  • Style Issues

  • Movements have sometimes been replaced. Make sure the case style corresponds to the makers location. i.e. London mahogany clocks do not have swan neck pediments but dome or pagoda tops. You can look at some good reference clock books for information on what clock cases should look like for different areas of the country. Each area of the UK in the 18th century had a distinctly different style of cabinet feature. For instance London clocks do not use simple oak cases but these are either veneered in walnut, ebony, mahogany or decorated with chinoiserie.
  • Look for Spare Holes

  • Does the dial belongs to the movement? Are there any spare holes in the front plate where another dial has been ? If the clock has a brass dial, this is attached directly to the front plate. Not by means of an iron false plate. (as used on white painted dial clocks) The winding holes on ‘8-day’ clocks are well placed within the centre of the dial These do not spoil the engraving or chapter ring.
  • Dial Features

  • If the clock is an ‘8-day’ example that the clock has a second hand. 99% of all ‘8 day’ clocks should have a second hand to just below the 12 0’clock position. If there is an obvious reason why a second hand cannot be fitted like a ‘penny moon’ feature then this is OK. As a rule though ’30Hr’ clocks do not usually have second hands, and so if the clock has had a later ‘8-day’ movement fitted this is why you should wonder why there is no second hand.
  • Does the age of the movement corresponds to the age of the cabinet? All dials have dating features, for instance inside quarter divisions, type of spandrels. You can date these very easily with good reference books. English walnut cases date from the 17th century up to about 1760. Mahogany cabinets date from about 1750 onwards. Oak cabinets tend to run straight through the 17th and 18th and 19th century’s.
  • Any Packing Under Seatboard?

  • Look for any obvious packing under the seat-board that cannot be accounted for? If the seat-board is old and warped ? A small piece of packing may be necessary.
  • Prior to 1820 all English antique clocks movements should strike on a bell and not a gong. Gong striking is popular around C1900.
  • Look for rub marks from where the weights and pendulum have banged over the years. If you see 1 smooth rub on inside under trunk door and your clock has 2 weights, this is not a good sign. If there are marks on backboard far away from where pendulum is hanging, and the clock is keeping time. Ask what would have caused these marks.

    If the pendulum feather has been changed for a stiffer example, the pendulum height can change slightly This should only be a slight change.

  • Fitting Issues?

  • Investigate whether the dial fits the mask correctly and there are no large gaps. The size of glass should be similar to the size of the dial.
  • Is the face made from 1 piece of brass? This brass prior to C1800 will be cast brass and so thick and thin. The arch section of the dial should be from the same section of brass. If a square dial is later converted to an arch dial case, this is why some dials are made of two pieces.
  • Carved Cases?

  • Finally I have never seen an original fully carved pre C.1820 Longcase clock. The Victorians loved later carving GIII clocks though, and so beware buying one of these examples. Later carving would dramatically effect the clocks value.
  • Conclusion

    I wish you luck in your search. Buying from a recognized antique clock dealer may be slightly more expensive but you will get peace of mind. You should aim to get a money back guarantee that your clock is a genuine antique and a fully working example. It is easy to spend your good money buying a clock with a chequered history. Please take your time and not rush into a decision you will later regret.

    As they say an antique clock is for life and not just for Christmas. In our business we say, hard to find easy to sell. Original examples will provide you will years of pleasure and a good solid investment, Pendulum of Mayfair only sells top quality examples.

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    The Longcase Clock – Time Measurement

    Equation of Time

    Time is at the heart of life itself. From the moment we are born, to the moment we die, man has always been intrigued by time. From the earliest days on earth, even pre-historic man lived by a form of time. Life for them revolved around light and dark:  sleep, wake, hunt, eat,sleep again. Life and time are cycles that we cannot stop, we cannot slow. What the early mathematicians and astronomers tried to do was make time more exacting.

    ‘Water clocks’, ‘candle clocks’, and early ‘sundial clocks’  were developed, many of these in countries like China. It is amazing the evolution of countries over time, China played a huge part in the introduction of many new ideas and inventions, in the early world. It was in the UK that developed the measurement of time and put it in a more practical way.  All these early antique clocks show the passing of time and try and measure it.  Sundial clocks like Cleopatra’s Needle dating from about 1500 BC, was brought to England in 1877 and now stands on the Thames Embankment in London. Forms like Cleopatra’s needle and later sundials all use the elevation of the sun in the sky to tell the time.

    Equation of Time

    As society developed a more accurate way of measuring time was needed. Sundials, all well and good, are a pretty useless way of telling the time on a cloudy day. Also sundials are not accurate, because of the eliptical rotation of the earth. This inaccuracy is up to 15 minutes per day, sometimes slower, sometimes faster than sundial time. Mathematicians developed a yearly equation of time sheet for these inaccuracies. From this, is was possible to set your clock from these sheets.

    Some amazing clockmakers produced this equation of time feature, on a year calendar, on their actual clocks.  Setting you clock in the 17th century was not easy though and many were still not accurate. It was not until the introduction of the long pendulum, invented by Christian Huygens in 1657 did both clocks accuracy increase and more widespread sale of clocks happened. Towards the end of the 17th and early 18th centuries clocks became more affordable.

    As many will know as a result of the great book by Dava Sobel – ‘Longitude’, the problem of inaccuracy of clocks, was even more important at sea.

    King Charles II founded the Royal Observatory in 1675 to solve the problems of Longitude of sea. The produced a Lunar method of telling time at sea. This could be inaccurate though and had many problems.

    John Harrison

    As a result in 1714, the British Government by Act of Parliament, gave a reward of £20,000 (a huge prize at the time) to solve the Longitude problem. John Harrison devoted his life’s work to solving this issue, and he produced various chromometers on display in Greenwich, London, these were called H1, H2, H3 and H4 dating from 1730 to 1760.


    These clocks were fantastic and clearly solved the problem. Harrison though was not part of the establishment at the time, he was a simple carpenter from Lincolnshire. It took him over 10 years to win his prize, and even then, only by the intervention of the King. Harrisons inventions led to the modern day ships chronometer, these were still widely used until the  middle of the 20th century. His inventions led the UK to become an important sea power, and saved countless sailors lives.

    Antique clocks were crucial in the 17/18th centuries both on sea and land. During the 18th century accuracy came to within a few minutes a week. It was not until temperature compensated pendulums and other regulator features on the movements, that happened in the latter part of the 18th century, that accuracy came to within a few seconds a week for these precision clocks.

    The quest for the measurement of time was in effect solved. Time is central to everyones life, like it was with these great ancestors of ours. Many sayings are taken from these antique clocks, time flies , time shows the path of mans decay, all very morbid, but it is fact. We might have learnt how to measure time, but we can not slow it.

    Nothing is so important as time, it is fundamental to life itself. We at Pendulum of Mayfair care for all aspects of antique clocks, please contact me at

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    Are Antique Clocks Free From Capital Gains Tax ?

    I have been asked many times about the state of the economy at the moment as regards antique clocks. The market at the moment is very strange. We seem to be doing well on all high value items and clock sales are very quiet on the less expensive goods. To anyone listening to this they will probably ask me the question, well why is it this way?

    1. The first answer probably relates to people and/or businesses investing in antique clocks. Antique clocks are for tax purposes described as a ‘wasting asset’. This means they can be classified on business accounts as plant/machinery. Therefore their purchase can be set against tax. Personal possessions that are wasting assets. These can also be exempt from Capital Gains Tax. The tax man therefore at the moment can not touch clocks.
    2. My second answer relates to stocks/shares and low return on savings. At the moment wealthy and middle income customers are becoming increasingly frustrated with these low returns. They are deciding to purchase antique clocks for their home. At the moment there is a return on savings and investments. They would rather spend their money on items that give them pleasure. These can form equally good investments themselves. It is important you buy your antique clock from a reliable and trustworthy source. These will give you a money back guarantee that it is genuine and fully restored. Be careful when buying in auction as this is not the case.
    3. Intrinsic labour costs

      Antique grandfather clocks have so much intrinsic labour costs built in. As a result, they will continue, in my opinion, to form a good investment. They were built to last and labour costs at the time were very low. These past generations produced some wonderful clocks. We treasure these today, many can be viewed at our online antique store.