There are many different floor clock styles that can add sophistication and beauty to any room. All floor clocks are not the same, although it may seem so to those who have never taken time to really look at the differences. There are many traditional styles, contemporary styles, and even curio styles that have shelving on either side of the clock. The great majority are made of wooden encasements that can be finished in light, medium, or dark stains. They can also be metal or painted.
A floor clock is often referred to by other names, such as a longcase clock. They are also called grandfather, grandmother, or granddaughter clocks. Grandfather clocks are usually taller than six feet, whereas the other two types are shorter, The grandfather clock was invented in 1670 by William Clement, and it has been a popular functional accessory ever since then. There is a pendulum inside the case. Most of them are striking clocks because they chime every hour, and some chime every 15 minutes.
Some models have interesting sequencing of chimes. Beginning around 1900, a fifteen minute chime was added to new models in addition to the hourly chime. Fifteen minutes after each hour, one-fourth of the chime plays, half of it at the half hour, and at the three-fourths of an hour point, three-fourths of the tune plays. At the next complete hour, the entire tune plays. Most clocks have the tune Westminster Quarters, but other tunes are available. There is a switch to turn the chimes off completely or at night after a certain hour.
A floor clock is not made in its tall style for looks only. Much of the case is needed to hold the long pendulum and weights that are usually stored behind a glass covering in traditional styles. At one time, they required winding with a key either every day or every eight days. The eight-day models were quite a bit more expensive. The type of clock that a family owned was seen as a symbol of their financial success in some cases, so craftsmen began to make daily wind models appear to be the more expensive ones by adding false keyholes on either side of the clock’s face. Then, when guests came to visit, they would believe that the clock was an eight-day model rather than a one-day model. Having to wind your clock daily was seen as being less desirable.
It is a tradition in some families to pass down a special floor clock from generation to generation. Many of these antiques or collectables are traditional styles that are still as beautiful today as they were generations ago. At one time, this type of large time-keeping piece kept time for the entire family. Although the time was not down to the minute or second as today’s clocks and watches are, it provided an idea of the correct time.
Some of the styles that were popular a few centuries are still made today. These are traditional styles with ornate carvings on their cases and golden letters on the faces that may be Roman numerals. There are many modern and contemporary styles that are based on the look of a grandfather model, but a modern floor clock is often made of slate, glass, and other materials that would not have been used hundreds of years ago. It is possible to get a good time piece for under $1,000, but the prices are at least $800 or $900. Prices range from this low to $26,000 and over. Most of the models featured at websites are between $2,000 and $5,000, and many of them have the same traditional look of more expensive models. Contemporary styles are often less expensive because they do not have the ornate woodwork that is on traditional styles.