Mason, Ohio
705 Eagle View Ct.
Mason, OH 45040
(513) 922-0315

How the Grandfather Clock Got Its Name January 11, 2019

Mason, Warren
How the Grandfather Clock Got Its Name, Mason, Ohio

Because of their size and ornate designs, the presence of a grandfather clock in any room is hard to miss. Most clock shops love to tinker and fix these antique timepieces because of their timekeeping capabilities and outstanding craftsmanship. While many people can trace ownership of their grandfather clock a few generations back, most people don’t know where these devices originated from or how they got their name.

What Are the Origins of the Grandfather Clock?

clock shopsGrandfather clocks use a weight-driven pendulum for precise timekeeping. In 1656, a Dutch astronomer and physicist named Christiaan Huygens created the pendulum clock based on the discoveries of Galileo Galilei. With the addition of pendulums, clocks became significantly more accurate, going from delays of 15 minutes down to 15 seconds a day. As such, they rapidly grew in popularity, particularly during the Industrial Revolution.

Despite the purported accuracy of pendulum clocks, Huygens eventually discovered that longer, narrow-swinging pendulums, coupled with an anchor escapement mechanism, made the clocks more accurate and isochronous. This led to the creation of longcase clocks to house elongated pendulums that had slower beats, consumed less energy, caused less wear and tear, and kept more precise time for longer periods.

Why Are They Called Grandfather Clocks?

Before it was commonly known as a grandfather clock, it was generally called a longcase clock because of its appearance. It was in 1870—more than two centuries after its invention—when the name grandfather clock came about because of a song. Entitled My Grandfather’s Clock, the song was a hit written by American songwriter, Henry Clay Work. The song was loosely based on a longcase clock that he spotted at The George Hotel while in England. Narrated from the perspective of a grandchild, the song tells the story of the clock foretelling good and bad events that “stopped short, never to go again when the old man died.”


Grandfather clocks are classic timepieces that can last for generations with proper care. For grandfather clock repairs and restorations, count on the professionals at Tic Toc Shop, a clock shop located in Warren County, OH. Since 1963, they have been one of the leading clock shops in the area, providing outstanding workmanship on vintage clocks. Call (513) 922-0315 to schedule repairs or visit the website to learn more about this clock shop.

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