The longcase clock, also known as the grandfather clock after
the popular Victorian song, was the product of two pan-European
horological breakthroughs of the late 1650s - the application of
the pendulum clock and the invention of the so-called anchor
First used in clockmaking by the Dutchman Christiaan Huygens in
1656, the pendulum made for near frictionless time-keeping, while
it was the anchor mechanism (probably invented around the same time
by British scientist Robert Hooke) reduced the swing and improved
The need to protect the movement within a high case to house the
heavy drive weights, and soon afterwards a long pendulum that beat
once every second, led to a style of clock that remained popular
for more than two centuries.
by Roland Arkell
From the ATG Archive
14 January 2012
In clock collecting, the gold standard of original condition can be a difficult one to meet. Clocks almost always needing repairs or replacement parts to keep functioning day in, day out for centuries.
04 January 2010
The demand for golden age English clocks has been on something of a high for several years now and shows little sign of abating.
09 January 2008
The emergence of a significant new discovery is a guaranteed crowd-puller in any sector of the art and antiques market.
ATG Site Search
22 September 2014
Collector Robin Pinchbeck had never bought a clock before, but when he set his sights on the George I walnut-cased astronomical longcase on offer at Mitchells (17.5% buyer’s premium) of Cockermouth on September 11-12 he knew he simply had to have it.
17 October 2013
If you delight in the 19th century rococo revival style – playful putti, festoons of ormolu and pastoral vignettes – then the Safford sale held by Freeman’s in Philadelphia was for you.
29 August 2014
When Stephen Drake of Willingham Auctions discovered a 3000-year-old Egyptian coffin cover in a house clearance on the Essex coast, he was amazed.
01 August 2013
As single disciplines go, English clocks are among the London summer fairs’ strongest suits.
20 March 2014
This Charles II eight-day longcase clock by Joseph Knibb – a ‘snapshot’ of early longcase clock development – doubled its estimate to sell for £240,000 at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions sale in Donnington Priory.
31 July 2013
While there were plenty of high-end clocks on offer in the London auction rooms and fairs over the summer season, Bonhams were the only house to offer dedicated clock sales.