How to Move a Grandfather Clock


Moving-grandfather-clockPlanning to move your grandfather clock to a new location? Consider hiring a professional for the job. Here’s a good reason why. Not only can your clock topple over during a move due to its height and weight distribution, but its precision parts and delicate workings can be easily damaged because of improper preparation and transport. Finding a professional clock maker who offers long distance moving is your best choice. If you can’t find one, then your next best option is to hire a professional moving company experienced in dismantling, packing, and transporting grandfather clocks. They can also reassemble the clock for you.

But, if you’re someone who prefers the do-it-yourself approach, and you have the means and muscle to tackle the job, here are basic guidelines to follow:

Moving-Grandfather-#2clermontdirect.com1. Use gloves when handling brass

The natural skin oil on our fingers can tarnish the brass finish on a clock’s weights, pendulum, and clock face. To prevent this, wear cotton or vinyl gloves whenever you’re handling the brass parts.

2. Wind the clock, stop the pendulum, and remove the weights.

There are two ways to do this depending on whether your clock is cable wound, or chain wound:

Cable Wound Clocks
If the clock weights are held by cables, roll up some newspaper into three loose cylinders about 2″ in diameter. Then wedge each cylinder above each pulley between the cables and wind up the weight so that as it reaches the pulley. The newspaper will be squeezed and held tightly. hermle-grandfather-clock-01171-N9116111This maintains the cable tension on the cables and keeps them from loosening or tangling during transport. Two-inch squares of Styrofoam blocks can also be used instead of newspaper. Hold the newspaper or blocks steadily as you wind. (Never wind a clock without the weights being installed.) Next, carefully stop the pendulum from swinging and gently remove each weight. As you do, use masking tape to label each one: right, left, and center. Weights might look the same, but they don’t all weigh the same, and later when you re-install them, you’ll need to know their proper order. Wrap each weight separately in soft, protective padding to protect the brass casings from denting.

Chain Wound Clocks
If the clock weights are held by chains, wind the weights halfway up. (Never wind a clock without the weights being installed.) Then, thread some thin wire through the chain links just where they protrude below the movement and secure the wire tightly. The chains need to be snug so that they won’t come off the sprockets. Carefully stop the swing of the pendulum and remove the weights, labeling each one as described in Cable Wound Clocks above. Secure the chains by bunching them up and wrapping them in newspaper. Use tape or a rubber band around the bundle so that they can’t come loose and possibly damage the finish. Wrap each weight separately in soft, protective padding to protect the brass casings from denting.

3. The Pendulum

Delicately remove the pendulum by moving it up slightly to unhook it. Be careful not to use force. The pendulum leader must not move around during transport and would need to be secured without putting a lot of pressure on it. A good way to do this is to loosely gather a few sheets of newspaper around it so the leader is loose but not able to move.

4. Secure the chime rods

Chime rods could break off if they shake during transportation. So, secure them with tape, foam, or another suitable cushioning material so the rods can’t move in any direction.

5. Secure other fragile parts

If your clock has glass shelves or a decorative finial on the crown, remove these parts and pack them securely.

6. The Movement

Before your clock is transported, make sure the movement is securely situated inside the case. If your clock has a movement that’s simply set on two sideboards inside the case, remove the movement, and pack it separately. If you have a tubular movement, remove the tubes and pack them separately.

Moving-grandfather-chatfieldtime.comjpg7. Wrap the clock

Once your clock is prepped (steps 1 to 9) secure the doors by tying string around the case. Then, wrap the clock in a heavy blanket and tape it around securely so that it won’t shift. As an added precaution, tape cardboard panels directly onto the areas of the blanket that cover the glass surfaces of the clock case.

8. Transport the clock in an upright position

During transport, make sure the clock stands upright and is secured by straps. Laying it on its side or face down can cause the movement and dial to break away from the seat board.

9. What to know before setting it up

a. If the clock is being moved during cold weather, allow it to reach room temperature at its destination before setting it up. Freezing temperatures cannot only cause oil in the pivot points to gum up, but the delicate metal components in the movement can contract and restrict its operation.
b. Use the original manufacturer instructions to setup your clock. Ensure that the pulleys are properly engaging the cables and the chains are properly engaging the sprockets.

Last of all, now that you’ve done all the work, sit back and relax and enjoy your clock.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Clocks – Clock Facts Part Two


A question opened Clock Facts Part One of this series : “If you don’t know what you don’t know, then how can you know that you don’t know it?” Well, if you’ve read part one and now know what you didn’t know before, here’s part two to start all over.



1. Henry Ford offered one million dollars for this clock
In 1928, the automaker Henry Ford, offered an astounding one million dollars to the Bily brothers for the eight foot, five hundred pound American Pioneer History Clock that they carved. But, the brothers turned Mr. Ford’s offer down. They didn’t want to part with it and kept it stored in their barn with the rest of their handmade collection. They never sold any of their clocks–not even one. (see: Bily Clocks Museum and Farmer Clock Makers.)




2. Great discoveries would have never happened without the clock

The invention of the clock has had a tremendous impact on history. For one thing, countless scientific experiments and breakthroughs that depended on the use of a stopwatch would never have happened if time measurement hadn’t advanced past the sundial. And what about keeping our schedules in business, travel, finance, medicine, government, recreation, schools, computers, and so on? Our lives would be radically impacted if not for the invention of the clock.


Blenheim Palace clock tower3. Why clock dials with Roman numerals use “IIII” instead of “IV”

For centuries, clock makers have inscribed within the ring of numbers on their clock dials the Roman numeral “four” written as “IIII” instead of “IV.” Why? It’s for symmetry: the “IIII” presents a better visual balance for the number “eight” written on the other side of the dial as “VIIl.”


Ten-Things-#2-Tower_aip.orgclock4. This tower clock helped Albert Einstein

While riding in a streetcar in Bern, Switzerland, Albert Einstein saw the city’s 13th century clock tower passing behind him (photo on right). He knew that since he was traveling away from the clock, the light of the clock’s image would have to catch up to him. But since light travels at 186,000 miles per second, so much faster than the 20 milers per hour of the streetcar, he of course knew there could be no perceivable delay in the clock’s image reaching him.

Some thoughts entered his mind: How would the clock’s image appear if the streetcar moved faster and faster? If that were to happen, the clock hands would continue to move more slowly. And if the streetcar traveled at the speed of light, the clock’s image would follow him at the same speed but wouldn’t be able to catch up to him. The result? The clock’s image would freeze, and time would “stand still.”  It was a streetcar ride on that day that gave Einstein a clue to the flexibility of time. Eventually, it led to his theory of relativity: E=MC ².

5. Why a clock repair person is called a “clock maker”

Many years ago, if you wanted to buy a clock you would have to see your local clock maker. He made clocks one at a time, commissioned by each individual customer. You would also have to see him if your clock needed adjustment or repair. Today, even though clocks aren’t made old-world style in a local clock maker’s shop, the tradition of calling a clock repair person a “clock maker” continues.

6. The Westminster melody has words to go with it

Almost everyone has heard the Westminster melody chiming away on one clock or another. But did you know that there are lyrics that accompany the melody?TEN-#2-wikepedia-westminster-chimes

O Lord our God
Be Thou our guide
That by thy help
No foot may slide. Why precious stones are put inside of watch movements?

What do you think happens inside of a watch when oil breaks down and metal rubs against metal? You have rapid wear on pivots and bearings, and the next stop is the repair shop.

To reduce wear and friction, watch makers of today use synthetic jewels such as rubies at the heaviest friction points because precious stones are much harder and longer lasting than metal.


8. What do the Latin words “Tempus Fugit” mean on a clock dial?

These words are often mistaken for the brand name of the clock,  but they are a Latin phrase that’s usually translated into English as “time flies”.


Ten-#2Grandfather-OceansBridge.com9. What does the grandfather clock have to do with grandfathers?

In 1836, American songwriter Henry Clay Work, wrote a song based on a folk story about a floor clock that stopped when its owner, a grandfather, passed away. He named the song “My Grandfather’s Clock.” Selling over 1 million copies of sheet music, it’s melody, and lyrics penetrated the hearts and minds of people everywhere and eventually the term “grandfather clock” became synonymous with this style of clock that inspired the song.



10. Selling time was their family business

In the early part of the 20th century, domestic clocks were still not very reliable and regular resetting was usually needed. So in 1836 John Belville, an assistant at the Greenwich Observatory, set his pocket watch and began delivering the precise time to offices around London as part of a government program.  After he passed away, his wife Maria continued the service as a private venture. She retired in 1892, handing over control of the business to their daughter, Ruth who carried the same pocket chronometer around London each week until she retired in 1940.

Well… after we finished writing this blog, one more clock fact came to mind.  We couldn’t resist adding it to the list, so here’s clock fact #11:

11. The origin of the term “o’clock”

The term “o’clock” came into use during the early part of the 18th century. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, it was a shortened version of the phrase “of the clock” which referred to the time on a clock face.

We hope you’ve enjoyed part two of our series. Please let us know!

Photo Credits:

Photo #1 – The American Pioneer History Clock – 

Photo # 2 – Blenheim Palace clock tower – 

Photo # 3 – Tower clock in Bern, Switzerland – 

Photo # 4 – Westminster chimes music – Wikipedia 

Photo # 5 – Group of rough uncut rubies – 

Photo # 6 – Grandfather – 

Photo # 7 – Antique pocket chronometer – 

Why Do Clock Ads Show 10:10?


Is it just a coincidence that most ads and product photos for clocks and watches show the time at 10:10? Not so. Clock makers have good reasons for positioning the hands at 10:10. There are four:

Ten-Ten-#2-happy-clock-.jeudego.org1. The Happy Clock
It’s instinctive to be attracted to things that make us happy. That’s why people would rather see a smiling face instead of a frowning one. And so it is that at the time of 10:10, the hands on the face of a clock bring to mind the smiling face of a person. Of course, when we see the 10:10 time, we don’t say to ourselves “this clock is smiling at me and it feels good,” but we’re likely to get the cue sub-consciously. And because feelings play such a big part in our buying decisions, many clock makers follow the same unwritten rule, and that is: photograph the hands at 10:10 to make the timepiece look happy.

The happy-photo-rule has not always been the norm in the clock industry. Just check some vintage print ads on websites like and, and you’ll find that during the 1920’s and 30’s, clocks and watches were almost exclusively set at 8:20. But during the two decades that followed, consensus had it that the downward pointing hands at 8:20 were undesirable as they resembled a frown, and eventually the 8:20 position for photo ops passed out of favor in clock ads.

Ten-Ten--Setting#2-cropped-river-city-wall-clock-1012-15-270x433_opt2. Symmetry
At the 10:10 position, the dial clock hands create a perfect visual symmetry; one hand points to ten o’clock and the other to two o’clock, putting both at the same angle. Clock makers know that the human brain tends to appreciate symmetry and orderliness and that the 10:10 setting in their ads makes their timepieces that much more appealing.


3. Logo placement
The perfect center spot on the clock face,  just under the 12, is an ideal place for the manufacturer’s logo. And with the hands at the 10:10 setting, the logo is clearly visible and nicely framed.

Ten-Ten-Hermle-Tellurium#2-22823_740352 (2)

4. Clear visibility of extra features

When the hands are placed at 10:10, extra features such as date windows or secondary dials, are clearly visible.




Now the next time you see a clock ad and the hands at 10:10, you’ll know why.

Image and Photo Credits:

1. Happy clock drawing –

2. River City Indoor-Outdoor wall clock

3. Hermle Tellurium II mantel clock

4. Wristwatch by Basilika

Top 26 Clock Jokes: What time Is It?… It’s Time To Laugh!


Riddle-#3xLaughingThere is an old proverb that says, “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” We all know that a good laugh can make us feel good. But did you know that laughing can actually cause positive changes in the body that protect us from disease? It’s like having a mini workout; our muscles get exercised, blood flow increases, our immune system gets a boost and stress hormones decrease.

And since clocks is what we’re all about, what better subject could we pick than time and clocks to stir a laugh or two out of you?

So here’s our lineup of 26 clock jokes. The first 14 are our very own Well Made Clock creations. Happy laughing!

Q: Why did the scientist drop a wrist watch into his flask?
A: He was looking for a timely solution.

Q: Why was the clock in the gazebo?
A: It was time out.

Q: What did the robber say to the clock?
A: Hands up!

Q: What does a wall clock do after it stops ticking?
A: It hangs around.

Q: What do you call a tense clock?
A: All wound up.

Q: What did the street clock say to the tower clock?
A: High there!

Q: Where did the clock finish the race?
A: Wherever it wound up.

Q: Why did the historian measure a clock?
A: To know the beginning and end of time.

Q: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and loose his soul” Mark 8:36 —This is not a joke.

Q: What did the second hand say to the hour hand as it passed by?
A: See you again in a minute.

Q: Why didn’t the cuckoo come out of his door?
A: He had stage fright.

Q: Why did the pendulum stop moving?
A: It lost its swing.

Q: Why did the tardy man stop to purchase a clock?
A: He wanted to buy time.

Q: What do you call a story that one clock tells to another?
A: Second hand information.

Q: What did the unwound clock say to its owner?
A: It’s about time!

Q: What did the watch say to the clock?
A: Hour you doing?

Q: Why did the girl sit on her watch?
A: She wanted to be on time!

Q: Why did the man throw the clock out the window?
A: He wanted to see time fly.

Q: What do you get when you cross a clock and a chicken?
A: A cluck

Q: How can you tell if a clock is hungry?
A: It’ll go back four seconds!

Q: What dog always knows the time?
A: A watch dog.

Q: What time was it when the elephant sat on the clock?
A: Time to get a new clock.

Q: Why did the man put a clock under his desk?
A: He wanted to work over time.

Q: What happens when you annoy a clock?
A: It gets ticked off.

Q: Why didn’t the clock work?
A: It needed a hand.

Q: What do you call a grandfather clock?
A: An old timer.

Q: Why did the boy put an alarm clock in his shoe?
A: He didn’t want his foot to fall asleep.

Q: Why did the clock get sent to the principal’s office?
A: It was tocking too much.

Q: What time does the duck wake up?
A: At the quack of dawn.

Q: What candy never arrives on time?
A: Choco-late.

Check our website for a great selection of fine heirloom quality clocks!

Rombach and Haas Modern Art Cuckoo Clocks – Merging Traditional and Modern


BLOG-#2-Modern-Art-rombach-and-haas-filigree-black-34-2Before Rombach and Haas took up the challenge of making a modern art cuckoo clock, there was the one created by architect Pascal Tarabay. That was the first, almost a decade ago.

Since then, many versions have been produced by designers all over the world. This development was especially good for the clock lovers and interior decorators looking for a cuckoo to fit the sleekness of the modern motif.  And there’s plenty from which to choose. Many have geometric shapes, such as rhombuses, squares, cubes, pyramids, ovals, etc. Their surfaces are often flat and smooth with a minimalistic approach; a handful are featured with filigree or collage. Some are mono- colored while others are multicolored with abstract or figurative paintings, even text and phrases. As for the cases, they come in a variety of materials ranging from laser cut metal, glass, plastic, wood and even fabric covering. (The above photo is one of Rombach and Haas’s modern art cuckoo clocks with a mechanical movement).

No doubt, there’s a lot of variety and difference in designs, but almost every one of them, regardless of brand, shares one thing in common: they have a battery-powered quartz movement, not a mechanical weight driven one. Why? One obvious reason is that crafting a quartz powered cuckoo clock demands far less clock making skill than crafting a mechanical weight driven model with its complex and intricate workings of gears and bellows.

BLOG#2-Modern-Cuckoo-rhbb1111So, rather than attempt to build a mechanical version, the makers of modern art cuckoos have left that formidable task in the hands of Germany’s Black Forest clock masters. Here’s where Rombach and Haas comes in. Shortly after Pascal launched his designer cuckoo, Ingolf and Conny Haas had taken up the challenge and crafted their own modern versions, but with the traditional mechanical movement. The well qualified, fourth generation Rombach and Haas company has been making cuckoo clocks since 1894. Their modern art cuckoos are the only designer versions that pay homage to the centuries old tradition of mechanical clock making of the Black Forest.

Rombach-Haas-2--Cuckoo-Modern-SL15-2But why buy a weight driven mechanical modern art cuckoo instead of a less expensive, more convenient battery operated model that needs no winding? For one thing, some clock owners truly enjoy interacting with their cuckoo clock; they want the satisfaction of winding it and feeling the chains click away as they pull them down to lift up the weights. Some clock owners also prefer the rich mechanical cuckoo call produced by real bellows and pipes, instead of the prerecorded digital sound of the quartz powered models.

 There is still more to think about. If you’re looking for a clock you can pass on to your children or grandchildren, think “mechanical”. They’re a better long-term value and are more likely to become collector’s items and family heirlooms than quartz clocks. There’s a good reason. Centuries of development, clock making history and human labor all add to a clock’s value and appeal. Inside each mechanical cuckoo, heritage and tradition are alive and well–they’re embodied in the workings of the clock’s gears, escapement and all of its intricate mechanics and craftsmanship.

Modernity added to tradition? Now that’s a great merger.

Check our selection of Rombach and Haas Modern Art Cuckoo Clocks.


Photo # 1 – Rombach and Haas Filigree Design 8-day wind cuckoo clock

Photo # 2 – Rombach and Haas Bamboo 1-day wind cuckoo clock

Photo # 3 – Rombach and Haas Simpleline 1-day wind cuckoo clock