grandfather clock
Grandfather clocks, Mantle/Table Clocks, Cockoo and Wall Clocks

History of the Grandfather Clock


The grandfather clock gets a boost from astronomers

In 1582 Galileo Galilei discovered that you could use a pendulum to keep time. He studied pendulum clocks, and drew the first designs for a grandfather clock. In 1656 Christiaan Huygens applied what Galileo had discovered and built the first working grandfather clock.

Grandfather clocks get taller

The first grandfather clocks did not keep time well. An early grandfather clock could lose as much as ten minutes a day. In 1670 William Clement noticed that by making the pendulum in a clock longer he could make the clock keep better time. His longer pendulums required longer cases. The new clocks were called long case clocks, later renamed to grandfather clocks.

Final improvements to grandfather clocks

In 1721 George Graham noticed that temperature changes in the pendulum of a grandfather clock would made it run slow or fast. Graham improved the grandfather clock by compensating for the temperature changes in the pendulums. His changes lead to grandfather clocks that were accurate to 1 second a day.

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