Yes, you can have a very nice digital clock by your bedside that will play the radio when you wake up, the digital numbers glow with your favorite colors and it will even play music for you with a timer until you are asleep. That is fine, but there is absolutely nothing like the gentle sound of a chime or bell coming from the living room telling you not only what the time is, but in a soft, musical and soothing way. This is the antique clock. It was not so many years ago that digital clocks did not exist. The "grandfather "or "long case" clock was more the norm than was the bedside alarm clock.
Now of course this grandfather clock has become an antique clock, fit to be enjoyed and treasured for lifetimes. An antique clock is unusual in the world of antiques in that it is a working piece of art, or should be in order to get the most enjoyment and value. I would definitely think twice about attempting to buy a clock that is not working and expect that it will be easy to get it up and running. It may be neither easy or indeed possible. Often it takes a skilled clock maker to repair a clock and it is usually not cheap.
That being said, perhaps you may get a better deal on a non-working clock if you know someone to repair it or can do it yourself. The antique clock is primarily a timepiece after all. I have had the pleasure to have owned some and been in homes that had them and I can personally attest to the soothing feeling mentioned previously that comes from the hour on the hour ( or even half hour) chime or bell in the middle of the night. To me it is somewhat like a fog horn, lonesome and soothing at the same time.
In earlier times the grandfather clock was ever present and homes had very high ceilings. If this is one you are considering, make sure you know the dimensions of both the entrance to your home as well as the actual ceiling height. It would be a shame to purchase an antique clock and not be able to stand it upright! Secondarily the antique clock is furniture. It graces your home in a particular way with its mahogany case and brass clock face.
The longcase or grandfather clock was originally evolved from a pendulum clock that hung on the wall, the case being added to enclose the pendulum. Since this time the grandfather clock has become an art form in itself and very desirable to collectors. As you know with any furniture, in addition to the clock mechanism, there are many factors which determine its value and desirability; specifically age, quality and condition. It may surprise you to know that superior clocks of this type from the late 17th or early 18th century may be valued at $500,000.00. Pendulum clocks are wound with a key to keep the tension on the movement and enable it to keep time.
There are two types of movements, 8 day and 30 hour. This means that this is the interval at which they must be wound in order not to lose time or run down completely. The 8 day clocks have a weight which drives the pendulum and one which drives the bell or chime. These clocks have keyholes on either side of the dial to wind each one. Some clocks also came with the added feature of having a moon dial or a tidal dial for local tidal times. Most clocks have not survived the ravages of time with out repair or in some case deliberate alteration in order to make it appear more desirable.
Adding an 8 day movement where there was none originally or replacing or adding ornaments where the original is broken off or never existed. Detecting this sort of alteration is best left to the expert. If you feel there is something odd about the clock you are considering, you may save yourself a considerable amount of time and money to consult a professional to evaluate your antique clock.
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