Grandfather Clock Care

Originally known as longcase clocks, the grandfather clock has been around since the 17th century although we have seen remarkable changes from that time to today. While there are many different designs, sizes, materials, and features, with proper care any grandfather clock should provide you and your family with a lifetime of enjoyment. Many things needed to keep the clock running perfectly can be done by the owner but if not, professional clockmakers do obviously make house calls. The person you want to find is a reputable horologist, found in most, larger cities.

For starters, after buying a grandfather clock, the moving aspect is critical. Remember, this type of clock has a very, delicate suspension spring system, meaning the pendulum rod is not supposed to bend. Therefore, proper packing and removal of the clock's components could make a huge difference in the way the clock works. Even if you have to pay a little more money for a professional who will care for your clock with kitten gloves, it would be worth it.

Regular Cleaning

After the clock is positioned where you want it displayed, you would need to provide it with regular cleaning, which will also help with overall function. In this instance, only dial the exterior of the case, or the body. What you want to avoid doing is dusting any of the dials. Unfortunately, even a soft brush of a dusting cloth could cause damage to the hour or minute hands. In addition, if the clock is antique or not an expensive model, dusting of lettering with a damp cloth could remove any lacquer or ink.

Setting Time

You also want to follow specific instructions for setting the clock's time, which could also make a difference. Very simply, use the tip of your finger to move only the minute hand - NEVER the hour hand. You also want to avoid moving the hand backwards past the hour. In addition, do not touch the surface of the dial, which could be damaged from acid and oils in the hand. Now, if your grandfather clock were designed with rack striking, you would need to turn the clock past 12:00. Pause when it is slightly past 12:00, allowing it to strike. If the clock has count wheel striking, you would advance the clock by one hour, again allowing it to strike to keep up with the determined time.


Take care when winding your grandfather clock. If you have a 30-hour clock, you would need to wind it daily. For this, the clock is not designed with winding squares nor does it have a key. In this case, pull down on the chain, which goes around the pulleys in a continuous loop. You would pull the side going through the counterweight. With the opposite hand, apply slight weight as the chain is pulled to help relieve too much strain on the winding mechanism.

If you purchased an eight-hour clock, then winding would be done weekly. The difference here is the clock has a cranked winking key that actually winds slower as weights reach the seat board. You want to make sure you do not wind so much that the weights are touching the bottom portion of the seat board. It is important to maintain a schedule on this type of grandfather clock. However, if you find the clock does not last eight days before needing to be wound, it could be that the lines are not long enough or that the clock is not in the original case, meaning the drop for the weights is not correct.