Grandfather Clock Glossary

Buying a grandfather clock is a big decision. In addition to paying the price for this magnificent piece, you will also end up with something that would likely be passed down from one generation to another. Therefore, understanding the grandfather clock is the best way to shop wisely.

Access Door - Panels on the side of the clock that provide access to internal parts

Arabic Dial - Uses numbers such as 1, 2, 3, 4 rather than Roman numerals

Ascending Alarm - Chime volume gradually increases

Beveled Glass - Outside edges of glass are ground and polished at an angle

Bezel - Ring going around the exterior of the clock face or holding the crystal in place

Bob - Disc weight attached to the bottom of the pendulum used for adjusting the speed of the clock

Cable-Driven - Clock operated with weights

Chain-Driven - Clock operated by weights that are suspended from a linked chain

Chapter Ring - Decorative ring on the clock dial

Chime Selector - Feature used for changing the chime

Chimes - Melodic, bell-like sound made when the clock strikes

Crystal - Plastic or glass piece covering the dial

Dial - Face of the clock that shows the hours

Eight-Day Movement - Similar to the cuckoo clock, the chime is heard on the hour while this type of clock is only wound once a week.

Electronic Movement - Electronic impulses passing from a battery through a quartz crystal that powers clock movements

Escutcheon - Decorative plate around the keyhole or knob

Finial - Brass or wood decorative ornament on top of the cabinet

Grandfather Clock - Also called a tallcase, longcase, or floor clock, the clock typically stands between six and eight feet tall, which features a pendulum

Hands - Rotating indicators on the face of the clock for minutes and hours, as well as in some designs, seconds

Key-Wound Movement - Key used for winding the mechanical spring

Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) - Time is displayed continually in digits, the result of an electrical current running through a layer of liquid crystals

Light Emitting Diode (LED) - Time is displayed continually, which are lit up by an electrical current

Minute Track - Track divided into 60 equal segments, appearing on the outer perimeter of the dial

Moon Phase Dial - Usually seen on the top of the clock's face, which tracks the moon's phases through the 29 and one-half days of the lunar month

Movement - Inner mechanism, allowing the clock to keep accurate time

One-Day Movement - Also called the 30-hour clock, this design requires daily winding and will chime on the hour and half-hour.

Pendulum - Works are the clock's regulator, swinging freely from gravity

St. Michael's Chimes - Sound originally heard in St. Michaels Church in London

Triple Chime - Clock designed with three chime choices

Weight-Driven Movement - Weights work by creating force that drives the clock's mechanism

Westminster Chimes - The most common of all grandfather clock chimes, which is a replication of the sounds produced at London's Big Ben

Whittington Chimes - Sound heard at St. Mary le Bow, Cheapside in London