Grandfather Clocks Names – Tallcase Clock, Longcase Clock, and more

August 11, 2007
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September 6, 2007
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Grandfather clocks are known by other clock names, particularly in Western Europe where they originated. Most people in the United Kingdom refer to grandfather clocks as Tall Case (or sometimes Tallcase) Clocks or Long Case (or sometimes Longcase) Clocks. Other grandfather clock names that are sometimes used that are more or less synonomous with grandfather clocks are Floor Clocks, and less frequently, Hall Clocks. The styles of grandfather clock design cut across all of these names for grandfather clocks. Certain styles of clocks are also or alternatively referred to as Grandmother Clocks, with roughly an 80 inch height break being the dividing line …. but it is a gray area and open to personal and professional discretion (and occasionally debate).

It was not until some time after 1876 when Henry Clay Work wrote “My Grandfather’s Clock” – and known by many as The Grandfather Clocks Song – which became extremely popular especially in the USA, and gradually replaced the names of longcase and tallcase clocks to grandfather clocks to most people. The Chrous of the Grandfather Clock Song is perhaps the part ythat will look and sound most familar to people.

The Chorus is:

Ninety years without slumbering,

His life’s seconds numbering,

It stopped, short, never to go again, when the old man died.

First Verse:

My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf,

so it stood ninety years on the floor.

It was taller by half than the old man himself,

though it weighed not a pennyweight more.

It was bought on the morn of the day he was born,

and was always his treasure and pride.

But it stopped, short, never to go again, when the old man died.

Second Verse:

In watching its pendulum swing to and fro,

many hours had he spent while a boy.

And in childhood and manhood the clock seemed to know,

and to share both his grief and his joy.

For it struck twenty four when he entered at the door,

with a blooming and beautiful bride,

But it stoped, short, never to go again, when the old man died.

Third Verse:

My grandfather said that of those he could hire,

not a servant so faithful he found.

For it wasted no time and had but one desire,

at the close of each week to be wound.

And it kept in its place, not a frown upon its face,

and its hands never hung by its side.

But it stopped, short, never to go again, when the old man died.

Fourth and Last Verse:

It rang an alarm in the dead of the night,

an alarm that for years had been dumb,

And we knew that his spirit was pluming for flight,

that his hour of departure had come.

Still the clock kept the time, with a soft muffled chime,

as we silently stood by his side.

But it stopped, short, never to go again, when the old man died.

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  1. […] on grandfather clocks, and was reading Grandfather Clocks Blog. I found information on the song “My Grandfather Clock” written by Henry Clay Work in 1876. It was an absolute delight to read! It really shows just how […]

  2. […] looks almost exactly like the one my grandparents had in their dining room! You can also find out how the grandfather clock got its name over at It’s very interesting, and I certainly didn’t know […]

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