Glossary of Antique Clock Styles
See Column Clock.
A shelf clock with a case in the shape of a lyre.
A boxed clock set in gimbals for use aboard a ship to determine
A type wall, shelf, or longcase clock that reflected the aesthetics
of the Arts and Crafts Movement at the beginning of the 20th
century. In reaction to the overly ornate mid and late Victorian
styles, the craftsmen of the Arts and Crafts Movement strove to
return to the basics of simple and functional design. They made
these Mission-style clock cases of oak, with clean square or
rectangular lines and flat surfaces, Arabic numerals, and simple
Named after the village of Morbier in France, this type of clock is
was originally supposed to be housed in a full long case, often made
from pine, with tapering or violin-shaped sides, frequently painted
and grained in country fashion. But many owners either hung them on
the wall without a case or set them on a clock shelf so that the
large pendulum could swing free. Early dials of pewter or brass had
black-filled numerals and a single hand. By 1760, clockmakers
enameled the dials and by the late 19th century, used printed paper.
A pierced brass pediment sat atop early dials. Later ones employed a
wide variety of stamped brass devices, one of the most common
incorporating a pair of cornucopias, a basket of flowers and a
sunburst. Pendulums of stamped brass or sheet iron became overly
large in the 19th century.
Moving Eye Clock
See Blinker Clock.
A shelf clock with a hidden method of operation. Many of these
clocks are rather rare and highly sought after by collectors.
A popular, all inclusive term for a large variety of small shelf
clocks, usually in a case that portrays a "theme," such as a
nautical, military or western motif, current events, or comic
characters, and features unusual materials or functions. These
clocks may incorporate an animated movement, an electric lamp, a
unique style of pendulum, or some other device.
An American shelf or wall clock, produced in large numbers from 1830
to 1914, with an S-shape, or wave-like, molding which frames the
front of a rectangular case. It typically has a door in the front
with clear glass in front of the dial and a reverse-painted or
stenciled tablet below, sometimes with a clear portion for viewing
A spring-driven wall clock that’s incorporated into a framed picture
or painting as part of the scene, often appearing in a church
steeple or clock tower. Sometime the clock is incorporated into the
frame itself above or beneath the picture.
Picture Frame Clock
A wall clock with a dial surrounded by a recessed, often highly
decorated apron enclosed by a "picture frame" type molding.
Pillar and Scroll Clock
A shelf clock attributed to Eli Terry, an early 19th century
Connecticut clockmaker Eli Terry. The clock has a full or half-round
column on each side of the front of the case, centering a double
scroll-cut pediment, usually with three finials.
Small carriage size clock with cards that flip to show the hours and
minutes in digital fashion.
Portico or Pillar Clock
A French shelf clock with a drum shaped movement mounted between two
or four pillars standing on a base, with an exposed pendulum
swinging between them.
See Drop Dial Clock.
Any clock case designed to sit on a shelf, table or mantel, as
opposite to a longcase clock or a wall clock.
A clock that strikes on a ship's bell system.
A clock, dating from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, that
emphasized the movement as a decorative object in itself. Plates
were cut out and made as narrow as possible, so the movement could
be seen. The clock, its surfaces highly finished, was usually
protected by a glass dome.
See Figural Clock.
An American shelf clock, dating from about 1840, with a Gothic-style
case, its pointed top flanked by two or four "steeples."
Swinging Arm Clock
A shelf clock usually mounted in the form of a pendulum suspended
from the arm of a statue.
Originating around 1900, people commonly refer to this type of clock
as a "Napoleon's Hat", "camelback" or "humpback" clock because of
its shape, which is rounded in the middle tapering to flat on each
An American term for a floor standing clock. Also called a longcase
clock, a long clock, or a grandfather clock.
Tape (or Annular) Clock
A round or horizontally
circular shelf clock with the divisions of time shown on a tape-like
dial wrapped around the case. Unlike most clocks, where the hands
move around the dial, the "tape" dial usually revolved while a fixed
pointer indicated the time.
See Column Clock.
Triple Decker Clock
See Column Clock.
Originally, this referred to an extremely accurate, weight-driven
wall clock produced in Austria during the early 1800s, later
imitated by German and American manufacturers from the 1850s to
1900. Later versions often have spring driven movements with
pendulums that are only for show.
An uncased, weight-driven mechanical wall clock with an exposed
dial, pendulum and weights. During the late 18th and early 19th
century in the United States, most clockmakers only produced uncased
clock mechanisms. Independent cabinet or furniture makers were
normally commissioned to build clock cases for these finished clock
mechanisms. Often the buyer hung the uncased clock mechanism on the
wall until a case could be made.
Any clock that hangs on the wall.
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