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Types and Styles of Antique British Clocks

Identification of British clock types
ACT OF PARLIAMENT CLOCK (or PARLIAMENT CLOCK). old-fashioned name for a tavern clock named after the Act of Parliament of 1797, which imposed a tax on watches and supposedly caused an increase in this type of public wall clock – though in fact many date from before 1797.

BRACKET CLOCK. a wooden-cased clock to sit on a table or mantel, so-called because some originally sat on wall brackets (now often missing). Many never had a bracket. British ones normally have one or more fusees, so occasionally called a fusee clock. Duration eight days.

DIAL CLOCK or ENGISH DIAL CLOCK. a round wall clock, like an old station clock or school clock, with wooden surround. Normally fusee controlled. Duration eight-day.

DROP DIAL CLOCK. a dial clock with a drop box beneath to contain the pendulum, which often shows through a pendulum window. Normally fusee controlled. Duration eight-day.

FUSEE. A type of compensation gear found in most British spring clocks (bracket clocks, skeleton clocks, dial clocks) designed to correct for the fact that a spring pulls stronger when fully wound than when nearly run down. Clocks from mainland Europe, which usually do not have fusee gears, tend to go fast when wound on Monday, keep about time on Thursday, and run slow on Saturday.

One fusee is required for each function. A single-fusee clock is one which does not strike; a double-fusee also strikes the hours; a triple fusee also chimes the quarter hours of plays a tune. A fusee movement is usually an indication of quality.

GRANDDAUGHTER CLOCK. same things as a grandmother clock but smaller. Often spring driven because of low height. Normally late nineteenth century or later. Duration normally eight-day.

GRANDMOTHER CLOCK. a small longcase clock, usually under six feet six inches, but of no set height. Often spring driven because of low height. Normally late nineteenth century or later. Duration normally eight-day.

HOODED CLOCK. a weight-driven wall clock, which is housed in a wooden hood leaving the weight(s) and/or pendulum hanging down beneath it. Rather like a small longcase clock with no body. The hood is the name for the top section of a longcase clock. Duration normally thirty hours.

HOOK-AND-SPIKE CLOCK. a weight-driven clock which hangs on the wall from a hoop and is distanced from the wall by two spikes or spurs near its base. Rather like a hooded clock without a hood. A much simplified form of lantern clock. Duration normally thirty hours.

LANTERN CLOCK. a weight-driven wall clock in a brass case, believed so-called because of a vague resemblance in shape to an old hand lantern. Originally supported from a hoop and distanced from the wall by two spikes but today often sitting on a shelf. Occasionally, though rarely, housed in a long case. Duration thirty hours or less.

LONGCASE CLOCK. A tall wooden-cased clock anywhere from about six foot to nine foot high or even more. The movement normally driven by weights. Also called a grandfather clock, or. In America, a tall clock or tall cased clock. Duration normally eight-day or thirty-hour, though month duration and longer exist.

MANTEL CLOCK. same as a bracket clock.

NORFOLK CLOCK. a small version of a Tavern Clock, often with painted dial. Duration eight days.

SKELETON CLOCK. a kind of caseless clock whereby the movement plates are skeletonised to allow the wheels to be seen turning. Normally housed under a glass dome to keep out dust. Duration eight days.

TABLE CLOCK. same as a bracket clock.

TALL CLOCK or TALL CASED CLOCK. Same as a longcase clock.

TAVERN CLOCK. a large cased wooden-dial wall clock running for eight days in a short drop, though can be as tall as six feet. Also inaccurately called an Act of Parliament Clock or a Parliament Clock. Originally located in taverns and other places of public access. Duration eight days

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