Mantel clocks are a classic timepiece that has been around for centuries. There are many different styles of clocks, from the modern to the antique. We will explore this topic in more detail below:

Mantel clocks are a timeless piece of furniture that can be passed down from generation to generation. They come in many different shapes and sizes, so finding the right clock is not as simple as it seems. These can range in price.

The History of Mantel Clocks

Although its origins lay in France in the 18th century, the mantel clock took off in the U.S. in Connecticut during the early 19th century, when clockmaker Eli Terry began mass-producing them. Simon Willard, who created the banjo clock, made mantel clocks popular in Massachusetts.

Types of Mantel Clocks

There are a few types of mantel clocks that you might like to consider. There are different types of movement and style and case design, and then what it is made of.

Type of Movement

Mechanical or Key wound movements will always be found in an Antique mantel clock. These are usually ‘8 day’ movements that must be wound once a week to tighten the spring. There are 14 day and 31 day movements, but these are much less common and therefore more expensive and hard to find. The movements are wound up by inserting a key into a hole in the clock face. Some mantel clocks have two or three holes. The second hole powers the strikes to sound every hour and half hour. the Third powers the chimes that play a melody every hour.

Quartz movements in mantel clocks are battery operated and keep more precise time that those with a mechanical movement. These need no maintenance apart from the occasional change of the batteries. You can get traditional and antique style mantel clocks that are battery powered, these also tend to be much cheaper because they are easier to manufacture and more common.

Design of mantle clocks

There are hundreds of different individual mantel clock designs. Classic styles have evolved over the centuries with minor variations.

The Tambour design is instantly recognisable. This is the one of the most common designs, particularly in 20th century British homes. The round face defines the case structure of an upright drum which curves out, tapering to an extended base.

The Bracket style mantel clock is a roughly square case, often fitted with a handle on top. These bracket style mantel clocks are named after the wall brackets that held 17th and 18th century examples. The handle allowed the clock to be moved from room to room.

A carriage style clock is smaller that most mantel clocks. They have a narrow but sturdy rectangular case with a handle which is usually made of metal. Carriage clocks were designed to be used for timekeeping during travel in carriages. Carriage style clocks were made of a solid construction to cope with rough and bumpy travel.

A steeple style mantel clock was originally designed in 1845 by Elias Ingraham, an American cabinet maker commissioned to produce a new style of clock case. A steeple style is known for its triangular, peaked top, flanked by columns. It has a Gothic architectural style which was popular in America in the 19th century.

Art Deco mantel clocks are a massively popular art and design style in the 1930’s. These are predominantly made in France and Switzerland, the geometric sleek style continued to inform mantel clock design until the 1960s.

The Skeleton design mantel clock forgoes a case entirely with an open frame exposing the clock movement. These clocks can be eye catching but difficult to maintain. The movements are open to contaminants such as dirt and dust in the air. Some Skeleton design mantel clocks have incorporated a plain glass case to avoid dust and dirt getting into the mechanism. These are sometimes known as a glass mantel clock.

Pendulum clocks were first introduced in the early 18th century and became very popular in the late 19th century. They work on an escapement mechanism which regulates the release of energy to keep time. The pendulum is a weight that swings backwards and forwards with a controlled motion. This swinging action moves gears inside the clock, powering the hands on the clock face.

Construction materials

The oldest material used for making mantel clocks, is wood, this is mainly due to availability and low cost. Many premium woods, like mahogany, have been used and contrasting inlays, carvings and metal fittings are added. Added detail all add to the craftmanship and aesthetic appeal to a clock.

In early French mantel clocks, they used Brass which is a type of metal and it could be polished to a high shine and is easy to work with. Clockmakers to create intricate and highly detailed cases for rich households. In the 20th century, aluminium, stainless steel, polished nickel and other metals gained popularity and more contemporary designs.

The expensive Onyx, marble and slate made mantel clocks have all been popular choices but the scarcity of materials and the difficulty in working with them make them a rarer purchase.

Porcelain are an unusual in modern mantel clocks. These are highly decorative mantel clocks with painted designs and finishes specific to the individual clockmaker.

Plastic mantel clocks can feel flimsy and cheap, even when coated with decorative veneers. From the 1930s to the 1950s, Bakelite (the first synthetic plastic) was used to create solid black modernist mantle clocks. During this period Catalin, with its translucent butterscotch finish was also a popular choice. As early as 1892, Adamantine, a celluloid based veneer was used to replicate onyx and marble finishes.

How to Care For Your Mantel Clock

Mechanical clocks will need regular cleaning, oiling and servicing to work properly. Quartz movement don’t need any maintenance apart from changing the batteries. Winding a mechanical clock may seem a chore to some owners but many enjoy the feeling of connection with their clock and that this brings.

What to Look For When Shopping

There are several things you should look for when shopping. A watchmaker with the necessary training and experience is a must, as they can tell if your clock needs repairs or adjustments before it even leaves their shop. The first thing you want to be sure of is that any mantel clock purchased actually works. It can be disheartening to spend money on a clock that doesn’t keep time. The next thing you want is for the mechanism of your choice to function properly and reliably, so it’s best if you’ve seen how it works before buying one.

  • Shop with an expert watchmaker
  • Watch out for broken or nonworking clocks
  • know your design to fit with your decorating tastes.
  • mechanisms that function consistently and reliably
  • know what price you want to pay
  • what sort of chime or melody would you like your mantel clock to have?

In conclusion,

It is important to take all the right factors into account when purchasing a mantel clock. Doing so will ensure that you select the perfect timepiece for your home. For the perfect options visit The Lily Village today.