My grandfather’s clock…….

Ever wondered why the tall pendulum clocks are called grandfather clocks? It is most probably due  to a 19th-century children’s song. A more recent version by Johnny Cash can be seen here with lyrics:

This was popular in the 1960s.

However, our home has a clock which is not exactly a grandfather clock in the normal sense, but does have a pendulum and needs to be wound every 7 days. A catalogue picture of a  very similar model:

Seth Thomas wall clock

It was bought by my grandfather or his brother in 1916, probably from Delhi. It was manufactured by the Seth Thomas Clock Company of Pennsylvania with a patent registered in 1876.

It seemed to have  hung in the hall of the pharmacy which my family used to run. It outlived my grandfather (who lived to be 90) and his siblings, and stood there until 2004.

After some long-overdue maintenance, it is still working in our drawing room. Unlike the clock in the song, it went on to outlive the children of the purchaser (some of whom lived to their mid-80s) and after 102 years is still serving the 3rd and 4th generation.

The American concept of built-in obsolesence was certainly not valid to the manufacturers of a century ago.

Technical notes: It shows the day, date and month which probably means it was state-of-the-art in the 1910s. That part of the mechanism still is in working condition, but we leave it alone because it needs too many manual adjustments. Timekeeping is as good as can be expected, with a variation of less than 5 minutes in a week.