The first mechanical clocks, which did not have pendulums were developed at the end of the thirteenth century, probably by monks in order to tell them when it was time to attend their offices, or hours of worship. These very first mechanical clocks did not have dials or any way to show the time. They were usually placed in bell towers to strike the church bells.
It was the astronomer Galileo who designed the first pendulum clock in 1640. About 1656 the very first wall clocks began to be used and were called ‘wags-on-the-wall’ because they were mounted high on the wall in order to have room for their long pendulums. Wag-on-the-wall clocks were first made in the United State in the late 1700′s.
In the U.S., most of the early wall clocks were made in Connecticut. They were used in schools, churches and offices. In 1845, large eight-day clocks were first manufactured and they became very popular because of their large faces and easy to read dials.
One type of extremely accurate clock was called the regulator for the fact that the other clocks could be set by their time, which was extremely accurate. ‘Railroad time’ which many towns set their clocks by due to its accuracy was accurate because of the regulator clocks that the railroads used. Later on, this term was applied generically to wall clocks without regard to their accuracy.
From around 1895 to 1900, the company of Edward Baird from Plattsburgh, NY and the Sidney Advertiser made advertising clocks for various businesses. If you find a clock named Queen Ann, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Charlotte, Queen Jane, Queen Isabelle, Queen Mab, Queen Victoria or Queen Mary, You have probably found a clock manufactured by the Ansonia Clock Company. The clocks were first available in the early 1900′s and had wood cases of black walnut, oak or mahogany.
Clocks are an important part of our everyday lives, and have been for many years. Some of the first clocks were actually the antique wall clocks. Gracing French walls as early as the eighteenth century the cartel clocks, or simply put, clocks that were encased in a frame, were very popular. As the years went by many different types and styles of clocks have been invented. From the strikingly simple, to the very elaborate, there are clocks to fit every decor.
One popular type of antique wall clock is the cuckoo clock. Usually made with elaborate styling, with a house like shape, these clocks were popular with the old and young alike. Starting sometime in the nineteenth century they were either musical, or non musical, depending upon the preference of the owner. Made to strike the hour with a little compartment that opened and a little figure would pop out to the delight of all that watched. As the figure appeared, a cuckoo sound would erupt from the clock, hence the name cuckoo clock.
Clocks were even used in advertising, as some of the more elaborate antique wall clocks were actually hanging product ads. These beautiful clocks were often ornate and intricately carved. Some of the regulator clocks were actually made as an advertisement, and were given as gifts to hotels, stores and other places of business. Figuring that the traffic to these places would give their products the exposure that they needed. Even a drinks firm used this form of advertisement, after first deciding that it was not such a good investment. After coming around, they found that a clock was a great way to get your product out to the people who would be buying it the most.
Even doctors’ offices and schoolhouses had their own style of antique wall clocks, at first having the pendulum concealed behind a small glass window. They soon evolved into a round shape, lacking a pendulum entirely. These schoolhouse clocks were probably the most watched clocks of any other, as every child in school was waiting for the clock to strike that final hour. The clocks of today are nothing like the beautiful timepieces of yesteryear. Those magnificent keepers of time were truly works of art, holding the course of ones day within its intricate hands.