CILSS Antique Pendulum Clocks

 

 
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ANTIQUE PENDULUM CLOCKS

Dutch makers naturally made use of Huygens' discovery of the pendulum. They were produced in many forms: Friesian longcase and hanging clocks, Amsterdam longcase clocks, Zaandaam clocks, and bracket clocks. 

Huygens patented his invention and the first maker to produce a pendulum clock under license to his design was Salomon Hendrikszoon Coster. This antique clock did not have a long pendulum as in Huygens'  original design -- it had a short one. The mechanism was contained in a small case that became known as a Hague clock. It is a type that can be still seen in many English, French, and Dutch table clocks.  



The knowledge of pendulums was taken to Britain by a London clockmaker maker who was apprenticed to Coster. Huygens himself (the inventor) took the knowledge to France. Huygens (with his patent) visited Paris where he allowed several clock makers to produce table clocks with his pendulum mechanism. But, the British who saw the real value of his invention and used it extensively. This formed the foundation for the leading role English antique clocks were later to take. 

After the invention of the pendulum mechanism, the cases of most clocks changed from metal to wood. The outward appearance of clocks in the two most important clock-making countries of England and France went in different directions. The French "standardized" the size of the pendulum mechanism and because of this, the French antique clock cases were always consistent with major developments of style. 

Because the whole process was kept in the hands of the clock-maker in England and not standardized, English antique clocks tend to run about 25 years behind the development of styles. This did not change until the end of the eighteenth century.

There are other differences between French and English antique pendulum clocks also. The French produced large numbers of table and bracket clocks while the English preferred hand-made clocks and watches. The face of English clocks remained fairly rectangular while from 1715 onwards the French standardized with round ones. 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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