Why is it called a Grandfather Clock?
No doubt you’ve asked yourself this a time or two: why is it called a grandfather clock?
We, frankly, are a bit disappointed by the origins of the moniker, but it seems to be rather well established.
It Began With a Song
It is generally believed that a long case clock became a grandfather clock following the popularity of a song you may have heard: “My Grandfather’s Clock.” Written by Henry Work in the late 19th century about a striking (pun-intended) clock he encountered in the lobby of a hotel in Yorkshire, the tune was extremely popular.
Told from the point of view of a grandson, his grandfather’s large clock stops the day the grandfather dies. A record keeper for him in life, a monument to him in death.
“My grandfather’s clock was too large for the shelf
So it stood ninety years on the floor
It was taller by half than the old man himself
Though it weighed not a pennyweight more”
The Man in Black sings “My Grandfather’s Clock”
Traditional songs such as this do have a habit of staying alive in bluegrass and American mountain music. It may or may not matter as far as any kind of luck or cultural torch to bear, but we do have a copy of the lyrics hanging in our clock repair workshop.