Pendulum Clocks: All About Them


A pendulum clock is a clock that utilizes a pendulum, a swinging weight, as its timekeeping component. The upside of a pendulum for timekeeping is that it is a symphonious oscillator: It swings to and fro in an exact time span subject to its length, and opposes swinging at different rates. From its innovation in 1656 by Christiaan Huygens, roused by Galileo Galilei, until the 1930s, the pendulum clock was the world’s most accurate clock, representing its inescapable use.

Fun Fact

In The 70s, 80s, And 90s, Clockmakers Used To Mark Their Pendulum Clocks “Tempus Fugit”, If You Want To Know More About It “Click HereOpens in a new tab.

Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth hundreds of years, pendulum clocks were in homes, processing plants, workplaces, and railroad stations filled in as essential time principles for planning day by day life, work movements, and public transportation. Additionally, their more noteworthy precision considered the quicker movement of life which was essential for the Industrial Revolution. The home pendulum clock was supplanted by more affordable, simultaneous, electric clocks during the 1930s and ’40s, with pendulum timekeepers currently kept generally for their embellishing and classical worth.

A Picture to better ealborate on Pendulum Clock

Pendulum clocks must be fixed to work. Any movement or increasing velocities will influence the movement of the pendulum, causing errors, accordingly requiring different systems for use in versatile watches.

History Of Pendulum Clocks

The primary pendulum check was designed in 1656 by Dutch researcher and creator Christiaan Huygens, and licensed the next year. Huygens gotten the development of his clock with the help of the clockmaker Salomon Coster, who really manufactured the clock. Huygens was enlivened by examinations of pendulums by Galileo Galilei starting around 1602. Galileo found the key property that makes pendulums helpful clocks that wa isochronism, which implies that the time of swing of a pendulum is around the equivalent for various measured swings.[3][4] Galileo had the thought for a pendulum check in 1637, which was mostly built by his child in 1649, however neither lived to complete it.[5] The presentation of the pendulum, the main consonant oscillator utilized in timekeeping, expanded the exactness of clocks tremendously, from around 15 minutes out of each day to 15 seconds for every day[6] prompting their quick spread as existing ‘verve and foliot’ clocks were retrofitted with pendulums.

These early clocks, because of their verge escapements, had wide pendulum swings of 80–100°. In his 1673 examination of pendulums, Horologium Oscillatorium, Huygens demonstrated that wide swings made the pendulum wrong, causing its period, and hence the pace of the clock, to fluctuate with unavoidable varieties in the main thrust gave by the development. Clockmakers’ acknowledgment that just pendulums with little swings of a couple of degrees are isochronous persuaded the creation of the anchor escapement by Robert Hooke around 1658, which diminished the pendulum’s swing to 4–6°.[7] The anchor turned into the standard escapement utilized in pendulum timekeepers. Notwithstanding expanded precision, the anchor’s limited pendulum swing permitted the clock’s case to oblige longer, more slow pendulums, which required less force and caused less wear on the development. The seconds pendulum (likewise called the Royal pendulum), 0.994 m (39.1 in) long, in which the time-frame is two seconds, turned out to be generally utilized in quality tickers. The long tight timekeepers worked around these pendulums, first made by William Clement around 1680, got known as pendulum tickers. The expanded exactness coming about because of these improvements caused the moment hand, beforehand uncommon, to be added to clock faces starting around 1690.[8]

The eighteenth and nineteenth century wave of horological advancement that followed the creation of the pendulum carried numerous upgrades to pendulum tickers. The miscreant escapement developed in 1675 by Richard Towneley and advocated by George Graham around 1715 in his accuracy “controller” timekeepers continuously supplanted the anchor escapement[9] and is presently utilized in most current pendulum tickers. Perception that pendulum checks eased back down in summer brought the acknowledgment that warm development and compression of the pendulum bar with changes in temperature was a wellspring of mistake. This was understood by the development of temperature-remunerated pendulums; the mercury pendulum by George Graham in 1721 and the field pendulum by John Harrison in 1726.[10] With these upgrades, by the mid-eighteenth century exactness pendulum tickers accomplished correctnesses of a couple of moments for every week.

Until the nineteenth century, timekeepers were high quality by individual experts and were over the top expensive. The rich ornamentation of pendulum timekeepers of this period shows their incentive as superficial points of interest of the well off. The clockmakers of every nation and district in Europe built up their own particular styles. By the nineteenth century, manufacturing plant creation of clock parts bit by bit made pendulum timekeepers reasonable by working class families.

During the Industrial Revolution, day by day life was coordinated around the home pendulum clock. More precise pendulum timekeepers, called controllers, were introduced in business environments and railroad stations and used to plan work and set different tickers. The requirement for amazingly precise timekeeping in divine route to decide longitude drove the improvement of the most exact pendulum tickers, called cosmic controllers. These exactness instruments, introduced in maritime observatories and kept precise inside a second by perception of star travels overhead, were utilized to set marine chronometers on maritime and business vessels. Starting in the nineteenth century, galactic controllers in maritime observatories filled in as essential guidelines for public time dispersion benefits that disseminated time signals over message wires.[11] From 1909, US National Bureau of Standards (presently NIST) put together the US time standard with respect to Riefler pendulum tickers, exact to around 10 milliseconds for each day. In 1929 it changed to the Shortt-Synchronome free pendulum check prior to staging in quartz principles in the 1930s.[12] [13] With a blunder of around one second out of each year, the Shortt was the most precise monetarily created pendulum clock.[14][15][16][17][18]

Pendulum tickers remained the world norm for precise timekeeping for a very long time, until the development of the quartz check in 1927, and were utilized as time guidelines through World War 2. The French Time Service utilized pendulum tickers as a component of their outfit of standard timekeepers until 1954.[19] The home pendulum clock started to be supplanted as homegrown watch during the 1930s and 1940s by the simultaneous electric clock, which kept more precise time since it was synchronized to the wavering of the electric force network. The most precise test pendulum clock ever made[20][21] might be the Littlemore Clock worked by Edward T. Lobby in the 1990s[22] (gave in 2003 to the National Watch and Clock Museum, Columbia, Pennsylvania, USA).

How Do The Pendulum Clocks Function?

The Escapement

One of the integral parts of the conventional pendulum clock was ” The Escapement ” This is what transferred the energy of the gravitational force from the weights to the clock’s counting mechanism. One of the most popular escapements that were used was verge-and-foliot.

A picture of verge and foliot to better elaoborate on Pendulum Clock
The verge-and-foliot was the most common mechanism for controlling the descent of a weight in a weight-driven clock.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

In a typical verge-and-foliot escapement, the weighted rope unwinds from the barrel, turning the toothed escape wheel. Controlling the movement of the wheel is the verge, a vertical rod with pallets at each end. When the wheel turns, the top pallet stops it and causes the foliot, with its regulating weights, to oscillate. This oscillation turns the verge and releases the top pallet. The wheel advances until it is caught again by the bottom pallet, and the process repeats itself. The actions of the escapement stabilize the power of the gravitational force and are what produce the ticktock of weight-driven clocks.

The Wheelwork

This is the series of wheels/rings or gears that would transmit motion from the original source to the instrument that showed time, and that would be the hands of the clocks. The power is first transmitted by the main, big wheel which is attached with a gear with smaller teeth and whose arbor is attached to a further second wheel, which will be passed on the movement just like gears move. The ratios of the gears involved are such that the one arbor, most of the times the second or the third arbor completes its whole revolution in an hour and it can be used to maneuver the smaller arbor which would be in control of the minute hand. Moreover, the arbor carrying the minute hand comes with a slipping clutch that allows the hands to identify the accurate time.

This is basically what was used in nearly every Pendulum clock that you might have seen. The main wheel of the frame is engaged with the center pinion on the arbor and the front pivot of this wheel is stretched. This then carries the minute hand the gears necessary to make the hour hand move. To better elaborate, down below is an elaborative picture

A picture of the components of a traditional pendulum clock
A Picture Of The Main Components Of A Mechanical ( Pendulum ) Clock

The central wheel also engages with the pallets fixed to the arbor. Moreover, fixed along with the pallet is also a crutch that ends at a fork that is connected with the pendulum rod. 

Why do Pendulum Clocks Stop During An Earthquake?

Basically, it happens because pendulum clocks are dependent on their pendulums for timekeeping. Due to the Earthquake waves, the pendulum gets disturbed and so the timekeeping gets messed up. if you want to know more about this “Click HereOpens in a new tab.

Why Pendulum Clock Becomes Slow In Summer?

In summer the temperature is high and this causes the length of metal wire to increase significantly(as the temperature coefficient of metal wire is high)causes to increase the time period of a pendulum and this makes the clock slower whereas in winter the temperature is low so the metal wire contracts and this causes to decrease the time period of a pendulum and makes the pendulum faster. if you want to know more about this, “Click HereOpens in a new tab.

Why Pendulum Clocks Are Not Suitable For Spaceships?

mechanical pendulum clocks can’t work properly in space, due to two reasons:

  • Gravity
  • Contraction of material

On the other hand, electrical pendulum clocks can work properly. Because they do not depend on potential energy and do not work out time mechanically.

Do Pendulum Clocks Need Batteries?

Traditional pendulum clocks that require winding do not require any sort of external power. Pendulum clocks which are used more commonly nowadays do require batteries. If you want to know more about this “Click HereOpens in a new tab.

Some Pendulum Clocks You Can Buy Now

1.Bulova C3383 Avent Pendulum Deco Wall Clock 

Bulova C3383 Avent Pendulum Deco Wall Clock

This pendulum clock looks fairly attractive and is on the taller side, so it would be a perfect fit in a narrower space. Furthermore, it’s from a renowned brand, so quality is assured. It comes with a two-tone wooden case and in case you are wondering about the clock face protection, a convex glass lens is used to protect it. In case you are wondering if the clock is quiet or not? Yes, it’s completely silent which is just amazing. Even if it starts to tick a quick solution might be taking off the pendulum and putting it back on.

Features:

  • Two-Tone wooden case
  • Brushed Aluminium Pendulum
  • Protective Convex Lens
  • Really Quiet
  • Operates on 2 AA Batteries

Dimensions: 3 x 8.8 x 23.5 inches

Product Weight: 2.85 pounds

This clock is honestly one of the best pendulum clocks out there, it looks clean and modern and would be a perfect fit for living rooms. If you would like, you can buy the clock.

2. Seiko Light Oak Traditional Schoolhouse Wall Clock

Seiko Light Oak Traditional Schoolhouse Wall Clock with Chime & Pendulum

This one’s a pretty good looking clock too, it follows a traditional schoolhouse design. Honestly, I think they nailed the design on this clock, It just gives me that old school vibe, which I really like about it. It’s on the shorter side and I think would look great in a Dining Room. The clock face is in an octagonal shape which looks really good on a pendulum clock. Instead of using the conventional number system, it uses roman numerals. For the protection of the clock face a curved crystal glass is used. It is programmed so that the clock chimes every hour and you can also adjust the volume and if you want to silence the clock for the night, there’s an option provided.

Features:

  • Traditional octangle off-white clock face with Roman numerals
  • Dual chimes, quarter-hour chime, hourly strikes follow the hourly chime, automatic chime silencer and volume control.
  • Metal pendulum.
  • Powered by 1 C battery (included).

Dimensions: 21.25 X 12.75 X 3.75

Product Weight: 4.41 pounds

This is honestly one of the best interpretations of the schoolhouse clock design. It’s manufactured by Seiko which is one of the most reputable brands in the clock industry, so you can be assured that the quality of this clock is awesome. Furthermore, it uses a quartz mechanism so the time is supremely accurate. Another thing you should know is that the clock chimes are Digital and not percussion, but the quality is really good and it gives the same vibe as percussion clocks do. If you would like to purchase this clock you can do so by clicking.

3. Seiko Mahogany Wall Clock with PendulumOpens in a new tab.

Seiko Mahogany Wall Clock with Pendulum

This is by far one of the best pendulum wall clocks if you are looking for a larger sized clock. Seiko is really stepping it up with it’s chiming wall clock designs don’t you think? Anyways, this clock comes from a renowned brand so there’s no question about the quality of the product. It has a magnificent mahogany wood case which reminds of the golden age of timekeeping, which is pretty awesome. It uses roman numerals. The pendulum is in a gold-tone so it gives a premium look to the clock. The protective glass cover also has a gold accent to it. The gold highlights of the clock go amazing with the dark wood case.

Features:

  • Arched wooden case
  • Dual chimes, quarter-hour chime, hourly strikes follow the hourly chime, automatic chime silencer and volume control
  • Metal pendulum
  • Powered by 1 C battery (included)

Dimensions: 27 X 11.75 X 5.25

Product Weight: 11.86 pounds

If you’re wondering that does the clock make a tick-tock sound or no? No, it doesn’t make a sound. All the chiming sounds which come out of the clock are synthesized and come out from a small speaker, which is pretty good and gives the same experience as one would get from a percussion clock. The volume rocker of the clock is inside the case and it’s a little difficult adjusting it when the clock is mounted on a wall, so I suggest you let the clock run for some time to hear the chimes so you can adjust the sound level to your liking. The time it shows is really accurate as it works on a Quartz Mechanism, overall it’s a really great clock and if you would like to buy it you can.

4. Seiko Mizuki Mantel Clock

4. Seiko Traditional Elegance Mantel Clock

If you are looking for a mantel clock that also chimes we have got you covered, this clock looks really attractive and would go amazing above the fireplace. It’s a really solid product for the price and you can tell it would function properly for years to come. The chimes are of the Westminister type and you will hear them after a quarter of an hour. It features a really good volume rocker and the clock can also be silence during the night. The clock is protected with a strong glass case. Roman numerals are used in this clock and the pendulum is made out of brass. There are some gold accents which really bring out the look of the clock and it looks really luxurious.

Features:

  • Featuring a gold-tone pendulum, ornamental dial and alder case, this mantel clock will beautify any space
  • Each hour, on the hour, the clock strikes. Chimes play Westminster and Whittington melodies on the quarter-hour
  • Volume control and nighttime chime silencer
  • Powered by 1 C battery (included)

Dimensions: 13 X 9.25 X 4.25

Product Weight: 5 pounds

Seiko has once again been successful in pleasing our eyes with the design on this mantel clock. The chimes are digital but really close to the original Westminister chime and you will not be disappointed. Furthermore, the time displayed is also very accurate as it uses a quartz mechanism. The pendulum moves a bit quick for my liking and if you do not like faster pendulums then you can just look at some of the other options above. All things considered, it’s a pretty decent looking clock and if you would like to buy it you can do so from.

5. Howard Miller 613-164 Orland Wall Clock

Howard Miller 613-164 Orland Wall Clock

Now we’ve got for you a Howard Miller clock. The look and feel of this clock, in my point of view, is the most premium as compared to the earlier clocks. Howard Miller know what they are doing and they have proved it in this clock. It features a Roman Numeral dial with a brass-finished centre ring and bezels. The wood feels really high-quality and the pendulum is made out of brass. It offers three different types of chimes, Westminister Chime, Ave Maria Chime and Bim Bam chime. The wood is finished in Windsor Cherry and the clock itself is battery operated with a quartz mechanism. You will not be disappointed if you choose to buy this clock which you can.

Features:

  • Finished in Windsor Cherry on select hardwoods and veneers.
  • The cream-coloured Roman numeral dial offers a raised polished brass-finished centre ring and a polished brass-finished bezel.
  • Contoured glass panel features decorative black accents.
  • Quartz, battery-operated, triple-chime Harmonic movement plays your choice of full Westminster or Ave Maria chimes with strike on the hour with 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 chimes accordingly; Westminster chime and strike on the hour only; or Bim Bam chime on the hour only.
  • Volume control and automatic nighttime chime shut-off option.
  • Requires two C sized batteries (not included).
  • Designed and Assembled in the USA.

Dimensions: 4.8 x 15 x 26 inches

Product Weight: 11.5 pounds

6.Howard Miller Bergen Wall Clock 625-279

6.Howard Miller Bergen Wall Clock 625-279

Another Howard Miller clock made the list, kudos to them. This clock, like the first one, is also on the taller side and would go really good if you have a narrow wall. It looks much more modern than any of the clocks mentioned above and that is one of the main reason it earned a spot on this list. If you are looking for a sleek and modern clock then this clock is for you.

Features:

  • Wall Clock: The Bergen Wall Clock features a Merlot Cherry finish and contrasting brushed nickel-finished pendulum, bezel and sidebars to compliment your home decor. The clock’s quartz movement makes a soft ticking noise without the use of chimes for a quieter environment.
  • Durable: This indoor modern clock is created to last. It has a sturdy frame to relieve stress in a busy household. Display it in your kitchen, office, bathroom, bedroom, living room, and more.
  • High Quality: The contemporary wall clock will quickly become a home essential. Easily tell time with the black bar hour markers, black hands, and glass crystal to stand out over a white dial.

Dimensions: 3 x 12 x 35 inches

Product Weight: 9 pounds

It’s a really great clock and employs the quartz movement. It has a soft tick sound which is very quiet and doesn’t disturb that much. If the plastic structure doesn’t bother you that much then it’s a pretty good clock. If you would like to buy it you can.

7. Seiko 23″ Modern Art Clock with Pendulum

Seiko 23" Modern Art Clock with Pendulum

Another one from Seiko, I love the look of it. It would go amazingly if you with a minimalistic modern environment. The black finished wood contrasts beautifully with the silver bezels. The clock is really quiet and it’s one of the many things I love about it.

Features:

  • Silver & black wooden and plastic case
  • White face with black numerals
  • Swinging pendulum
  • Powered by 1 AA battery (included)

Dimensions: 8.2 x 2.5 x 23.2 inches

Product Weight: 2.18 pounds

It doesn’t make any noise and would go amazingly in an office, if you would like to buy it you can from.

8. Seiko Regal Oak Wall Clock with Pendulum

8. Seiko Regal Oak Wall Clock with Pendulum

Man, Seiko is dominating this list, well what can we say they do make some of the best pendulum wall clocks. This clock will take you to older times, it gives such good vibes and feels amazing. The quality of the wood is amazing and it feels good too. The clock hands fit perfectly with the old theme and the gold accents on top of wood just bring out the colours and make it look really premium.

Features:

  • Traditional wooden case
  • Dual chimes, quarter-hour chime, hourly strikes follow the hourly chime, automatic chime silencer and volume control
  • Ornate metal pendulum
  • Powered by 1 C battery (included)

Dimensions: 28.25 X 11.5 X 4.75 inches

Product Weight: 5 pounds

This clock is very accurate in showing the time as it uses a quartz mechanism. Moreover, it features a volume rocker for adjusting volume and also a night time silencer so you can have quieter nights. The chimes come out of a speaker and they are pretty high quality and really close to the percussion clocks. The clock is also really quiet and makes a soft tick-tock sound, which is not too much. All in all, a really good clock and if you would like to buy this clock, you can from.

9. Bedford Pendulum ClockOpens in a new tab.

Another clock from Bedford, really great manufacturers. This clock is really durable and made out of mahogany, it’s on the heavier side due to the wood used. It would go amazing in the dining room or in the living room. The clock gives amazing vibes and reminds of the older times.

Features:

  • Made in USA or Imported
  • Old World Mahogany Finish
  • Angled Corners With Fluted Pilasters And Decorative Carved Accents
  • Two-Tone Metal Dial
  • Adjustable volume control

Dimensions: 4.95 x 22.08 x 10.75 inches

Product Weight: 7 pounds

It features an adjustable volume control which is quite convenient for adjusting the volume, furthermore, the sound comes out of a speaker so there are not a lot of moving parts and that is why durability increases. Apart from that, the clock uses a quartz mechanism which makes it quite accurate in showing time. All things considered, a really good clock and can be bought.

10.Bulova Clocks C3542 Cranbrook Wall Mount Analog Wooden Chiming Clock 

This clock has a really good rustic look and is manufactured by none other than our beloved Bulova. It is a really durable clock and has a large pendulum which swings slow, and I really like it as it feels satisfying. The dial is made out of metal and uses roman numerals.

Features:

  • Solid wood and wood veneer case with Old World walnut finish
  • Decorative carved accents. Decorative screened glass.
  • The metal dial features Roman numerals
  • Harmonic 2 triple-chime movement plays choice of Westminster, Ave Maria or Bim-Bam melody on the hour.

Dimensions: 3.8 x 9 x 19

Product Weight: 5.82 pounds 

The chime is recorded and comes through a speaker which is really high quality and there are multiple melody options. The clock itself is very quiet and uses quartz mechanism and so is very accurate. The clock also features a volume rocker if you want to adjust the volume of the chimes. Overall, a great clock and if you want to buy it you can from

Hopefully, this article was helpful in informing you a bit about Pendulum Clocks, if you have any questions feel free to use the comment section below. And last but not least if you are interested in knowing why clocks don’t appear in dreams, we have a great article on just that so do give it a click if you are interested “Why don’t clocks appear in dreams? Clocks and dreams!Opens in a new tab.“. Here is also a link about the history of clocks if you want to give that a look “History of timekeeping devicesOpens in a new tab.” Hopefully, this article was an interesting read, stay tuned to ohmyclock for more interesting articles regarding clocks

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