Saturday, June 30, 2012

History of the naming of The Grandfather Clock

Henry Zecher describes the story of the naming of the Grandfather Clock (2005). He tells us that Grandfather Clocks were originally known as Long Case Clocks. In 1875 Henry Clay Work wrote the song “My Grandfather’s Clock.” This renaming caught on and today we refer to these clocks as Grandfather Clocks. Originally these floor clocks did not keep accurate time. This particular clock was found in North Yorkshire, England at the George Hotel, where it still stands today.  It was known to be exceptional. It kept accurate time. As the story goes the hotel owners were a pair of bachelors, the Jenkins brothers. One of the brothers died and the clock curiously began losing time. Attempts to repair the clock failed, and the story culminates when at the remaining brother’s death, the clock ceased running altogether. Works was an abolitionist who helped thousands of slaves flee to freedom in the north.  He was sentenced and imprisoned in 1841 and released in 1845, penniless. He began writing songs. Works was a guest at The George Hotel in 1875, hence the song “My Grandfather’s Clock.”  

Grandfather's Clock (1876)
Words and Music by Henry Clay Work

1. 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.
It was bought on the morn of the day that he was born,
And was always his treasure and pride;
But it stopp'd short – never to go again –
When the old man died.

Ninety years without slumbering (tick, tick, tick, tick),
His life seconds numbering (tick, tick, tick, tick),
It stopp'd short – never to go again –
When the old man died.

2. In watching its pendulum swing to and fro,
Many hours had he spent while a boy;
And in childhood and manhood the clock seemed to know
And to share both his grief and his joy.
For it struck twenty-four when he entered at the door,
With a blooming and beautiful bride;
But it stopp'd short – never to go again –
When the old man died.


3. My grandfather said that of those he could hire,
Not a servant so faithful he found;
For it wasted no time, and had but one desire –
At the close of each week to be wound.
And it kept in its place – not a frown upon its face,
And the hands never hung by its side;
But it stopp'd short – never to go again –
When the old man died.

4. It rang an alarm in the dead of the night –
An alarm that for years had been dumb;
And we knew that his spirit was pluming for flight –
That his hour of departure had come.
Still the clock kept the time, with a soft and muffled chime,
As we silently stood by his side;
But it stopp'd short – never to go again –
When the old man died.


Zecher, Henry How an Old Floor Clock Became a Grandfather. The Pride of Olney, official newsletter of the Lions Club of Olney, Maryland. Volume XXX. No. 76. October 2005. Retrieved on June 30, 2012 <>

Monday, June 4, 2012

Getting started in the clock business....

We are often asked how it was we got started in the clock business. We thought we would share a bit about our history.

Zachariah Maples Grandfather Clock Company was founded in 1975 by Everett Gary Maples. The company was named after Gary Maples’ grandfather, Zachariah, from Alabama.  Gary and his wife made a decision to buy a grandfather clock while vacationing in Dominica. 
After returning to Chicago with this new pursuit in mind, Gary went up to Zealand, Michigan to buy a clock from a major manufacturer.  He first visited Colonial Clock Company, at that time the largest manufacturer of grandfather clocks in the world.  He learned they would not sell him a single clock,  to become a stocking dealer, he must buy 12.  He then went to Trend Clocks, also in the area.  They told him he must buy 16.  In desperation, he found and visited another company in the same town, Howard Miller Clock Company.  He was also told by them that they would only sell to a stocking dealer, but required a purchase of only six clocks.  With this being the best deal, he agreed to buy six clocks.  At that time, Mr. Maples had a business, M. Methods Inc. He first sold the clocks under this business, and on the very first day in which he offered the clocks out for sale, he sold all six.
From this beginning Gary decided to become a manufacturer of grandfather clocks.  All of the American clock companies, with the exception of Hershede Hall Clock Company, bought their clock works from Germany and built their own cabinets.  Entering the business as a grandfather clock manufacturer in the state of Illinois, Zachariah Maples Grandfather Clock Company was incorporated in 1975. The first cabinets for Zachariah Clocks were made by Powell Cabinet Shop in Elita, Ohio.  It was a small  Mennonite operation employing only six.  The first order was for 25 grandfather clock cabinets. The next, and last, contract maker for Zachariah was Charles Stokes Cabinet Shop in Lima, Ohio.  Gary ordered 100 cabinets from them.
 It became clear to him that he needed to own his own woodworking manufacturing facility.  Gary Maples had no background in woodcraft.  With the tested philosophy of any entrepreneur, if you don't know it hire it.  Zachariah was fortunate to find Fred and Joann Montgomery, a husband and wife team, to be co-managers of the Zachariah plant.  They and some of their relatives provided the leadership for the production facility for the next twelve years.
 Zachariah Maples Grandfather Clock Company produced from 200 increasing to 2500 clocks per year at it's peak, over the twelve year span that it was in operation.  At the highest point in the production cycle, there were 70 employees working full time in the production unit.  The plant was located on Paulina Avenue in Chicago, Illinois.  The official headquarters for Zachariah Clock Company was in Oak Park, Illinois.  Zachariah Maples Grandfather Clock Company ceased doing business in 1987. The assets were acquired by Replogle Globe Company in Chicago.  At that time, Replogle was the world’s largest manufacturer of globes.  Gary Maples signed a non-compete clause for five years and agreed to this transfer of assets.
Since these beginnings Gary Maples has continued in the grandfather clock business. Changing with the times he now provides grandfather clocks to the continental United States, Canada, and abroad through

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thoughtful words from East Tennessee

Love Clock. Your clock is nicer than I expected. I feel like
you are a friend. All my friends tell me that the price is reasonable. I have
told them they can trust London Clocks. I must say thank you from me and my
family. Wish London Clock a good year. I tell all my friends London Clock is
the place to buy a grandfather clock.
East Tennessee

Friday, June 24, 2011

Kind words from British Columbia

I wanted to let you know how much I really appriciated your great service. I would HIGHLY recommend
any one to do buisness with you.You are the very best. Even though what ended up being a
very minor problem with my clock you stopped at nothing to keep me a very happy customer.
If anyone asked me where to shop for a clock I would be only to happy to give your phone
number or e-mail address. God Bless you and may you have many great years of doing buisness.
No one deserves it more than you!! It's been a real pleasure doing buisness with you.

Thanks so much once again

From Orlando....

Mr. Maples:

You sell and deliver a lot of clocks in a years time but I hope you will still remember me since my purchase and delivery were recent. You delivered my clock on Saturday evening, January 8, 2011 to my home in Orlando, Florida.

While I know my grandfather clock is not the top of the line that you sell, I cannot begin to tell you how much I am enjoying having it in my home. The craftsmanship is excellent. The price I paid for it is less than what I paid for my other grandfather clock I purchased 32 years ago when I first set up housekeeping. My new clock is of better quality than my original, more expensive clock (even though I love it dearly).

Thank you for providing such a quality product. I am sure this is a clock I will be able to hopefully enjoy for many years and will be proud to leave to one of my nieces for her enjoyment in the future.

I will not hesitate to recommend you to others in the future.

Thank you,

Tamara A.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Friends from San Jose.

Hi Gary, hope you are doing well.

Wanted to tell you, that we love our clock and the total way that you
installed it and explained how to maintain it.

As we said to you - we bought the clock because we wanted one and
thought it was the right thing to do in these difficult times.

I hope you and your business are doing well

Thank you
Nick & Angelina

Monday, February 16, 2009

A note from Arizona

Just a note of thanks to this fine Internet Establishment "London Clocks". I placed an order for my cherished dream of owning a Grandfather Clock. To my joy, It arrived just prior to Christmas 2008. But to my sorrow, it arrived damaged. I immediately phoned London Clocks and spoke with Mr. Maples (the owner of London Clocks). He assured me that I would receive a replacement clock in January, but to just keep the one currently through the holidays and enjoy it. Throughout the month of January, Mr Maples kept communicating to me with the arrival date of the replacement clock. Not only did London Clocks meet my wants and needs, they EXCEEDED my expectations and delivered a perfect Grandfather Clock to me before the date promised. I have had nothing but a positive involvement with London Clocks and Mr.Maples. I highly recommend to anyone looking for any type of clock, to check out London Clocks on the Internet - they are wonderful, sincere and honest people to deal with.
Phoenix, AZ

Thanks, Marlo. I'm so glad you had a good experience working with us. And, I hope you enjoy your clock for many years to come.