Why are Grandfather Clocks Called That? | Summary and Q&A

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March 6, 2018
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Today I Found Out
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Why are Grandfather Clocks Called That?

TL;DR

The nickname "grandfather clock" originated from a song called "My Grandfather's Clock" written by Henry Clay Work in 1876.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did grandfather clocks get their nickname?

Grandfather clocks got their nickname from a song called "My Grandfather's Clock" written by Henry Clay Work in 1876. The song tells the story of a clock that stopped when the old man died.

Q: Why did the public prefer the name "grandfather clock" over "longcase clock"?

The song "My Grandfather's Clock" became extremely popular and sold over a million copies in sheet music. As a result, the public adopted the name "grandfather clock" instead of the less catchy "longcase clock."

Q: Were grandfather clocks popular in households?

At first glance, grandfather clocks may seem out of place in modern households. However, they were popular timekeeping devices in the past, especially during the era when the song "My Grandfather's Clock" was released.

Q: Is the popularity of grandfather clocks declining?

With the advent of digital technology and atomic clocks, some clock lovers worry that traditional pendulum-swinging grandfather clocks may not be as popular or widely used. However, the song "My Grandfather's Clock" still lives on and continues to be recorded by various artists.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Grandfather clocks, also known as longcase clocks, got their nickname from a popular song written in 1876.

  • The song, "My Grandfather's Clock," tells the story of a clock that stopped when the old man died.

  • The song became a huge success and led to the public adopting the name "grandfather clock" instead of "longcase clock."

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