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 Ever wondered what Bim Bam, Bob or Tempus Fugit mean?  This page explains it all.  Check out our wonderful Grandfather Clocks!  You may have seen them other places but never at our price. E-mail us!


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All About Clocks!

Common Terms

Arabic - Most familiar numeral style (1, 2, 3, etc.) used on clock dials, as distinguished from Roman numerals (I, II, III, etc.)

Bezel - Front section of clock case, usually including grooved rim into which crystal is set.  May also describe flat decorative surface adjacent to clock dial.

Big Ben Gong - Deep sounding chime that announces the hour, patterned after the large bell in the clock tower of the House of Parliament in London.

Bim-Bam - Descriptive term for clock chimes which sound only at the half hour and hour

Blind Man's Chime - Also known as 4/4 Chime.  This means that a portion of the Westminster chime is played every quarter hour.  Four notes on the quarter-hour, eight notes on the half-hour, twelve notes on the three-quarter hour, and on the hour it chimes sixteen notes and then strikes the hour.   If you are in another room or 'Blind', you can tell if its 15, 30 or 45 after by the number of the notes or sequences of the chime.

Bob - Polished round disc at lower end of clock pendulum, usually adjustable, to provide regulation of timekeeping rate.

Bow Top - A design feature of some wall, shelf and grandfather clock cases, characterized by a curved top section.

Cabinet - The wooden case of a wall, shelf or grandfather clock, that encloses the dial and movement and usually the pendulum.

Cable Driven - A movement powered by weights hanging by cables from the movements.

Chime Rods - Stationary metal rods that are finely tuned, that when struck by small hammers create melodious chimes and the hour gong.

Crown - The top of the clock.

Escapement - The device in a clock which controls the action of its mechanism by releasing the mainspring or weight power at precise intervals.

Finial - A decorative ornament, usually in wood or brass, forming the upper extremity of a column or structure.  Often use to complement the design of chime clock cabinets.

Finish - Process in which the wood surface is smoothed, stained and polished.

Grandfather Clock - A general term used to describe a floor clock that is 80" or more in height.

Grandmother Clock - A floor clock similar to, but smaller than grandfather designs, usually less than 80" in height.

Half Hour Strike - Chiming feature of clocks which strike both the half hour and hour, sometimes called "Bim-Bam" chimes.

Hands - Pointed metal indicators, usually decorative, which mark the hours, minutes and seconds on the clock dial.

Inlaid Veneers - Thin layers of carefully chosen wood delicately set into a wood base to form a decorative pattern.

Keywound - A term used to describe mechanical clocks powered by a mainspring.

Marquetry - Decorative inlaid patterns of wood, ivory, etc. used in furniture.

Moon Dial/Lunar Dial - An extra feature on some clocks, to indicate correct phase of the moon each day.  The dial makes one complete revolution every 29 1/2 days to coincide with the lunar cycle.

Movement - The inner mechanism of a clock; may be keywound, weight driven, quartz, electric or electronic (battery powered),

Pediment - An architectural term which, when applied to grandfather clocks, describes the flat cabinet surface immediately above the dial.

Pendulum - A swinging rod and weight (bob), suspended below the clock movement to regulate the movement's timekeeping.

Pilaster - A flat decorative panel, usually rectangular in shape, used for columnar effect in clock cabinet design.

Quarter Hour Strike - Chime clocks which toll the quarter, half and three-quarter hour, in addition to every full hour.

Regulator - An adjustment lever or screw, used to correct the timekeeping rate of a clock.

School Clock - A traditional wooden cabinet wall clock design usually characterized by a round or octagonal case, large Arabic numeral dial and lower cabinet section with a glass door through which the pendulum is visible.

Scroll - Gracefully curved ornament suggesting a partially opened parchment scroll, used to embellish the top of a wooden clock cabinet, particularly a grandfather style.

St. Michael Chimes - Dates back to the Revolutionary War period and used in St. Michael's Church steeple in Charleston, SC.

Straight Sided - Clock style in which the body of the clock is measured evenly in width from the crown to the base.

Tempus Fugit - Latin phrase meaning "Time Flies", frequently engraved on a decorative panel above clock dials.

Triple Chimes - An extra feature on fine chime clocks, usually providing selection of Westminster, Whittington an St. Michael melodies, in addition to a "Silent" choice.

Tubular Bell Chimes - Long, hollow chimes carefully tuned to provide most resonant tones and accurate pitch.

Veneers - Thin layers of carefully chosen wood that are permanently bonded to a wood base.

Waisted - Traditionally styled clock with the crown and base wider than the body of the clock that encases the pendulum

Weight - Heavy metal piece used to power certain types of chime clock movements.  Usually enclosed in polished brass tubes to enhance the decorative effect.

Weight driven - A timekeeping mechanism in which movement power is provided by the gravitational effect of heavy weights.

Westminster Chimes - Most familiar of all chime melodies, associated with the Victoria Clock Tower of the House of Parliament in London.  Originally part of University Church clock in Cambridge.  Often used in door chimes.

Whittington Chimes - A lesser known but equally melodious chime, from church of St. Mary-le-Bow, where Dick Whittington first heard the call to become Lord Mayor of London.

Winchester Chimes - Melodious chimes originating around 1093 from the cathedral's central tower in Hampshire, England.



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Will Rogers Clocks   5970 E. 31st St.   Tulsa, OK 74135
Phone: 918-622-5575     Fax: 918-270-2040
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