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Mantle Clocks and Mantel Clocks

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Posted March 6, 2010

When shopping for grandfather clocks, one needs to keep in mind the alternate terminology for grandfather clock, such as floor clocks, longcase clocks, tall-case clocks, grandmother clocks, and, yes, sometimes even hall clocks.

So perhaps it is not too surprising that when talking about table clocks or desktop clocks or shelf clocks, all of which can be used reasonably synonymously, there is also the term mantel clocks that is used perhaps most commonly. Even of more interest and relevance is that the term mantel clocks is spelled just about as frequently as mantle clocks. Both spellings are about equally popular, and are used both in North America as well as Western Europe with both spellings. We used to think that mantle clocks was simply a more European spelling for mantel clocks, but careful study and observation suggests both clocks terms have taken hold across a wide swath of geographical locations.

Which term do you find to be most descriptive for this category of clock – table clock, desktop clock, shelf clock or mantle-mantel clock? We like all and have just somehow assumed that the mantel-mantle clock nomenclature, which seems to be the standard according to most manufacturers of high quality clocks. What’s your opinion? Which term best reflects this. Don’t forget about bracket clocks too! The bracket clock is a term which we believe was reasonably standard in England during the 1700s and 1800s and early-mid 1900s. Of course there was-is also the term tambour clock, also known as a Napoleon’s Hat clock, for those with that special design. While we use the terms bracket clocks and tambour clocks frequently, especially when referring to antique clocks. Yet we rarely hear American customers, especially those shopping for new grandfather or wall or mantel clocks use the alternate type of clock speak noted above.

And how about wall clocks? There are gallery clocks, railroad station clocks, atomic wall clocks which are also know as radio controlled frequency clocks, not to mention the specialty wall clocks including cuckoo clocks and wall skeleton clocks.

Let us know which term for tabletop or desktop clocks most speaks to you. Should we stick with the mantel clock and mantle clock variation, or be more bold and trendsetting in the clock industry.

© Clocks Blog and 1-800-4CLOCKS

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