Antiques column: Why longcase is finest English clock of all time

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Since we stopped using the sundial to tell us when it was lunchtime the world began producing timepieces, among them the clock.

My favourite clock of all is without doubt the longcase clock.

The longcase clock is the classic English clock and generally considered the finest achievement of English clock-making.

Longcases are a favourite among collectors due to the quality of both their cases and their movements.

They were produced in large quantities, making them possibly the most widely produced English clock.

Originally longcase clocks were produced in London but by the early 1700s the provinces gradually joined in this production and eventually even some small villages had their own clockmaker.

The long wooden case was a practical way to keep the pendulum and weights in a dust-free and stable environment.

Early examples were often veneered with ebony, while later examples featured mahogany and walnut.

Movements allowed the clocks to run for eight days or a cheaper version just 30 hours.

Dials were originally square but from the 1700s arched examples were also popular and later still the circular dial was introduced.

The most collected longcases today are the London-made high-quality mahogany examples, although many will argue that the early ebony cases are far more important.

But then again what about a lovely little 30-hour village- made clock in a beautiful plain oak case.