Grandfather Clock: Scribble Picnic

This week’s Scribble Picnic’s prompt – Grandfather Clock.

As I write this I am listening to the bong on our own grandfather clock chime the half hour. Hubby built the cabinet and assembled the clock a couple of years ago. He had plans spread out on our dining room table that would compete with house plans. Pages of details. So much detail I couldn’t even look at it. Our clock is a replica of a Mission Grandfather Clock.

grandfather clock

My first drawing of the clock was done – yes you guessed it – at 2 am. This is the poem I wrote at that time:

The Clock

There stood the clock
It bonged the hour
Time went by
Tick Tock Tick Tock

She could not sleep
But in the silence
She could sense
The stillness

Because of this prompt
I began to be interested in the history of grandfather clocks.

These clocks used to be called Longcase Clocks and were invented to keep better time with a pendulum rather than weights and springs.

The story goes that a man named Henry Clay Work in 1875 visited a hotel where there stood a Longcase Clock that had stopped.There had been two brothers who lived there. When the first one died the clock stopped keeping perfect time and stopped working as soon as the second brother died. Fascinated Work wrote a song called My Grandfather’s Clock in 1876 which sold over one million copies in sheet music (crazy number back then).

I recall hearing ‘My Grandfather’s Clock” from my school days.
Do you remember it? (tweet this)

Here is the first verse and chorus. To read all the verses click here.

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.

Because I write children’s books I couldn’t help think about Hickory Dickory Dock. My picture is based on that nursery rhyme. It’s done with watercolour pencils.

Grandfather clock

Join us at Scribble Picnic.

grandfather clock



  1. What a talented hubby you have…your Grandfather clock is beautiful! Nice poem too. 🙂

    I also thought of the Grandfather clock song…couldn’t get it out of my head. haha I never knew the history behind it though…thanks for sharing it.

    Love your Hickory Dickory Dock illustration! Perfect for the theme. 🙂

    1. Serena,
      I am blessed to have such a hubby. When anything doesn’t work he fixes it. I can’t get that song out of my head either and listened to it on your post. I finally found a song I like and played that – thankfully it went into my head.

  2. Beautiful clock and interesting info. I rather like the name “longcase clock.” I guess that would mean the pendulum clock in our living room is a “shortcase clock!”

    Nicely done with the “Hickory Dickory Dock” drawing, and here’s hoping that mouse is scared enough to run out of the house never to return!

    1. Thank you so much. I love that thought of mice running away. As we go home to “mouse country” I will remember your words. Isn’t Scribble Picnic fun.

  3. Fun that you based your clock on the nursery rhyme. Nicly done.
    I also was wondering how they became called “Grandfather” clocks.

  4. That is a good rendition of the clock your hubs made. Incredible he actually built/designed that. Wow! That poem sounds like the song that Serena note on her blog but slightly different. Now I know the story behind it! Fascinating. Thank you for your lovely additions, Janis! 🙂

    1. Michael,
      Actually he built – but did not design. He bought the plans from Clockkit. They really were incredible. I should have taken a picture of the plans. And I like stories.

  5. Janis, how lucky you are to have such a craftsman in your house. That clock is beautiful. I bet he put a lot of love into it. I am familiar with that song – you’ll see in my post – but I didn’t know the story behind it. Thanks for sharing that. And thanks for sharing your wonderful drawing.

    1. Lorraine,
      It’s funny how a few of us knew the song. And I love to research and finding the story behind the song excited me. Yes I am blessed to have such a wood worker for a husband.

  6. The clock is gorgeous beautiful. I was just thinking about building one. We used to sing that song. I love the history you shared and your drawing. Lovely.

    1. Thanks Hanna,
      Hubby really enjoyed making ours. It took him awhile. Thankfully in our park here there is a beautiful wood workshop. Lots of $$ in equipment.

  7. Gosh you lucky duck having a hubby who can build things – mine is useless at any type of home improvement. . . . . . . except paying the bills I run up, as with our current bathroom reno – bless his heart!!!!!

    Love your craftsman style clock and story – funny we both did the nursery rhyme theme too.

    Happy day – Mary –

    1. Mary,
      I am blessed to have a handy man for a husband. My dad couldn’t do much in that department and neither could his dad. I guess it missed a generation. Thankfully our son likes tinkering and both daughters can hold their own in the fixing departments.
      Yes I love our Mission style clock. Makes me feel like in the slower times – and makes me slow down.

  8. Very Cute drawing….haha..several of us went with the Nursery Rhyme. Mine has a “twist” because I have a weird sense of humor. Enjoyed your research.

    1. Wanda,
      yes I saw your weird sense of humour. 3 mice? I guess that’s what Grandfather clocks remind us of – we grew up with nursery rhymes.

  9. I have never heard of that grandfather song, but I’m reminded of mary poppins, I cannot stay awake to draw, how do you managed? nice take on the theme.

    have a lovely day.

    1. Thanks Lissa,
      If I were sleepy I would go back to bed but usually I am wide awake and that’s the problem. So to relax so I can go back to sleep I find drawing is the best. Or a relaxing (not exciting) book.

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