Grandfather Clock Plans used to be quite popular. Going back 20 to 40 years, there was a ready supply of available plans which were made available – some the bare-bones grandfather clocks plans where everything was dome from scratch, and others with kits provided with either some of the components, e.g. a grandfather clock movement only, and others which also included wood finished and cut and stained, from not at all, to the assembly-only required types of grandfather clock kits that came with easier grandfather clock plans.
Some of the most well known publishers of grandfather clock plans included Mason and Sullivan, which had both the from scratch plans as well as those that came with movements and grandfather clock case, as well as mantel clock case, and wall clock case parts. Mason and Sullivan went out of business at least 15-20 years ago, but their plans are still occasionally available for purchase, in places such as eBay. Empire Clocks, or was it Emperor Clocks, were another big name in grandfather clock plans and grandfather clock kits. Like Mason and Sullivan, they also made back to basics from scratch grandfather clock plans, as well as offering grandfather clock kits, but from our recollection most all still required some real woodwork and staining. This was also true for wall clocks and mantle clocks offered with clock plans, e.g. wall clock plans, and mantel clock plans, many of which are also found and sold as vintage items.
One company that took a lot of the work out but added tremendous quality was the Kuempel Chime Clock Company, which sold both individual grandfather clocks made to order, as well as grandfather clock kits that came with grandfather clock plans to put them together. Based in Minnesota, the Kuempel grandfather clocks, as well as mantel clocks and wall clocks, really raised the bar by providing only the highest end solid wood components or completed cases. The company was run by a visionary man named John Swon who, among many other areas where he saw wisdom, saw the benefit in hiring workers who were local and were senior citizens. It was a win-win for everyone, including grandfather clock customers who were the lucky beneficiaries of the clocks and clock kits made by these craftsmen and workers already skilled or who were trained and became skilled in woodworking.
Kuempel also sold very popular grandfather clock kits with German Grandfather Clocks that had Kieninger grandfather clock movements. In addition, they had kits and plans for mantel clocks and wall clocks too, again of German origin. Unfortunately, this great company we believe went out of business shortly after its visionary owner passed away all too suddenly and unexpectedly.
In more general terms, the grandfather clock market seems to have “spoken out” in favor of the economics of buying pre-made high quality grandfather clocks rather than spending the incredible time and effort necessary into doing it the most old-fashioned way. When one looks at the selections of grandfather clocks offered by Howard Miller Clocks, as well as Hermle Grandfather Clocks, the Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks selection,, the Americana Grandfather Clocks Collection, and Kieninger Grandfather Clocks, and the prices and quality offered with many styles of traditional and contemporary grandfather clocks, it is easy to see that buying one of these incredibly made grandfather clocks, instead of using a grandfather clock plan, may be the easiest decision of all. Always evaluate the grandfather clocks brands and makers and differences within and between the high-end heirloom quality clocks that will one day be an antique grandfather clock and an antique family heirloom to be treasured by generation after generation.