mantel clock

Mantel Clocks: Exploring types of mantel clocks

Whether you call it a mantel clock (synonym: mantle clock), mantelpiece clock, they’re generally the same. The point is that you would want to place the clock on your mantelpiece, above the fireplace. If you’re looking to buy a mantle clock, it’s important to get all your info about all your options. Why? If you’re informed, you’re likely to find the right clock that fits your needs and wants best, whether it be material, type, style or price. Obviously it can be confusing to choose which one you’ll buy. Don’t worry, we’ll help you. Let’s get to know about the mantel clocks.

Brief history of mantelpiece clocks

Mantel clocks were quite popular back in the day (1700s and 1800s), as they were relatively cheap to manufacture. You may wonder why this type of clock is called a “mantel clock.” And the answer is that its name came due to its size. That is, these clocks were compact enough to be placed upon someone’s mantelpiece. However, these clocks don’t need to be kept on one’s mantel; not anymore. They can be placed anywhere around the house.

Today, there are many, many mantel clock options to choose from—you’ve got endless possibilities. This includes battery-operated and mechanical ones, made from various materials. Choices for mantel clocks include imitations or replicas of antique versions of the clocks, modern versions, or just the old, antique clocks from the original era (but those will cost you).

Types of mantel clocks

If you’re just looking for a clock for your home, there are some considerations. You should consider the style of your home, the size of the timepiece you need and the amount of money you’ve got in your pocket that you’re willing to spend. It’s also important that you think about the features that you want in a mantle clock. For example, most clocks have the ability to be switched and turn off at night automatically. You’ll need to make the decision between wind-up or battery-operated mantel clocks. You’ll need to differentiate between whether the clock chimes or if it’s a silent clock. You have two movements to choose from; the first is a battery-operated quartz clock and the second is a mechanical clock that is wound by a key. There are differences between these two types of clocks. If you’re more of an old fashioned person you would generally go with the decision to purchase wooden mantel clocks. If you’re more of a modern person and your home reflects that, we have got you covered with our best glass mantel clocks list.

Battery-operated or Wind-up mantel clocks

A battery operated mantel clock is a newer invention. Most of the time, this type of clock comes with a variety of features including different alarms. This type of clock is also known as a quartz- operated mantel clock. Although this type is of a more modern clock, it can still be found in a variety of styles. In fact, battery-operated clocks still have the option of being found in an antique style. Battery-operated clocks produce only high-quality sounds. Keep in mind that the sound this type of clock produces is different from one that is produced by a wind-up model.

For wind-up mantel clocks, the clock will generally need to be wound up at least once every 7 days. Certain models just need to be wound-up every 2 weeks. The clocks that need to be wound up at least every week are referred to as “8-day clocks.” The clock should come with a manual switch that allows one to turn off the clock’s chime. Some clocks have an auto night silencing feature. There are also several different types of wind-up clocks. They’re differentiated by the number of keyholes in the dial, ranging from one to three keyholes. As the clock will most likely to have different features depending on its number of keyholes, it’ll be important for you to look for in the item description.

If the clock has only one key wound, it typically means that the clock only tells the time most of the time. Indeed, typically this type of clock doesn’t come with other features, like ringing bells or chimes.

If the clock has two key wounds, typically it just tells the time and strikes every half hour, which is known as a Big Bam strike. This type of clock doesn’t play a melody at all.

A mantel clock that has three keyholes usually has more features than the other two variations. Besides keeping time, the clock strikes hourly and has a chiming feature. For this, you should read up what kind of features that come with each type of clock carefully on the features and pricing pages we will link you to.

Materials present in mantle clocks

Mantle clocks are made from various materials, including wood, glass, metal, porcelain and stone. If you’re looking forward to buying a mantle clock, you need to consider what type of clock and how it’ll fit with the style of your home. Some materials are more common, depending on when and where the clock was manufactured. Generally the clocks have the same features, so it is only a matter of preference which type of clock you purchase.

Most old-era mantel clocks were made of wood, due to convenience’s sake. For instance, oak or cherry tree wood were popular. The wood can be a solid piece, or the clock could be made out of wooden paneling. Often, old wooden mantel clocks in America were painted, engraved or fitted with brass. These types of wooden mantel may be what most people think of when thinking of what a mantel clock is. However, it is just one of many types of clocks that are available on our website.

Some of the mantel clocks in the past were actually made of different types of stone, for instance slate and marble. As you might’ve thought, both of these materials are very heavy and inconvenient to use. In the past, some clocks were made of precious metals, like silver or gold. These clocks are very rare nowadays. Obviously, they’re far more expensive compared to mantel clocks made of other materials.

Another material that mantel clocks were made of is porcelain. It isn’t unusual for porcelain clocks to be painted with flowers or other design. Some of the famous clockmakers back in the day actually specialized in making porcelain clocks with specially painted designs.

Recently mantel clocks have begun to be produced from glass as well. Glass mantel clocks are very friendly to put in any location of a home due to their versatile nature.

Styles of mantel clocks

There are four common styles of mantel clocks. They are

  • French mantel clocks
  • Art deco
  • German mantel clocks
  • Modern style clocks

Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, French mantel clocks are made from large amounts of metal and are lavish, although they’re expensive. German mantel clocks are made with high quality of craftsmanship, and they can be very expensive too. Modern style clocks are cheaper but are sometimes made from cheaper materials.

Variety in pricing and features

The price of mantel clocks varies. It can be as low as less than $100 and can be as high as more than $1000. It depends on many factors, including material, type, style, manufacturer, size, etc. We have compiled a list specifically for cheap mantel clocks on our website.

As with pricing, mantel clocks also come with a wide range of features. And of course, one clock will be different from another. Some examples of mantel clock features which may drive the price up are:

  • Alarms
  • Chimes
  • Numbered clock
  • Day/date display
  • Picture frame

Modern use

The original use of mantel clocks is of course, as with any type of clocks, keeping time. However, in modern time, mantel clocks also have another use. One of them is to be used as a complement to the decoration of your house. In other words, a décor. For people who intend to do so, it’s important to match the clock that you’re going to buy with your home decoration. Don’t worry. There are a lot of varieties of mantel clocks available (we’re sure you will find your preferred one). By being educated about these clocks, you’ll more likely find the one which will fit your need best.

Are you into antique or modern style clocks?

mantel clocks

Often, modern style clocks have more gizmos than their old, antique versions. They’re also commonly battery-operated. These will fit a more modern room styles.

What if you’re you looking for antique mantel clocks? There are contemporary clocks that are designed to look exactly as antique clocks do. When choosing antique clocks, you’ll have two options.

First, is to buy real antique clocks. The second one is to buy antique mantel clocks imitations and replicas.

Replicas are made primarily to resemble antique clocks as close as possible, but only on the exterior (the inside may be cheaply fabricated). This option is favoured by people who are looking for a clock that is as close as the original clock but more inexpensive. The imitations, on the other hand, are made from cheaper materials. The differences between replicas and imitation will definitely reflect in their price.


There is a wide range of options in the mantel clock landscape, from types, materials, style, features, and of course, price. This could be confusing for a first-time buyer. Thus, if you’re a first-time buyer, it would be better for you if you know some of the basics first before you make your purchase.

It’ll help you get what you need and want. If you have some knowledge about mantel clocks, you’ll more likely to find the clock that will fit and meet your need best. Of course, you can buy one without any prior knowledge. However, that may cause problems in the future. The obvious sign to look for is if the clock doesn’t match your home décor. Instead of complementing your décor, it’ll be like a sore thumb. Or, you get ripped off by buying imitation antique clock that you think is an original one. Which means you waste your time and money buying an imitation, instead of original mantel clock which would consequently be more expensive.

On our website you’ll have all the reviews and best-of lists you want. You can find whatever you’d like via the search function. We’ve also provided a variety of links to our articles and lists through this article.

The point is, on this website you’ll find a variety of mantel clocks for sale, all individually reviewed and compiled for your pleasure.

Antonella Murphy

I've always been a clock enthusiast, so I decided to join my mates to create Clock Selection. Straight out of Birmingham!

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