All about a Swedish Grandfather Clock

Swedish Grandfather Clock - Premier Clocks

The Swedish Grandfather Clock, also called the Mora clock, is a classic piece of Swedish craftsmanship loved by many. Its tall, slim shape, gentle curves, and detailed designs represent the beauty of Swedish style. Originating in the village of Mora in the late 1700s, these clocks were initially made by farmers. They've become treasured heirlooms over time, known for their hand-painted faces, intricate carvings, and accurate timekeeping. Let's take a closer look at the history and features of the Swedish Grandfather Clock.

➤  Find your perfect Grandfather Clock at Premier Clocks.


What Is a Swedish Grandfather Clock?

A Swedish grandfather clock, also known as a Mora clock, is a type of longcase clock that feature a tall, slender wooden case with a distinctive shape. The case often has a rounded belly and a scalloped or curved crest at the top. They are appreciated for their unique design, which reflects the cultural heritage of Sweden.


What Is the History of the Mora Clock?

In the late 1700s, Sweden faced tough times. Drought and hunger hit hard, making farmers leave their dying crops and move to Stockholm for jobs. Many of them learned how to make clocks there to earn money. When things got better, they went back to their villages and kept making clocks.

Even though they still farmed in the summer, in the winter, when it was too cold to work the fields, they made clocks to make ends meet. So, clockmaking became a part of their lives, helping them survive through the tough times of winter.

Where Were the Mora Clocks Invented?

The Mora clock, also known as the Swedish grandfather clock, has a rich history rooted in the small town of Mora in Dalarna, Sweden.

When Were Swedish Mora Clocks Invented?

The origins of Mora clocks can be traced back to the late 18th century. They were initially crafted by local artisans in Mora and surrounding areas, primarily during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Pick of Swedish Mora Floor Clock Fame

During the 19th century, Mora clocks experienced a surge in popularity, both in Sweden and abroad. They were exported to various parts of Europe and even to America, where they were prized as exotic and elegant furnishings.

The Decline of Mora Clock Production

After reaching the peak of their popularity in the 19th century, the production of Mora clocks declined in the early 20th century with the advent of industrialization and the rise of mass-produced timepieces. However, their unique charm and historical significance have led to a resurgence in interest in recent years, with Mora clocks becoming highly sought-after as antique collectibles and cherished pieces of Swedish heritage. Today, they are treasured not only for their functionality but also for their aesthetic beauty and cultural significance.


Antique Mora Clocks Made in Sweden

The 18th-century Swedish mora clock was created to meet the demand for timepieces in Swedish households and were often commissioned by families or individuals.

The First Swedish Grandfather Clock Design

The design of the Mora clock evolved over time, influenced by both local traditions and broader European clockmaking styles. Initially, original clocks were simpler in design, with tall, slender cases made of pine or other locally available woods. The clock faces were typically completed with hand-painted decorations, often featuring floral motifs or traditional folk art designs.

Evolution of the Design Styles

As demand for Mora clocks grew, the craftsmanship and design of these timepieces became more refined. Artisans began incorporating more elaborate details into the clocks, such as intricate painting techniques on the clock face and body, decorative carvings and brass hardware.


Buying a Swedish Mora Floor Clock

While there are specifics about Mora clocks, the process of how to choose a grandfather clock has a lot of similarities.


The Mora Clock Faces

Mora clocks typically feature clock faces that are adorned with hand-painted designs, reflecting the artistic traditions of Sweden. These designs often incorporate floral motifs, geometric patterns, or scenes inspired by nature and rural life.

• Floral Motifs: Many Mora clocks are decorated with delicate flowers, vines, and foliage painted in vibrant colors.

• Folk Art Designs: Mora clocks often feature traditional Swedish folk art designs, such as rosemaling (rose painting) or kurbits (curved vine) patterns.

• Roman Numerals: The clock face typically displays Roman numerals to indicate the hours.

• Moon Phase and Calendar: Some Mora clocks may include additional features such as a moon phase dial or a calendar display.

• Gilt Accents: In some cases, the clock face may be embellished with gilt accents or decorative gilding.

    It's common to find the clockmaker's initials and the village name delicately inscribed on the face. For instance, "AAS Mora" signifies the clockmaker Krang Anders Andersson from Ostner.


    Style of Mora Clocks

    A distinctive style of Mora clocks reflects the craftsmanship and aesthetics of rural Sweden.

    The Shape

    Mora clocks differ from typical grandfather clocks in that their wooden cases tend to be painted in one or two colors, depending on the family’s preference that ordered the clock:

    • "Female" Mora clocks that feature curves (typical of Southern Sweden and similar to the female form ).

    • "Male" Mora clocks that have straight lines (typical of Northern Sweden).

      The Finish

      In the authentic Gustavian style, Mora clocks were frequently painted with a matte, chalky finish, typically in shades of white, grey, or light blues. These softer pastel tones were favored, particularly during the extended dark winter periods.

      The Details

      Mora clocks made for rich clients had fancy carvings and detailed paintings. But for country-style clocks, they kept things simple, with fewer decorations and only one or two colors.


      Swedish Mora Clock Mechanism

      The mechanism inside a Swedish Mora clock is typically similar to that of other grandfather clocks. Mora clocks are weight-driven, meaning they use heavy weights suspended by chains or cords to power the clock's movement. The weights slowly descend over time, providing energy to drive the clock's gears and keep it running. There is a whole separate article about Grandfather Clock Movement where you can learn more.

      Both the pendulum and the weights of these clocks were crafted from cast iron. Much like the clock's face, they were protected by rounded glass, allowing for a view of the pendulum's swing. The traditional Mora Clocks originally featured an eight-day movement, requiring winding once a week, and either two striking bells or a spiral wire gong.


      Howard Miller Grandfather Clocks Inspired by Mora Clocks

      Inspired by Swedish Mora clocks, the Howard Miller Anastasia Floor Clock 611278 features a distressed Aged Gray finish and a removable crown for easy styling. With an Anniversary Edition Dial and visible pendulum and weights, this clock offers classic charm. Powered by a German-made movement, it only needs winding once a week. The Westminster Chime adds melodic sound, with an option to silence it at night. Designed and assembled in the USA.


      Enhance any room with the Howard Miller Arendal Floor Clock 611005. Inspired by Scandinavian design, it stands out in Howard Miller’s Furniture Trend Designs Collection. A cherry finish brings a traditional look of a grandfather clock while Roman numerals on the white clock face are a perfect reference to the Mora style. Mechanical movement only needs weekly winding and plays soothing Westminster chime, with an option to silence it at night.


      The Howard Miller Nashua Floor Clock 615005 adds charm to any living room. Resembling a Mora clock, it features antique brass-finish details like the pendulum. The clock chimes every hour, creating a cozy atmosphere. With a Worn Black finish on select hardwoods and veneers, it has a vintage look. The illuminated dial makes it easy to read in the dark, and it runs on batteries, with a choice of chimes and volume control. Made in the USA.


      The Howard Miller Diana Floor Clock 611082 brings timeless style inspired by the Mora clock era. With its unique shape and carved details, this grandfather clock stands out. Crafted from premium materials with an Embassy Cherry finish, it features a hinged top door, decorative overlays, and a detailed crown. The easy-to-read dial has Arabic numerals, and the pendulum adds elegance. Powered by a German-made movement, it chimes every quarter hour with an automatic nighttime shut-off option.

      Mora Clocks Influence on Howard Miller Clock Collection

      Also, in the Howard Miller clock collection, there are wall clocks and mantel clocks that have the design of a Mora clock. For example, the Howard Miller Arendal II Wall Clock 625551 and the Howard Miller Torrence Wall Clock 625637 feature the "female" Mora clock curves. The Howard Miller Cleo Mantel Clock 635162 completes the Mora clock collection of Howard Miller.


      How to Decorate with a Mora Clock

      1. Pick a Good Spot: Choose a noticeable place where the clock can stand out, like a living room or hallway.

      2. Light it Up: Use lighting to highlight the clock's details. A lamp or overhead light can make it a focal point.

      3. Match with Furniture: Pair the clock with furniture that complements its style and color.

      4. Find Balance: Make sure the clock fits well with other items in the room, like bookcases or lamps.

      5. Add Accessories: Decorate around the clock with items like vases or candles that match its look.

      6. Think About Your Decor: Consider your home's overall style when decorating around the clock. Choose items that fit in with your existing decor.

      7. Let it Shine: Keep the area around the clock uncluttered so it can stand out on its own.

      8. Personalize: Add a personal touch by displaying family photos or other mementos nearby.

        With these simple tips, you can create a stylish and inviting space with a Mora clock as the centerpiece.

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