Did you know that “grandfather clocks” are named after the song “My Grandfather’s Clock”?
In the 19th century, floor-standing clocks were known as “longcase clocks” and were generally not very accurate. But one particular clock, in the George Hotel in Yorkshire, was exceptionally accurate. The hotel was owned by two Jenkins brothers. When one of the brothers died, the clock mysteriously began losing time. When the second brother died, the clock stopped altogether.
Henry Clay Work was an abolitionist who had served a term in prison for freeing slaves. On his release, he took up writing songs. In 1875, while staying at the George Hotel, he heard the story of the clock and wrote the song.
The popularity of the song led to longcase clocks being nicknamed “grandfather clocks”.