The 17th Century
The first designs were very basic and were made for a purpose and not to be decorative in any way. Over time the designs evolved and the first recognisable longcase clocks were being made by makers like Edward East and Fromanteel during the 1670s. These cases were very slender in design, made principally of oak or pine and veneered in fruitwood which was then ebonised to create a black polished finish.
Almost all of these early clocks were of 30 hour duration but the 8 day and month duration longcase clocks followed very closely. There were even some made that were of year duration. These clocks are very rare and were made by the famous makers of the time such as Quare and Tompion who were working from the 1680?s. A number of longcase clocks by these makers are in the Royal collection.
The first type of dial used for the longcase clock was the square brass dial (separate chapter ring and brass spandrels to the corners) used approximately between the 1670s to 1730. As more features were required the dials were made with an arch to the top (shallow at first) which would contain features such as strike/silent, phases of the moon, date and time regulation. Sometimes just the name of the maker was shown. The wood being used at this period was mainly walnut veneered oak, ebonised and marquetry.