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The Tambour Clock for Timeless Elegance

Updated on September 27, 2011

Keeping Time and Enhancing Your Decor with a Tambour Clock

One of the most recognizable mantle clocks is the tambour clock. These elegant clocks have a rolled top and are a traditional style that's been popular for many generations.

Tambour clocks are available for nearly any budget. There are contemporary designs that are constructed primarily of metal which will suit even a modest budget. There are hardwood clocks that will warm any room and some that offer solid brass clock works which can become prized heirlooms. Some come with chimes and some don't, but always, they are exceptionally beautiful additions to any mantle, bookshelf, desk, or table top.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Tambour Clock

Modern tambour clocks are low maintenance. They should be placed away from excessive heat and humidity and dusted weekly.

If the clock you have needs winding, it is best to wind it before it stops running. Therefore, developing a regular weekly schedule is often best.

Any mechanical parts may need to be oiled occasionally, every two or three years to keep the clock in working order. It is best to do this as a preventative measure rather than waiting for the clock to fail.

When setting the time on these clocks, or nearly any clock for that matter, it is best to move the minute hand only. The hour hand will follow as each hour is passed. The hands should not be moved backwards.

Be sure to read and become familiar with any care and maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer.

If the glass face needs cleaned, simple glass cleaner can be sprayed on a soft cloth and rubbed on it to remove fingerprints and so forth.

New London

This handsome carved oak tambour clock from New London is elegant and stately. It features an off white face with black filigree hands, and roman numerals. It has a convex lens, polished brass bezel, and ornate bonnet and apron.

It offers the option of a two tone or single bell quartz chime which can be set to ring every quarter hour or only on the hour. The chime can be set for reduced volume or even silenced at night.

This clock measures 10.5" x 16" x 5.5" and looks attractive on nearly any mantle, bookcase, or table top. It operate with two C batteries.

Howard Miller

This gorgeous mantle clock from Howard Miller is one that will be passed down through the generations and treasured by each family. Constructed of hardwoods and veneers, it has a quality construction and finish. It has a hand rubbed Windsor Cherry finish with crotch mahogany and satinwood overlays accenting it on the front.

This tambour clock is key wound and has a triple chime which has a silence option. It features arch moulding and dentil moulding on the base with brass feet.


This Bulova model is a pretty design piece and an affordable option for those who love the look of a tambour clock on their mantel or table top. It has a white metal dial with black number and hands with a convex glass lens and gold tone polished bezel and accents. The wood casing has a warm walnut finish and the chime sounds a Westminster melody on the hour.

This tambour clock includes a brass engraving plate on the front so that it can be personalized. It measures 7" x 14.25" x 3.75" and operates with 3 AA batteries.

Weems and Plath

This lovely clock from Weems and Plath is perfect for a desk or bedside, particularly in a room or home with a nautical theme. It is made of North American hardwood and has a high gloss finish that will last for many years. It has a large brass bezel that will never tarnish or discolor and brass feet.

River City Tambour Clocks

The first of these tambour clocks from River City is a 9" tall item made of Alderwood with a cherry finish. It is radio controlled and will automatically adjust for Daylight Savings Time. It measures 9" x 19" 2.5" and runs off of a single AA battery.

The second item is a 10" clock made of hardwood with a rich cherry finish and adorned with wrap around moulding and burl spandrels. It has four chimes which can be silenced at night time. It comes with a 2 year warranty.

The final item is the same clock as the item above, complete with four chimes. However, this one features a warm oak finish.

More Howard Miller Tambour Clocks

The first item is a wrought iron design with a warm gray finish. It features an aged white dial with black Roman numerals, and serpentine hands. It sits atop a Windsor Cherry base and has a convex glass crystal cover. It features a Westminster chime that strikes on the hour as well as an auto shut off feature for nighttime.

The second tambour clock is made of hardwood and veneers with a black finish and brown undertones. The face features Arabic numerals and spade hands. It offers volume control as well as a choice of a Westminster or Beethoven's Ode to Joy chime with the option of nighttime shut off.

The third model features carved wood molding, convex glass, a hinged bezel with leaf and rosette patterns flanking it, an aged dial with roman numerals, and black spade hands. It's key wound and features a Westminster chime with a silence option. It measures 6.8" x 22" x 11.5" and uses durable bronze bushings.

The final chiming tambour clock adds decorative egg and dart molding wrapped around the base, an arched glass to top that allows a view of the solid brass clock movement, and rare olive ash burl on the front. It sits on four brass feet and measures 6.5" x 17.5" x 10.8".

Seth Thomas

Crafted from American hardwood and with a warm oak finish this tambour clock from Seth Thomas is another affordable option for a beautiful mantle clock. It features carved rope trim, a brass-tone bezel, and a roman dial. It has Quartz movement and 4/4 Westminster/Ava Maria chime that can be silenced or have the volume adjusted as desired.

It measures 11.25" x 18.25" x 4.5" and operate with two C batteries.


This is another pretty tambour mantle clock that will add a lot of charm to the room. This one from Hermle is another affordable option. It has Quartz movement and a dual chime. It also features an oak finish, beaded molding, and hand carved side appliques.

Metal Tambour Clocks

This first clock has a more modern feel. It features a white face with Roman numerals and a silver finish. It has Quartz movement and a protective cover on the bottom to prevent scratches on table or desk tops. It

This clock measures 4.92" x 11.02" x 2.56" and will be an attractive addition at bedside, on a desk or small mantle.

Another option for a contemporary tambour clock is this second item. It has a black metal finish with a white dial, and 3 hands. This elegantly designed clock measures 6.1" x 2.5" x 12.2" and operates on a single AA battery.


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    • John Holden profile image

      John Holden 7 years ago

      That style of clock in the UK is commonly known as a Napoleons hat. Still a popular style and very nostalgic as most of us baby boomers remember them from our grand parents parlours.

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 7 years ago

      I didn't realize this was a Tambour clock we have one handed down from one my Grandmothers - great information.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 7 years ago from South Africa

      Wow - have two similar clocks inherited from my parents. I shall have to treat them with more respect!

      Thanks so much for this info.

      Love and peace


    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 7 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      I always liked this type of clocks. Nice hub.

    • profile image

      Tony Payne 7 years ago

      I found one like the top picture in a dumpster at my storage units in Indiana a few years ago, it was still in good condition and worked as well. It's amazing what people throw out.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      My dad had a Seth Thomas like that. My brother has it now.

    • 4FoodSafety profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 7 years ago from Fontana, WI

      Awesome! My father gave me a clock just like this - never knew this information! Great Hub!