Table clock from 1690
Table clock from 1690 Image published with the authorization of the Canadian Museum of History

The appellation table clock is ancient. It designated the drum or square or hexagonal shape small brass or iron clock with four little feet and the dial on top, very common from the 15th century to the 18th. Illustrated, a Jacob Mayr table clock from Augsburg, Germany, c. 1690.
The term should be reserved for these small clocks. According to Oxford Dictionary, a table is “a piece of furniture with a flat top and one or more legs, providing a level surface on which objects may be placed, and that can be used for such purposes as eating, writing, working, or playing games.” So, the table being a specific type of furniture, we should not call table clocks any clock that can be placed on a piece of furniture. The generic term Furniture clock is a lot better. If necessary, one can be more specific if faced with a mantle, bracket, or buffet clock, for example.

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