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The Beauty Of An Antique Clock

February 20, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 168

Nowadays, in this fast paced, busy and stressful age we take knowing the time for granted. The emphasis, certainly in the western world, is on time. We live our lives by the clock. Appointments are made, transport systems are run and and our working days are divided into manageable and specific chunks of time. However, our ancestors lived their lives in a massively different way, and for them, telling the time was of a far lesser significance.

That being said however, the human race is nothing if not resourceful and inquisitive and so it was inevitable that our forefathers would develop ways of telling the time. In the darkest recesses of human history there are records of the sundial being used as an instrument of time measurement. Indeed there are numerous mentions of sundials throughout the Old Testament. We are certainly aware of their use in ancient civilisations such as the Greeks, Egyptians and Babylonians.

So the sundial, as rudimentary as it most definitely is, remained the most common method of time keeping up until the invention of mechanical clocks in the 13th century. Other time keeping methods had come and gone, the early saxons with their candle clocks and of course the ancient Egyptians with the water clocks of around 1400 BC but it wasn't until the middle ages that timekeeping became a real necessity of modern living and an industry was born. The word clock was first used around this time and it is derived from the latin word for bell "Clocca"

The exact details of who invented the first mechanical clock and indeed where and when is not known. What is beyond doubt though is that the oldest working mechanical clock still in use today is situated at Salisbury Cathedral and dates from 1386. Interestingly it has no dial and only chimes the hours. In fact all early mechanical clocks had no face and were actually set using a sundial. As a result of this the accuracy and reliability of the early clocks was a bit hit and miss!

It took the invention of the pendulum clock to really start to see some improvements in accuracy. Where mechanical clocks had previously been accurate to within about half an hour a day they were now telling the time to within a loss or gain of about a minute or so. The onset of the pendulum clock is the direct forerunner to the development of todys ultra scientific atomic clocks, accurate to a billionth of a second and bearing absolutely no resemblance to the clocks of yesteryear.

It was around the late 16th century that Galileo, for whom we have so much to be thankful for, came up with the idea, although he would die before it ever came to fruition, of a pendulum clock. He observed a lamp hanging from a long chain swinging from a cathedral ceiling. He surmised that each swing was of equal measure and had a rate of motion that was entirely dependent on the length of the chain or pendulum. Some 50 years later he designed a mechanism which incorporated this swing and the concept of the pendulum clock was born. Following Galileos death it fell upon the renowned clock maker Christian Huygens to build a clock mechanism incorporating a pendulum that would keep time and provide all clock and watchmakers with the template they still use today.

Some 400 years on and the joy and beauty of a wonderfully crafted antique pendulum clock is still there for all to see. There can be no more relaxing sound than that of a pendulum swinging in perfect time and beating out the rhythms of the day. Of course there are more accurate ways of telling the time, but lets be honest here. Do you really need to divide your day into a billionth of a second? If the answer is no then you should treat yourself to a beautiful antique clock and bring some real joy into the lives of those around you.

Jim Ryan is proud to be associated with the guys at the number 1 resource for Antique Clocks

Source: EzineArticles
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