The History of the Clock

I really don’t have a clue about the history of clocks .Who really cares anyway? Actually I shouldn’t be writing this article about clocks because you won’t learn much from me. Now time measurement and history interest me so I will expand on them .

I would have to say without too much fear of contradiction that the earliest clock is the one that starts at dawn and stops at sunset. Measurement of time is by observation of a shadow. Some guy came up with a round plate, stuck a pointy thing in the middle to cast a shadow and then drew lines on the plate according to where the shadow was cast to correspond with different times during the day.

Since most people got up at dawn and went to bed at sunset there wasn’t much call for this device. Some fellow called it a sundial for lack of a better name but no one really cared.Back then they were too busy working to be be “clock watchers” so as to speak and the sundial was too heavy to wear on the wrist. It would not have mattered if they did come up with a wrist sundial anyway as it only worked during daylight. It was just a useless toy on rainy days and after dark.One thing though it didn’t require watchmakers to change a battery every so often.

Most kitchens have egg timers. In the past these simple devices were a form of clock that didn’t rely on the sun for measurement of time. Anyone who has timed them against the passage of time with their wrist watch will know that they are inaccurate and allowance should be made for that. If you are relying on a four minute egg each time every time you will be disappointed. Depending on several things it will vary from day to day but that involves physics .Why is it so? Don’t ask me or Mr Miller. Find out for yourself.

Now with the invention of candles and the shortening of working hours from dawn to dusk there arose a need to tell the time without having to rely on the sun or upend a egg timer every four minutes. It was quite a problem until some guy noticed a lamp in a church oscillating.
“I have a cunning plan ” he must have thought .”Lets apply physics to time measurement.”
Where is the physics in a pendulum ? Don’t ask me or Mr Miller. Find out for yourself.

Anyway the pendulum gave birth to clocks and as precision improved so did the measurement of time. Clocks became smaller and smaller and combined with the invention of the battery and miniaturization the wrist watch was made possible.

Needless to say I have skipped over a lot of the history of the clock. I did say you wouldn’t learn much from me. Personally I am far more interested in Physics. Clocks measure time and physics relies so much on accurate measurement of time.

I do suppose you know about atomic clocks. How do they work? Don’t ask me or Mr Miller. Find out for yourself .I don’t really know much about clocks either.