Clock
Replica of an ancient Chinese incense clock

A clock is an instrument used to indicate, keep, and co-ordinate time. The word clock is derived ultimately (via Dutch, Northern French, and Medieval Latin) from the Celtic words clagan and clocca meaning "bell". A silent instrument missing such a mechanism has traditionally been known as a timepiece.[1] In general usage today a "clock" refers to any device for measuring and displaying the time. Watches and other timepieces that can be carried on one's person are often distinguished from clocks.[2]

The clock is one of the oldest human inventions, meeting the need to consistently measure intervals of time shorter than the natural units: the day; the lunar month; and the year. Devices operating on several different physical processes have been used over the millennia, culminating in the clocks of today.

Contents

Sundials and other devices

The sundial, which measures the time of day by using the sun casting a shadow onto a cylindrical stone, was widely used in ancient times. A well-constructed sundial can measure local solar time with reasonable accuracy, and sundials continued to be used to monitor the performance of clocks until the modern era. However, its practical limitations—it requires the sun to shine and does not work at all during the night—encouraged the use of other techniques for measuring time.

Candle clocks and sticks of incense that burn down at approximately predictable speeds have also been used to estimate the passing of time. In an hourglass, fine sand pours through a tiny hole at a constant rate and indicates a predetermined passage of an arbitrary period of time.

Water clocks

A scale model of Su Song's Astronomical Clock Tower, built in 11th century Kaifeng, China. It was driven by a large waterwheel, chain drive, and escapement mechanism.

Water clocks, also known as clepsydrae (sg: clepsydra), along with the sundials, are possibly the oldest time-measuring instruments, with the only exceptions being the vertical gnomon and the day-counting tally stick.[3] Given their great antiquity, where and when they first existed is not known and perhaps unknowable. The bowl-shaped outflow is the simplest form of a water clock and is known to have existed in Babylon and in Egypt around the 16th century BC. Other regions of the world, including India and China, also have early evidence of water clocks, but the earliest dates are less certain. Some authors, however, write about water clocks appearing as early as 4000 BC in these regions of the world.[4]

Greek astronomer, Andronicus of Cyrrhus, supervised the construction of the Tower of the Winds in Athens in the 1st century B.C.[5]

The Greek and Roman civilizations are credited for initially advancing water clock design to include complex gearing,[6][dead link] which was connected to fanciful automata and also resulted in improved accuracy. These advances were passed on through Byzantium and Islamic times, eventually making their way back to Europe. Independently, the Chinese developed their own advanced water clocks(水鐘)in 725 A.D., passing their ideas on to Korea and Japan.

Automatic clock of al-Jazari, 14th century.

Some water clock designs were developed independently and some knowledge was transferred through the spread of trade. Pre-modern societies do not have the same precise timekeeping requirements that exist in modern industrial societies, where every hour of work or rest is monitored, and work may start or finish at any time regardless of external conditions. Instead, water clocks in ancient societies were used mainly for astrological reasons. These early water clocks were calibrated with a sundial. While never reaching the level of accuracy of a modern timepiece, the water clock was the most accurate and commonly used timekeeping device for millennia, until it was replaced by the more accurate pendulum clock in 17th century Europe.

Islamic civilization is credited with further advancing the accuracy of clocks with elaborate engineering. In 797 (or possibly 801), the Abbasid caliph of Baghdad, Harun al-Rashid, presented Charlemagne with an Asian Elephant named Abul-Abbas together with a "particularly elaborate example" of a water[7] clock.

An elephant clock in a manuscript by Al-Jazari (1206 AD) from The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices.[8]

In the 13th century, Al-Jazari, an engineer who worked for Artuqid king of Diyar-Bakr, Nasir al-Din, made numerous clocks of all shapes and sizes. The book described 50 mechanical devices in 6 categories, including water clocks. The most reputed clocks included the Elephant, Scribe and Castle clocks, all of which have been successfully reconstructed. As well as telling the time, these grand clocks were symbols of status, grandeur and wealth of the Urtuq State.[citation needed]

Early mechanical clocks

None of the first clocks survived from 13th century Europe, but various mentions in church records reveal some of the early history of the clock.

The word horologia (from the Greek ὡρα, hour, and λέγειν, to tell) was used to describe all these devices,[9] but the use of this word (still used in several Romance languages) for all timekeepers conceals from us the true nature of the mechanisms. For example, there is a record that in 1176 Sens Cathedral installed a ‘horologe’[citation needed] but the mechanism used is unknown. According to Jocelin of Brakelond, in 1198 during a fire at the abbey of St Edmundsbury (now Bury St Edmunds), the monks 'ran to the clock' to fetch water, indicating that their water clock had a reservoir large enough to help extinguish the occasional fire.[10]

A new mechanism

The word clock (from the Latin word clocca, "bell"), which gradually supersedes "horologe", suggests that it was the sound of bells which also characterized the prototype mechanical clocks that appeared during the 13th century in Europe.

Outside of Europe, the escapement mechanism had been known and used in medieval China, as the Song Dynasty horologist and engineer Su Song (1020–1101) incorporated it into his astronomical clock-tower of Kaifeng in 1088.[11][page needed] However, his astronomical clock and rotating armillary sphere still relied on the use of flowing water (i.e. hydraulics), while European clockworks of the following centuries shed this old method for a more efficient driving power of weights, in addition to the escapement mechanism.

A mercury clock, described in the Libros del saber, a Spanish work from AD 1277 consisting of translations and paraphrases of Arabic works, is sometimes quoted as evidence for Muslim knowledge of a mechanical clock. The first mercury powered automata clock was invented by Ibn Khalaf al-Muradi[12][13]

Between 1280 and 1320, there is an increase in the number of references to clocks and horologes in church records, and this probably indicates that a new type of clock mechanism had been devised. Existing clock mechanisms that used water power were being adapted to take their driving power from falling weights. This power was controlled by some form of oscillating mechanism, probably derived from existing bell-ringing or alarm devices. This controlled release of power - the escapement - marks the beginning of the true mechanical clock.

These mechanical clocks were intended for two main purposes: for signalling and notification (e.g. the timing of services and public events), and for modeling the solar system. The former purpose is administrative, the latter arises naturally given the scholarly interest in astronomy, science, astrology, and how these subjects integrated with the religious philosophy of the time. The astrolabe was used both by astronomers and astrologers, and it was natural to apply a clockwork drive to the rotating plate to produce a working model of the solar system.

Simple clocks intended mainly for notification were installed in towers, and did not always require faces or hands. They would have announced the canonical hours or intervals between set times of prayer. Canonical hours varied in length as the times of sunrise and sunset shifted. The more sophisticated astronomical clocks would have had moving dials or hands, and would have shown the time in various time systems, including Italian hours, canonical hours, and time as measured by astronomers at the time. Both styles of clock started acquiring extravagant features such as automata.

In 1283, a large clock was installed at Dunstable Priory; its location above the rood screen suggests that it was not a water clock[citation needed]. In 1292, Canterbury Cathedral installed a 'great horloge'. Over the next 30 years there are brief mentions of clocks at a number of ecclesiastical institutions in England, Italy, and France. In 1322, a new clock was installed in Norwich, an expensive replacement for an earlier clock installed in 1273. This had a large (2 metre) astronomical dial with automata and bells. The costs of the installation included the full-time employment of two clockkeepers for two years[citation needed].

Early astronomical clocks

Richard of Wallingford pointing to a clock, his gift to St Albans Abbey

Besides the Chinese astronomical clock of Su Song in 1088 mentioned above, in Europe there were the clocks constructed by Richard of Wallingford in St Albans by 1336, and by Giovanni de Dondi in Padua from 1348 to 1364. They no longer exist, but detailed descriptions of their design and construction survive, [14] [15] and modern reproductions have been made[15]. They illustrate how quickly the theory of the mechanical clock had been translated into practical constructions, and also that one of the many impulses to their development had been the desire of astronomers to investigate celestial phenomena.

Wallingford's clock had a large astrolabe-type dial, showing the sun, the moon's age, phase, and node, a star map, and possibly the planets. In addition, it had a wheel of fortune and an indicator of the state of the tide at London Bridge. Bells rang every hour, the number of strokes indicating the time.[14]

Dondi's clock was a seven-sided construction, 1 metre high, with dials showing the time of day, including minutes, the motions of all the known planets, an automatic calendar of fixed and movable feasts, and an eclipse prediction hand rotating once every 18 years.[15]

It is not known how accurate or reliable these clocks would have been. They were probably adjusted manually every day to compensate for errors caused by wear and imprecise manufacture.

Water clocks are sometimes still used today, and can be examined in places such as ancient castles and museums.

The Salisbury Cathedral clock, built in 1386, is considered to be the world's oldest surviving mechanical clock that strikes the hours.[16]

Later developments

One of the first pocket watches, called "Nuremberg Egg", made around 1510 and attributed to Peter Henlein, (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg)

Clockmakers developed their art in various ways. Building smaller clocks was a technical challenge, as was improving accuracy and reliability. Clocks could be impressive showpieces to demonstrate skilled craftsmanship, or less expensive, mass-produced items for domestic use. The escapement in particular was an important factor affecting the clock's accuracy, so many different mechanisms were tried.

Spring-driven clocks appeared during the 15th century,[17][18][19] although they are often erroneously credited to Nuremberg watchmaker Peter Henlein (or Henle, or Hele) around 1511.[20][21][22] The earliest existing spring driven clock is the chamber clock given to Peter the Good, Duke of Burgundy, around 1430, now in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum.[18] Spring power presented clockmakers with a new problem: how to keep the clock movement running at a constant rate as the spring ran down. This resulted in the invention of the stackfreed and the fusee in the 15th century, and many other innovations, down to the invention of the modern going barrel in 1760.

Early clock dials did not use minutes and seconds. A clock with a dial indicating minutes was illustrated in a 1475 manuscript by Paulus Almanus,[23] and some 15th-century clocks in Germany indicated minutes and seconds.[24] An early record of a second hand on a clock dates back to about 1560 on a clock now in the Fremersdorf collection.[citation needed] However, this clock could not have been accurate, and the second hand was probably for indicating that the clock was working.

During the 15th and 16th centuries, clockmaking flourished, particularly in the metalworking towns of Nuremberg and Augsburg, and in Blois, France. Some of the more basic table clocks have only one time-keeping hand, with the dial between the hour markers being divided into four equal parts making the clocks readable to the nearer 15 minutes. Other clocks were exhibitions of craftsmanship and skill, incorporating astronomical indicators and musical movements. The cross-beat escapement was invented in 1584 by Jost Bürgi, who also developed the remontoire. Bürgi's clocks were a great improvement in accuracy as they were correct to within a minute a day.[25][26] These clocks helped the 16th-century astronomer Tycho Brahe to observe astronomical events with much greater precision than before.

A mechanical weight-driven astronomical clock with a verge-and-foliot escapement, a striking train of gears, an alarm, and a representation of the moon's phases was described by the Ottoman engineer Taqi al-Din in his book, The Brightest Stars for the Construction of Mechanical Clocks (Al-Kawākib al-durriyya fī wadh' al-bankāmat al-dawriyya), published in 1556-1559.[27] Similarly to earlier 15th-century European alarm clocks,[28][29] it was capable of sounding at a specified time, achieved by placing a peg on the dial wheel. At the requested time, the peg activated a ringing device. The clock had three dials which indicated hours, degrees and minutes. He later made an observational clock for the Istanbul observatory of Taqi al-Din (1577–1580), describing it as "a mechanical clock with three dials which show the hours, the minutes, and the seconds." This was an important innovation in 16th-century practical astronomy, as at the start of the century clocks were not accurate enough to be used for astronomical purposes.[30]

French rococo bracket clocks, (Museum of Time, Besançon)

The next development in accuracy occurred after 1656 with the invention of the pendulum clock. Galileo had the idea to use a swinging bob to regulate the motion of a time-telling device earlier in the 17th century. Christiaan Huygens, however, is usually credited as the inventor. He determined the mathematical formula that related pendulum length to time (99.38 cm or 39.13 inches for the one second movement) and had the first pendulum-driven clock made. In 1670, the English clockmaker William Clement created the anchor escapement,[citation needed] an improvement over Huygens' crown escapement[citation needed]. Within just one generation, minute hands and then second hands were added.

A major stimulus to improving the accuracy and reliability of clocks was the importance of precise time-keeping for navigation. The position of a ship at sea could be determined with reasonable accuracy if a navigator could refer to a clock that lost or gained less than about 10 seconds per day. This clock could not contain a pendulum, which would be virtually useless on a rocking ship. Many European governments offered a large prize for anyone who could determine longitude accurately; for example, Great Britain offered 20,000 pounds, equivalent to millions of dollars today. The reward was eventually claimed in 1761 by John Harrison, who dedicated his life to improving the accuracy of his clocks. His H5 clock was in error by less than 5 seconds over 10 weeks.[31]

The excitement over the pendulum clock had attracted the attention of designers, resulting in a proliferation of clock forms. Notably, the longcase clock (also known as the grandfather clock) was created to house the pendulum and works. The English clockmaker William Clement is also credited with developing this form in 1670 or 1671. It was also at this time that clock cases began to be made of wood and clock faces to utilize enamel as well as hand-painted ceramics.

French decimal clock from the time of the French Revolution

On November 17, 1797, Eli Terry received his first patent for a clock. Terry is known as the founder of the American clock-making industry.

Alexander Bain, Scottish clockmaker, patented the electric clock in 1840. The electric clock's mainspring is wound either with an electric motor or with an electro-magnet and armature. In 1841, he first patented the electromagnetic pendulum.

The development of electronics in the 20th century led to clocks with no clockwork parts at all. Time in these cases is measured in several ways, such as by the vibration of a tuning fork, the behaviour of quartz crystals, or the quantum vibrations of atoms. Even mechanical clocks have since come to be largely powered by batteries, removing the need for winding.

How clocks work

The invention of the mechanical clock in the 13th century initiated a change in timekeeping methods from continuous processes, such as the motion of the gnomon's shadow on a sundial or the flow of liquid in a water clock, to repetitive oscillatory processes, like the swing of a pendulum or the vibration of a quartz crystal, which were more accurate.[32] All modern clocks use oscillation.

Although the methods they use vary, all oscillating clocks, mechanical and digital and atomic, work similarly and can be divided into analogous parts.[33][34][35] They consist of an object that repeats the same motion over and over again, an oscillator, with a precisely constant time interval between each repetition, or 'beat'. Attached to the oscillator is a controller device, which sustains the oscillator's motion by replacing the energy it loses to friction, and converts its oscillations into a series of pulses. The pulses are then added up in a chain of some type of counters to express the time in convenient units, usually seconds, minutes, hours, etc. Then finally some kind of indicator displays the result in a human-readable form.

Power source

This provides power to keep the clock going.

Since clocks must run continuously, there is often a small secondary power source to keep the clock going temporarily during interruptions in the main power. In old mechanical clocks, a maintaining power spring kept the clock turning while the mainspring was being wound. In quartz clocks that use AC power, a small backup battery is often included to keep the clock running if it is unplugged temporarily from the wall.

Oscillator

The timekeeping element in every modern clock is a harmonic oscillator, a physical object (resonator) that vibrates or oscillates repetitively at a precisely constant frequency.[36]

The advantage of a harmonic oscillator over other forms of oscillator is that it employs resonance to vibrate at a precise natural resonant frequency or 'beat' dependent only on its physical characteristics, and resists vibrating at other rates. The possible precision achievable by a harmonic oscillator is measured by a parameter called its Q,[38][39] or quality factor, which increases (other things being equal) with its resonant frequency.[40] This is why there has been a long term trend toward higher frequency oscillators in clocks. Balance wheels and pendulums always include a means of adjusting the rate of the timepiece. Quartz timepieces sometimes include a rate screw that adjusts a capacitor for that purpose. Atomic clocks are primary standards, and their rate cannot be adjusted.

Synchronized or slave clocks

Some clocks rely for their accuracy on an external oscillator; that is, they are automatically synchronized to a more accurate clock:

  • Slave clocks, used in large institutions and schools from the 1860s to the 1970s, kept time with a pendulum, but were wired to a master clock in the building, and periodically received a signal to synchronize them with the master, often on the hour.[41] Later versions without pendulums were triggered by a pulse from the master clock and certain sequences used to force rapid synchronization following a power failure.
  • Synchronous electric clocks don't have an internal oscillator, but rely on the 50 or 60 Hz oscillation of the AC power line, which is synchronized by the utility to a precision oscillator. This drives a synchronous motor in the clock which rotates once for every cycle of the line voltage, and drives the gear train.
  • Computer real time clocks keep time with a quartz crystal, but are periodically (usually weekly) synchronized over the internet to atomic clocks (UTC), using a system called Network Time Protocol.
  • Radio clocks keep time with a quartz crystal, but are periodically (often daily) synchronized to atomic clocks (UTC) with time signals from government radio stations like WWV, WWVB, CHU, DCF77 and the GPS system.

Controller

This has the dual function of keeping the oscillator running by giving it 'pushes' to replace the energy lost to friction, and converting its vibrations into a series of pulses that serve to measure the time.

  • In mechanical clocks, this is the escapement, which gives precise pushes to the swinging pendulum or balance wheel, and releases one gear tooth of the escape wheel at each swing, allowing all the clock's wheels to move forward a fixed amount with each swing.
  • In electronic clocks this is an electronic oscillator circuit that gives the vibrating quartz crystal or tuning fork tiny 'pushes', and generates a series of electrical pulses, one for each vibration of the crystal, which is called the clock signal.
  • In atomic clocks the controller is an evacuated microwave cavity attached to a microwave oscillator controlled by a microprocessor. A thin gas of cesium atoms is released into the cavity where they are exposed to microwaves. A laser measures how many atoms have absorbed the microwaves, and an electronic feedback control system called a phase locked loop tunes the microwave oscillator until it is at the exact frequency that causes the atoms to vibrate and absorb the microwaves. Then the microwave signal is divided by digital counters to become the clock signal.[42]

In mechanical clocks, the low Q of the balance wheel or pendulum oscillator made them very sensitive to the disturbing effect of the impulses of the escapement, so the escapement had a great effect on the accuracy of the clock, and many escapement designs were tried. The higher Q of resonators in electronic clocks makes them relatively insensitive to the disturbing effects of the drive power, so the driving oscillator circuit is a much less critical component.[36]

Counter chain

This counts the pulses and adds them up to get traditional time units of seconds, minutes, hours, etc. It usually has a provision for setting the clock by manually entering the correct time into the counter.

  • In mechanical clocks this is done mechanically by a gear train, known as the wheel train. The gear train also has a second function; to transmit mechanical power from the power source to run the oscillator. There is a friction coupling called the 'cannon pinion' between the gears driving the hands and the rest of the clock, allowing the hands to be turned by a knob on the back to set the time.[43]
  • In digital clocks a series of integrated circuit counters or dividers add the pulses up digitally, using binary logic. Often pushbuttons on the case allow the hour and minute counters to be incremented and decremented to set the time.

Indicator

This displays the count of seconds, minutes, hours, etc. in a human readable form.

  • The earliest mechanical clocks in the 13th century didn't have a visual indicator and signalled the time audibly by striking bells. Many clocks to this day are striking clocks which strike the hour.
  • Analog clocks, including almost all mechanical and some electronic clocks, have a traditional dial or clock face, that displays the time in analog form with a moving hour and minute hand. In quartz clocks with analog faces, a 1 Hz signal from the counters actuates a stepper motor which moves the second hand forward at each pulse, and the minute and hour hands are moved by gears from the shaft of the second hand.
  • Digital clocks display the time in periodically changing digits on a digital display.
  • Talking clocks and the speaking clock services provided by telephone companies speak the time audibly, using either recorded or digitally synthesized voices.

Types

Clocks can be classified by the type of time display, as well as by the method of timekeeping.

Time display methods

Analog clocks

A linear clock at London's Piccadilly Circus tube station. The 24 hour band moves across the static map, keeping pace with the apparent movement of the sun above ground, and a pointer fixed on London points to the current time

Analog clocks usually indicate time using angles. The most common clock face uses a fixed numbered dial or dials and moving hand or hands. It usually has a circular scale of 12 hours, which can also serve as a scale of 60 minutes, and 60 seconds if the clock has a second hand. Many other styles and designs have been used throughout the years, including dials divided into 6, 8, 10, and 24 hours. The only other widely used clock face today is the 24 hour analog dial, because of the use of 24 hour time in military organizations and timetables. The 10-hour clock was briefly popular during the French Revolution, when the metric system was applied to time measurement, and an Italian 6 hour clock was developed in the 18th century, presumably to save power (a clock or watch striking 24 times uses more power).

Another type of analog clock is the sundial, which tracks the sun continuously, registering the time by the shadow position of its gnomon. Sundials use some or part of the 24 hour analog dial. There also exist clocks which use a digital display despite having an analog mechanism—these are commonly referred to as flip clocks.

Alternative systems have been proposed. For example, the Twelv clock indicates the current hour using one of twelve colors, and indicates the minute by showing a proportion of a circular disk, similar to a moon phase.

Digital clocks

Digital clock outside Kanazawa Station displaying the time by controlling valves on a fountain
Basic digital clock radio
Cell phone display including a clock
A typical Deutsche Bahn Train station clock
John Harrison's Chronometer H5

Digital clocks display a numeric representation of time. Two numeric display formats are commonly used on digital clocks:

  • the 24-hour notation with hours ranging 00–23;
  • the 12-hour notation with AM/PM indicator, with hours indicated as 12AM, followed by 1AM–11AM, followed by 12PM, followed by 1PM–11PM (a notation mostly used in the United States and Canada).

Most digital clocks use an LCD, LED, or VFD display; many other display technologies are used as well (cathode ray tubes, nixie tubes, etc.). After a reset, battery change or power failure, digital clocks without a backup battery or capacitor either start counting from 12:00, or stay at 12:00, often with blinking digits indicating that the time needs to be set. Some newer clocks will actually reset themselves based on radio or Internet time servers that are tuned to national atomic clocks. Since the advent of digital clocks in the 1960s, the use of analog clocks has declined significantly.

Auditory clocks

For convenience, distance, telephony or blindness, auditory clocks present the time as sounds. The sound is either spoken natural language, (e.g. "The time is twelve thirty-five"), or as auditory codes (e.g. number of sequential bell rings on the hour represents the number of the hour like the bell Big Ben). Most telecommunication companies also provide a speaking clock service as well.

Purposes

Clocks are in homes, offices and many other places; smaller ones (watches) are carried on the wrist; larger ones are in public places, e.g. a train station or church. A small clock is often shown in a corner of computer displays, mobile phones and many MP3 players.

The purpose of a clock is not always to display the time. It may also be used to control a device according to time, e.g. an alarm clock, a VCR, or a time bomb (see: counter). However, in this context, it is more appropriate to refer to it as a timer or trigger mechanism rather than strictly as a clock.

Computers depend on an accurate internal clock signal to allow synchronized processing. (A few research projects are developing CPUs based on asynchronous circuits.) Some computers also maintain time and date for all manner of operations whether these be for alarms, event initiation, or just to display the time of day. The internal computer clock is generally kept running by a small battery. Many computers will still function even if the internal clock battery is dead, but the computer clock will need to be reset each time the computer is restarted, since once power is lost, time is also lost.

Ideal clocks

An ideal clock is a scientific principle that measures the ratio of the duration of natural processes, and thus will give the time measure for use in physical theories.[citation needed] Therefore, to define an ideal clock in terms of any physical theory would be circular. An ideal clock is more appropriately defined in relationship to the set of all physical processes.

This leads to the following definitions:

  • A clock is a recurrent process and a counter.
  • A good clock is one which, when used to measure other recurrent processes, finds many of them to be periodic.
  • An ideal clock is a clock (i.e., recurrent process) that makes the most other recurrent processes periodic.

The recurrent, periodic process (e.g. a metronome) is an oscillator and typically generates a clock signal. Sometimes that signal alone is (confusingly) called "the clock", but sometimes "the clock" includes the counter, its indicator, and everything else supporting it.

This definition can be further improved by the consideration of successive levels of smaller and smaller error tolerances. While not all physical processes can be surveyed, the definition should be based on the set of physical processes which includes all individual physical processes which are proposed for consideration. Since atoms are so numerous and since, within current measurement tolerances they all beat in a manner such that if one is chosen as periodic then the others are all deemed to be periodic also, it follows that atomic clocks represent ideal clocks to within present measurement tolerances and in relation to all presently known physical processes. However, they are not so designated by fiat. Rather, they are designated as the current ideal clock because they are currently the best instantiation of the definition.

Navigation

Navigation by ships and planes depends on the ability to measure latitude and longitude. Latitude is fairly easy to determine through celestial navigation, but the measurement of longitude requires accurate measurement of time. This need was a major motivation for the development of accurate mechanical clocks. John Harrison created the first highly accurate marine chronometer in the mid-18th century. The Noon gun in Cape Town still fires an accurate signal to allow ships to check their chronometers.

Use of an atomic clock in radio signal producing satellites is fundamental to the operation of GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation devices.

Seismology

In determining the location of an earthquake, the arrival time of several types of seismic wave at a minimum of four dispersed observers is dependent upon each observer recording wave arrival times according to a common clock.

Specific types of clocks

By mechanism: By function: By style:

See also

Newsgroup

Notes

  1. ^ see Baillie et al., p. 307; Palmer, p. 19; Zea & Cheney, p. 172
  2. ^ "Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary". http://dictionary.cambridge.org/define.asp?key=14263&dict=CALD. Retrieved 2009-09-16. "a device for measuring and showing time, which is usually found in or on a building and is not worn by a person" 
  3. ^ Turner 1984, p. 1
  4. ^ Cowan 1958, p. 58
  5. ^ Tower of the Winds - Athens
  6. ^ The History of Clocks
  7. ^ James, Peter (1995). Ancient Inventions. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. p. 126. ISBN 0-345-40102-6. 
  8. ^ Ibn al-Razzaz Al-Jazari (ed. 1974), The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices. Translated and annotated by Donald Routledge Hill, Dordrecht/D. Reidel.
  9. ^ Smith, William (1875). A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. London: John Murray. pp. 615‑617. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/secondary/SMIGRA*/Horologium.html. 
  10. ^ The Chronicle of Jocelin of Brakelond, Monk of St. Edmundsbury: A Picture of Monastic and Social Life on the XIIth Century. London: Chatto and Windus. Translated and edited by L. C. Jane. 1910. 
  11. ^ History of Song 宋史, Vol. 340
  12. ^ Mario Taddei. "The Book of Secrets is coming to the world after a thousand years: Automata existed already in the eleventh century!". Leonardo3. http://www.leonardo3.net/leonardo/qma/img/Press_release_Secrets_UK.pdf. Retrieved 2010-03-31. 
  13. ^ Donald Routledge Hill (1991). "Arabic Mechanical Engineering: Survey of the Historical sources". Arabic Sciences and Philosophy: A Historical Journal (Cambridge University Press) 1: 167–186 [173]. doi:10.1017/S0957423900001478 
  14. ^ a b North, John. God's Clockmaker: Richard of Wallingford and the Invention of Time. London: Hambledon and London (2005).
  15. ^ a b c King, Henry "Geared to the Stars: the evolution of planetariums, orreries, and astronomical clocks", University of Toronto Press, 1978
  16. ^ Singer, Charles, et al. Oxford History of Technology: volume II, from the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution (OUP 1957)pg 650-1
  17. ^ Usher, Abbot Payson (1988). A History of Mechanical Inventions. Courier Dover. p. 305. ISBN 048625593X. http://books.google.com/?id=xuDDqqa8FlwC&pg=PA305. 
  18. ^ a b White, Lynn Jr. (1966). Medieval Technology and Social Change. New York: Oxford Univ. Press. pp. 126–127. ISBN 0195002660. 
  19. ^ Dohrn-van Rossum, Gerhar (1997). History of the Hour: Clocks and Modern Temporal Orders. Univ. of Chicago Press. p. 121. ISBN 0-226-15510-2. http://books.google.com/?id=53K32RiEigMC&pg=PA121. 
  20. ^ Milham, Willis I. (1945). Time and Timekeepers. New York: MacMillan. p. 121. ISBN 0780800087. 
  21. ^ "Clock". The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. 4. Univ. of Chicago. 1974. p. 747. ISBN 0852292902. http://books.google.com/books?as_brr=0&id=Eb0qAAAAMAAJ&dq=Peter+Henlein+mainspring&q=peter+Henlein&pgis=1#search. 
  22. ^ Anzovin, Steve; Podell, Janet (2000). Famous First Facts: A record of first happenings, discoveries, and inventions in world history. H.W. Wilson. p. 440. ISBN 0824209583. 
  23. ^ p. 529, "Time and timekeeping instruments", History of astronomy: an encyclopedia, John Lankford, Taylor & Francis, 1997, ISBN 081530322X.
  24. ^ Usher, Abbott Payson (1988). A history of mechanical inventions. Courier Dover Publications. p. 209. ISBN 048625593X. http://books.google.com/?id=xuDDqqa8FlwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=A+history+of+mechanical+inventions,+Abbott+Payson+Usher#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  25. ^ Lance Day and Ian McNeil, ed (1996). Biographical dictionary of the history of technology. Routledge (Routledge Reference). p. 116. ISBN 0-415-06042-7. http://books.google.com/?id=nqAOAAAAQAAJ&lpg=PP1&pg=PA116#v=onepage. 
  26. ^ Table clock c. 1650 attributed to Hans Buschmann that uses technical inventions by Jost Bürgi. The British Museum. http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/pe_mla/t/table_clock_attributed_to_hans.aspx. Retrieved 11 April 2010. 
  27. ^ Ahmad Y al-Hassan & Donald R. Hill: “Islamic Technology”, Cambridge 1986, ISBN 0-521-422396, p. 59
  28. ^ p. 249, The Grove encyclopedia of decorative arts, Gordon Campbell, vol. 1, Oxford University Press, 2006, ISBN 0195189485.
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  33. ^ Jespersen, James; Fitz-Randolph, Jane; Robb, John (1999). From Sundials to Atomic Clocks: Understanding Time and Frequency. New York: Courier Dover. p. 39. ISBN 0486409139. http://books.google.com/?id=Z7chuo4ebUAC&pg=PA42&dq=clock+resonance+pendulum. 
  34. ^ "How clocks work". InDepthInfo. W. J. Rayment. 2007. http://www.indepthinfo.com/clocks/index.shtml. Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
  35. ^ Milham, Willis I. (1945). Time and Timekeepers. New York: MacMillan. p. 74. ISBN 0780800087. 
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  37. ^ Milham, 1945, p.85
  38. ^ "Quality factor, Q". Glossary. Time and Frequency Division, NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). 2008. http://tf.nist.gov/general/enc-q.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-04. 
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  43. ^ Milham, 1945, p.113


References

  • Baillie, G.H., O. Clutton, & C.A. Ilbert. Britten’s Old Clocks and Watches and Their Makers (7th ed.). Bonanza Books (1956).
  • Bolter, David J. Turing's Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, N.C. (1984). ISBN 0-8078-4108-0 pbk. Very good, readable summary of the role of "the clock" in its setting the direction of philosophic movement for the "Western World". Cf. picture on p. 25 showing the verge and foliot. Bolton derived the picture from Macey, p. 20.
  • Bruton, Eric. The History of Clocks and Watches. London: Black Cat (1993).
  • Dohrn-van Rossum, Gerhard (1996). History of the Hour: Clocks and Modern Temporal Orders. Trans. Thomas Dunlap. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226155102. 
  • Edey, Winthrop. French Clocks. New York: Walker & Co. (1967).
  • Kak, Subhash, Ph.D. Babylonian and Indian Astronomy: Early Connections. February 17, 2003.
  • Kumar, Narendra "Science in Ancient India" (2004). ISBN 8126120568.
  • Landes, David S. Revolution in Time: Clocks and the Making of the Modern World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press (1983).
  • Landes, David S. Clocks & the Wealth of Nations, Daedalus journal, Spring 2003.
  • Lloyd, Alan H. “Mechanical Timekeepers”, A History of Technology, Vol. III. Edited by Charles Joseph Singer et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press (1957), pp. 648–675.
  • Macey, Samuel L., Clocks and the Cosmos: Time in Western Life and Thought, Archon Books, Hamden, Conn. (1980).
  • Needham, Joseph (2000) [1965]. Science & Civilisation in China, Vol. 4, Part 2: Mechanical Engineering. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521058031. 
  • North, John. God's Clockmaker: Richard of Wallingford and the Invention of Time. London: Hambledon and London (2005).
  • Palmer, Brooks. The Book of American Clocks, The Macmillan Co. (1979).
  • Robinson, Tom. The Longcase Clock. Suffolk, England: Antique Collector’s Club (1981).
  • Smith, Alan. The International Dictionary of Clocks. London: Chancellor Press (1996).
  • Tardy. French Clocks the World Over. Part I and II. Translated with the assistance of Alexander Ballantyne. Paris: Tardy (1981).
  • Yoder, Joella Gerstmeyer. Unrolling Time: Christiaan Huygens and the Mathematization of Nature. New York: Cambridge University Press (1988).
  • Zea, Philip, & Robert Cheney. Clock Making in New England – 1725-1825. Old Sturbridge Village (1992).

External links


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  • Clock — (kl[o^]k), n. [AS. clucge bell; akin to D. klok clock, bell, G. glocke, Dan. klokke, Sw. klocka, Icel. klukka bell, LL. clocca, cloca (whence F. cloche); al perh. of Celtic origin; cf. Ir. & Gael. clog bell, clock, W. cloch bell. Cf. {Cloak}.] 1 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Clock — (englisch: Uhr) steht für CLOCK, Circadian Locomotor Output Cycles Kaput, Gensequenz Clock (Lied), 1997 von Coal Chamber Clock (Band), The Clock, Comicfigur The Clock (OT, 1945) US Film, dt: Urlaub für die Liebe Clock (Restaurant), schwedische… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • clock — [klɒk ǁ klɑːk] verb clock in also clock on BrE phrasal verb [intransitive] to record on a special card the time you arrive at work or begin work: • I clock on at 8:30. clock off also …   Financial and business terms

  • Clock — est un groupe de post rock en français, originaire de Saint Étienne, il est formé depuis 2003. Sommaire 1 Composition 2 Historique 3 Influences 3.1 Littéraires …   Wikipédia en Français

  • clock — ► NOUN 1) an instrument that measures and indicates the time by means of a dial or a digital display. 2) informal a measuring device resembling a clock, such as a speedometer. ► VERB informal 1) attain or register (a specified time, distance, or… …   English terms dictionary

  • clock — clock1 [kläk] n. [ME clokke, orig., clock with bells < ML clocca, bell < Celt, as in OIr cloc (> OE clugge, OHG glocka), bell < ? IE base * kel , to cry out, sound > CLAMOR] 1. a device used for measuring and indicating time,… …   English World dictionary

  • Clock — (kl[o^]k), v. t. To ornament with figured work, as the side of a stocking. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Clock — Clock, v. t. & i. To call, as a hen. See {Cluck}. [R.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Clock — Clock, n. (Zo[ o]l.) A large beetle, esp. the European dung beetle ({Scarab[ae]us stercorarius}). [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • clock — kläk n BIOLOGICAL CLOCK * * * (klok) a device by which time may be measured …   Medical dictionary

  • clock — s.m.inv. ES ingl. {{wmetafile0}} TS inform. oscillatore interno della macchina operante con frequenza di diversi megahertz, che stabilisce la velocità di esecuzione delle istruzioni macchina {{line}} {{/line}} DATA: 1989. ETIMO: ingl. clock propr …   Dizionario italiano

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