A clockwork is the inner workings of either a mechanical clock or a device that operates in a similar fashion. Specifically, the term refers to a mechanical device utilizing a complex series of gears.
Often power for the device is stored within it, via a winding device that applies mechanical stress to an energy-storage mechanism such as a mainspring, thus involving some form of escapement; in other cases, hand power may be utilized. The use of wheels, whether linked by friction or gear teeth, to redirect motion or gain speed or torque, is typical; many clockworks have been constructed primarily to serve as visible or implicit tours de force of mechanical ingenuity in this area. Sometimes clocks and timing mechanisms are used to set off explosives, timers, alarms and many other devices.
The most common examples are mechanical clocks – hence the name. Others include:
- Toys - often as a simple mechanical motor, or to create automata. These may be either key-wound, or a simpler pullback motor.
- Most leaf shutters use a clockwork mechanism not unlike that of wristwatches to time the opening and closing of the shutter blades.
- Mechanisms to turn the lens of lighthouses before electric motors.
- Babbage's difference and analytical engines, and simpler mechanical calculators.
- Astronomical models, such as orreries whose history spans hundreds of years.
- Music boxes, which were very popular during the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th.
- Almost all phonographs built before the 1930s.
- Low-powered electrical equipment, such as a clockwork radio, where an energy-storing spring accounting for much of the size and weight of the device spins a much smaller electric generator; such equipment is very popular where batteries and mains power (house current) are scarce.
- The Antikythera mechanism, an ancient clockwork calculator
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Look at other dictionaries:
clockwork — ► NOUN ▪ a mechanism with a spring and toothed gearwheels, used to drive a mechanical clock, toy, or other device. ● like clockwork Cf. ↑like clockwork … English terms dictionary
clockwork — [kläk′wʉrk΄] n. 1. the mechanism of a clock 2. any similar mechanism, consisting of springs and geared wheels, as in some mechanical toys like clockwork very regularly, precisely, and evenly … English World dictionary
Clockwork — Clock work ( w[^u]rk ), n. The machinery of a clock, or machinery resembling that of a clock; machinery which produces regularity of movement. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
clockwork — 1660s, mechanism of a clock, from CLOCK (Cf. clock) (n.) + WORK (Cf. work) (n.). Figurative sense of anything of unvarying regularity is recorded earlier (1620s) … Etymology dictionary
clockwork — [n] being on time; precision accuracy, consistency, perfect timing, regularity, smoothness; concept 818 … New thesaurus
clockwork — clock|work [ˈklɔk wə:k US ˈkla:k wə:rk] n [U] 1.) BrE clockwork toys, trains, soldiers etc have machinery inside them that makes them move when you turn a key ▪ mechanical toys powered by clockwork ▪ The tape was driven by a clockwork motor. 2.)… … Dictionary of contemporary English
clockwork — noun (U) 1 clockwork toys, trains, soldiers etc have machinery inside them to make them move when you turn a key 2 go like clockwork if something you have arranged goes like clockwork, it happens in exactly the way you planned: The concert went… … Longman dictionary of contemporary English
Clockwork — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar … Wikipedia Español
clockwork — [[t]klɒ̱kwɜː(r)k[/t]] 1) ADJ: ADJ n A clockwork toy or device has machinery inside it which makes it move or operate when it is wound up with a key. ...a clockwork train set. 2) PHRASE: PHR after v If you say that something happens like clockwork … English dictionary
clockwork — n. (misc.) to work like clockwork ( to work perfectly ); as regular as clockwork ( completely regular ) * * * [ klɒkwɜːk] as regular as clockwork ( completely regular ) (misc.) to work like clockwork ( to work perfectly ) … Combinatory dictionary