Clock Basics
    The Basic Way a Clock Works

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Which Clocks - Discount grandfather, wall, mantel clock sales and information
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All clocks (and watches) are constructed along the following basic lines. They have a power supply, a time dividing mechanism, a gearing mechanism, and a display of some kind. These four parts of the clock are made differently between an electric clock and a mechanical clock, but both types of clocks still have these components.

Power Supply
  • For mechanical clocks, the power supply can be one of several options, (which have all been used in different clocks), falling weights, springs or the coiled main spring.
  • For electric clocks, the power supply is either a battery or mains power.

Time Dividing Mechanism
  • For mechanical clocks, the time dividing mechanism is often called the escarpment, which consists of a pallet fork, balance wheel and a pendulum or regulating device. It is the pallet fork rotating the balance wheel that makes the tick tock sound of clocks and watches.
  • For electric clocks, time is divided by a quartz resonator (vibrating quartz crystal), an electronic tunning fork, or vibrating cesinum atoms (for an atomic clock). Some clocks that use power mains for the power supply also count the oscillations in the power source to split time with.

Gearing Mechanism
  • Mechanical clocks use interconnected gears to convert the divided time into correct units for advancing the clock hands.
  • Electric clocks use a counter (integrated circuit component) to do this gearing function.

Time Display
  • Mechanical clocks use hands and dial face to display time.
  • Electric clocks can use either hands and dial face or a digital display to display time.

While there are still other variations not covered, all clocks and watches work by using power to divide time to convert to display time as it is passing as accurately as their engineering precision will allow.

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