Mechanical Clocks

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A Mechanical Clock is one that is powered by a mechanical means (spring, coiled spring or falling weights). The mechanical clock is made from simple mechanical (not electrical) components. The precision of a mechanical clock depends largely on how well it is constructed (engingeering of its components). The mechanical clocks are basically all clocks that are not electrical, such as grandfather, cuckoo, grandmother, etc.... any clock the needs to be wound up.

The mechnical clocks truely have claim to the greatest (longest, most progressive) influence in clock history. The original mechanical clocks appeared sometime in the 1300's. These clocks were large affairs (housed in churches and the like) that used falling weights as power supplies, and chimed a bell at given intervals instead of displaying time on a clock face. The early clocks were also sometimes powered by springs.

Mechanical clocks took a giant progressive step forward in 1490 when the coiled main spring was invented. The coiled main spring was utilized as a power source for clocks, which enabled much smaller clocks to be made. Clocks such as the mantel and desktop clocks started to appear and the watch come into existance because of this progressive step. The mechanical clock then took another big step in 1656 when the first pendulum clock was built. The pendulum clock took the art of recording/displaying time from only being accurate to within fifteen minutes per day to being accurate to within one minute per day.

Not all mechanical clocks were made with pendulums, as pendulums do not work on ships/boats, and both the pendulum and the non pendulum clocks steadily improved as engineering methods progressed. Both the pendulum and non pendulum versions of the mechanical clock are still being made to this day.

There are many different mechanical clocks, and it is not appropiate to try and explain their differences here, but they all do have similar setups. The mechanical clock has given us the enduring association of tick tock with clocks (and watches). The mechanical clock is also a fascinating study into the progression of the industrial age, as the progress of the clock and watch closely describe the changing faces of the industrial age (from large bulky, through greater and greater levels of refinement, precision and miniturization).

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