Quartz Clocks

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A Quartz Clock has a quartz crystal that is made to vibrate by passing electricity through it. This vibration of a quartz crystal is very constant and the frequency of the vibrating crystal can be used as a mechanism to divide time. This oscillation of a quartz crystal is called the Piezoelectric effect, and the quartz crystal and the electric circuits within a clock are generally referred to as a quartz oscillator. The accuracey of the quartz clock was a vast improvmenet over the mechanical clock movements, (which still have friction, mechanical wear, and gearing to impede the movement and to effect their accuracey).

The first quartz clock was built by W.A.Morrison in 1927, using a natural quartz crystal. Although quartz crystal is vastly superior to the mechanical mechanisms of time dividing, a quartz crystals frequency is subject to size, shape and temperature. Therefore modern quartz crystals used in clocks are manufactured to precise requirements in labratories or factories. It should also be noted that although quartz crystals are very resilient, they are not immune from wearing, and eventually they do wear and deteriate in performance (albiet much slower than a mechanical clock mechanism). The atomic clock movement does cicumvent this short comming (wearing) of the quartz crystal movement.

The quartz movement is very inexpensive, and highly accurate, and due to these two factors it has changed the clock making industry in the twentieth century. (Watch industry too) Most clock mechanisms now days are quartz crystal movements, which is testament to how influentual the quartz clock has become in both the clock and watch making industries. While the mechanical clock held sway over the industry from the 1300's to the mid 1900's, the quartz clock now holds sway, but for how long?

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