Clocks

Clock History

Sundials

3500 BC

First sundials build in ancient Egypt after they were imported from Babylon, with many ancient structures were built to mark the passage of time and determine arrival of planting seasons and harvest times.

Stonehenge

2000 BC

The Stonehenge was built in Wiltshire, England to show the solstices and time of year. Stonehenge is aligned northeast-southwest, and it has been suggested that particular significance was placed by its builders on the solstice and equinox points, so for example on a midsummer's morning, the sun rose close to the Heel Stone, and the sun's first rays went directly into the center of the monument between the arms of the arrangement.

Candle Clock

1400 BC

Some cultures mark the passage of time by measuring time it takes to burn oil, incense and candles.

Proof of Sundial

742 BC

First archaeological proof of sun dial existence.

Transmission Gears

300 BC

First simple transmission gears created by Archimedes.

Hourglasses

300

Introduction of sand glass clocks.

Markings on Candles

885

Candle clocks now have markings to keep time. (Introduced in medieval Europe.)

Mechanical Water Clock

1092

First mechanical water clock created by Chinese innovator Su Sung.

Clock Makers in England

1368

First Mechanical Water Clock Makers in England

Mainspring

1490

Locksmith Peter Hele invented first mainspring in Nurnburg.

Table Clocks

1500 - 1540

Appearance of first small domestic (table) clocks.

Mechanical Watch

1510

The first mechanical watch's were created in German cities of Nuremberg by Peter Henlein. These models were either fastened to belts or carried around the neck and they measured only passage of hours.

Use of Screws

1540

Screws became used for clocks, enabling much smaller designs that kept time much better than first models.

Public Tower Clock

1541

First public tower clock fixed on one of the towers in Hampton Court Palace, England.

Minute Hand

1577

Jost Burgi invented the minute hand, even though 16th century clocks were very inaccurate.

Pendulum

1581

Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo discovered the properties of pendulum.

Geneva- Main city

1587

Geneva became home to the thriving watch making industry.

Glass Protection

1610

Introduction of protection glass on watches. This finally enabled reliable protection of time dials on the portable small watches.

Enamel Dials

1635

French inventor and clockmaker Paul Viet of Blois introduced first enamel dials.

Pendulum Clock

1657

Famous Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens created first pendulum controlled clock.

Pendulum clocks~upgrade

1671

Pendulum clocks received important upgrade with the introduction of pendulum suspension spring introduced by William Clement.

Jeweled Bearing

1704

Nicholas Facio managed to pierce rubies and sapphires, using them as a jeweled bearing for balance staff pivots.

Multiple inventions

1720 - 1729

Several important watch inventions - George Graham invented mercurial compensation pendulum and dead-beat escapement for clocks, John Harrison invented grid-iron compensation pendulum and George Graham invented the cylinder escapement.

Watches/clocks became more accurate

1760 - 1769

Enlightenment era in Europe brought many advances to clock mechanisms. Need for accurate maritime chronometers soon enabled ordinary and cheap watches to become very accurate. This accuracy can be attributed to the inventions of Pierre Le Roy and Thomas Earnshaw who introduced to the public temperature compensated balance wheel.

Electric Clock

1840

First electric clock was created by Edinburgh clockmaker Alexander Bain.

Time Zones

1880 - 1884

Standardization of time zones. England received GMT time zone with Greenwich becoming prime meridian for measuring longitude in entire world.

Modern Electric Clock

1895

First modern electric clock created by Frank Hope-Jones. This clock became base of all modern clocks that are created today.

Mass Production

1900 - 1999

Clocks and personal watches enter into mass production.

Radio Time Signals

1905

Radio time signals became transmitted from Washington DC to help ships find longitude on open seas.

Summertime

1916

Introduction of Summer Time.

Oscillations of Atoms

1945

Physicist Isador was first to suggest that oscillations of atoms (atomic-beam magnetic resonance) can be used to create extremely precise clocks.

Atomic Clock

1949

First atomic clock created by United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NITS).

Seconds

1967

Second is formally defined not through movements of celestial bodies but as 9,192,631,770 vibrations of the cesium atom.

Sales

1996 - 1999

Over half a billion watches are sold every year.

Time Periods

Before the Renaissance

3500 BC - 1299

During the Renaissance

1300 - 1600

After the Renaissance

1601 - 2013