The three oldest significant clock inventions

The history of the clock can go back many thousand of years. The origin of the first clock is debatable as the sun was used to create timekeeping devices.

A major breakthrough however was the first mechanical tower clock, which was made in Italy in 1275.

It took over nearly 4 more centuries before the second significant invention took place. In 1656 Christiaan Huygens invented the pendulum which changed the clocks as we know them today. He didn’t just invent the pendulum, but he was also the first to derive the formula for the period of the pendulum. His researched was combined and published in 1673 in his work “Horologium Oscillatorium sive de motu pendulorum”.

The third invention followed Huygens’ discovery quite quickly. Only 15 years later Robert Hooke or William Clement came up with the anchor escapement. The design of the escapement looks simple, but the detail is in the simplicity. This invention works well together with the pendulum as it maintains the swing of the pendulum giving it a push each swing. The wheels of the escapement also help the clock’s hand to move forward.

An overview of antique clocks can be found in our online shop or in our store located in Perth, Western Australia.