Although the oldest clock is already thousands of years old in the form of a water clock or sundial, we saw a rapid development of clocks in the last 800 years.
We have identified 8 crucial developments since the first mechanical tower clock.
1275 – The mechanical tower clock
The first mechanical clock was made in 1275 and was made in Italy.
1656 – Pendulum
The Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens invented the pendulum. This had a huge impact as the pendulum was a crucial component of many clocks that were built from that moment onward. He described his research in various works.
1671 – Anchor escapement
In hindsight a logical follow-up from the breakthrough by Huygens is the anchor escapement design. This design works together with the pendulum. In every swing the anchor escapement causes the pendulum to get a little push. Besides that it also helps the clock’s hand to move.
1674 – Balance spring
The third big discovery in 2 decades is again by Huygens, who was an important pioneer in the world of clocks in the 17th century. He invented the balance spring. The balance spring helps the balance wheel to oscillate with a resonant frequency. You can find more information on how a balance spring works on Wikipedia.
1761 – Chronometer
It took almost a century before the next invention moves the world of clock making. In 1761 John Harrison invented the H1 ships chronometer. As people were traveling a lot by ships, it was important to have an accurate idea of the time at various locations. This breakthrough invention helped overcome that challenge. An overview of available antique chronometers for sale can be found online.
1840 – Electric clock
At the end of the industrial era Alexander Bain invented and patented the first electric clock. In the first patended design the pendulum is kept moving forward by electromagnetic pulses. Antique electric clocks can also be found in our assortment.
1929 – Quartz Clock
Getting closer to modern clocks, the design of the quartz clock by W.A. Morison. This invention is used in most timekeepers of the modern era.
1948 – Atomic Clock
The atomic clock is the most precise timekeeper mankind knows and is used for various standards.