Antiques & The Arts
Antique Clocks : How Antique Ticking Clocks Work

Antique Clocks : How Antique Ticking Clocks Work

This is going to be just a brief introduction
on how mechanical clocks work. You saw the folio in the last, in the last presentation.
Galileo, back in the1500’s, realized that a swinging pendulum, is probably a way to
get more accurate time keeping. He was sitting in church, and he noticed that a lantern in
the church was swinging back and forth. And he was timing it against his pulse, and he
realized that no matter how wide the arc of the swing of this lamp was, it went back and
forth in a regular, in a regular rhythm. And, he actually drew a clock out, thought of it,
but never built it. But, this, this theory was then applied later. And, we reduced the
error of time keeping from probably, you know, an hour a day to minutes or even seconds a
day as things got more accurate. You’re going to see this moving on the stand a few more
times as we go through this subject. But, this gives you some of the, basic understanding
of what’s happening here. Here’s our pendulum swinging back and forth. This is a striking
clock too, so you’ll see that once in awhile, it will do the striking as well. But, right
now, we’re just talking about the time keeping part. This pendulum is being powered by “so”,
your energy stored in this spring, that you would wind up once a week, translated back
through these gears, to just the right amount of energy to swing that pendulum back and
forth. And it’s swinging at a fixed rate, because the law of physics, as Galileo was
realizing, says that a pendulum of a certain length, swings at a fixed rate. And there’s
always a way to make your clock go faster or slower, by making the pendulum a little
bit longer or shorter. In this case, it adjusts from above, but many of you who have already
seen clocks, notice a little nut underneath the pendulum, which allows you to move it
up and down. So, we have basically a ticking machine here. You’ll see there’s no hands
on here, so you have no idea what time it is. But, really a clock is a ticking machine,
and until hands are applied, and the proper gearing is created, it’s just going to tick
along with your energy, but much more accurately than that earlier folio clock that we looked

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