The History of Pendulum Clocks
The pendulum clock is one of the most recognisable types of clocks. Invented in 1656 by Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens, the clock became fundamental to timekeeping leading to widespread use. The pendulum clock was the world’s most precious timekeeper between 1965-1930s. The clock also served as the primary time standard for scheduling daily life, work shifts and public transportation throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Pendulum clocks were however more than just timekeepers, serving as status symbols with the style and type of clock forming a reflection of their owner’s wealth.
The evolution of the style of pendulum clocks was influenced by time and geography, with traditional styles forming in different countries. Case styles were often a reflection of furniture styles during that period allowing experts to frequently be able to guess when the clock was made within a few decades.
The home pendulum clock was replaced by cheaper synchronous electric clocks in the 1930s and ‘40s and they are now kept mostly for their decorative and antique value.
How Pendulum Clocks Work
Pendulum clocks consist only of mechanical parts that function in absolute harmony to tell accurate time. The pendulum is a rod hanging vertically from its tip end that swings from side to side due to the force of gravity. It is the pendulum that keeps the clock accurate to the second. As discovered by Galileo Galilei, the success of the clock is that the pendulum always takes the same amount of time to make one complete swing.
Pendulum clocks must be stationary to operate; any motion or accelerations will affect the motion of the pendulum, causing inaccuracies.
The mechanism which runs a mechanical clock is called the movement.
The time indicating system is almost always the traditional dial with moving hour and minute hands. Many clocks also have a small third hand, indicating seconds on a subsidiary dial.
Pendulum clocks are usually designed to be set by opening the glass face cover and manually pushing the minute hand around the dial to the correct time
Types of Pendulum Clocks
Some of the different style of pendulum clocks include:
- Cuckoo clock
- Master clock
- Anniversary clock
- Grandfather clock
- Bracket clock
- Vienna regulator
- Pillar clock
- Cartel clock
- Banjo Clock
The World’s Largest Pendulum Clock in WA!
Nannup, in Western Australia, is home to the world’s largest pendulum clock. The six-metre high timber pendulum clock is visible from the outside of the Nannup Clock Tower building, but the inner workings can only be viewed from the upstairs interactive display areas.
For more information about the Clock Tower visit: https://www.thenannupclocktower.com.au/
Mechanical Movements at Mayama
Have you considered making your own pendulum clock? Mayama stocks a wide range of Grandfather and Hermle movement sets and clock plans. View the range here:
The professional team at Mayama are also available to assist you with any questions and to guide you to choosing the right movements for you. Contact the team today on 1800 308 383 or email [email protected].