Facts About Clocks

Updated February 21, 2017

Clocks are a common part of our everyday lives, but they are also complex and precise machines that are quite interesting for many reasons. Most people do not think about clocks very often, but there are fun facts about clocks that will interest those who look into their history and many styles and mechanisms.

Origin Of Clocks

Some people say that the clock dates back to 2,000 years B.C. This is when the first evidence of sundial usage was found. Another important date is 330 A.D. when the hourglass was documented.

It wasn't until 1360 that the first mechanical clock was constructed in France, according to Eight years later, clockmakers in England began producing the timekeeping device as a commercial product.

In 1386, England's first known public clock was located at Salisbury Cathedral. It had no hands and only indicated the time by chiming each hour.

Oldest American Clock Maker

Seth Thomas was America's first clockmaker. Since 1813, the company founded by Thomas, which bears his name, has been among the most well-respected clock-making companies in the United States. Seth Thomas has designed many of the country's most visible public tower clocks, including the timepiece standing in the centre of Manhattan's Grand Central Station.

Reason For Quartz

Quartz, used in many watches, is actually a crystal with a unique ability. When quartz crystals are cut to the proper size and paired with a precise frequency from an electronic oscillator, the quartz will pulse precisely in one-second intervals without fail. It is one of the most widely used methods of timekeeping and is considered more accurate than the mechanical clock.

The First Alarm Clock

Without the alarm clock, many people would probably be out of a job because of tardiness. Luckily, someone thought of a cure for sleeping late long ago. Seth Thomas, the same man who is noted as being the first clockmaker in the United States, invented the first successful alarm clock in October of 1876, according to the Antique Clocks Price Guide's website. This clock could be set to chime at any time the owner wished. Although this was the first known successful alarm clock, another alarm clock preceded it. In Concord, N.H., an inventor named Levi Hutchins is said to have invented an alarm clock almost 100 years ahead of Thomas. However, his alarm clock would only chime at approximately 4 a.m.

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About the Author

Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.