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Mechanical clocks
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The mechanical clock comprises an oscillating mechanism that marks the passing of time, and an escapement that counts its beats. By comparison with astronomical systems for measuring time, the mechanical clock is less accurate, but can be consulted at any time of day or night, even in adverse weather conditions.

The mechanical clock, which derived from water clock, was born in medieval Europe. The first mechanical clocks were large devices made of iron. By the fourteenth century, they were in widespread use across Europe. The same period also saw the construction of complex mechanisms primarily intended not to tell the time, but to reproduce the motions of the heavenly bodies and the relations between them. Two examples are Giovanni Dondi's famous Astrario and Lorenzo della Volpaia's Planetary Clock.

The first tower clocks were actuated by cogwheels pulled by a weight, whose force was regulated by a device called an escapement. However, beginning in the sixteenth century, clock-makers were able to replace the weight with springs and spindles or "conoids" that ensured the same regular movement. This innovation made it possible to produce ever smaller clocks. The clock thus found a place in the halls of palaces, on walls, on mantelpieces, and even in people's pockets.

Objects
Alidade for clockmaker's lathe

Alidade for clockmaker's lathe

Inv. 3599
Francesco Comelli, Bologna, ca. 1780

Astronomical clock

Astronomical clock

Inv. 3370
Caspar Rauber [attr.], German, ca. 1575

Carriage clock

Carriage clock

Inv. 3867
Charles Cabrier II, London, ca. 1730

Double-case watch

Double-case watch

Inv. 3846
Daniel Quare, London, late 17th cent.

Double-case watch

Double-case watch

Inv. 3848
William Sharp, London, early 18th cent.

Double-case watch

Double-case watch

Inv. 3849
Cheneviere, London, early 18th cent.

Double-case watch

Double-case watch

Inv. 3852
John Ellicott (watch), Georg-Michael Moser (outer case), London, ca. 1754

Double-case watch

Double-case watch

Inv. 3855
Thomas Mudge, William Dutton, London, 1788

Double-case watch

Double-case watch

Inv. 3851
Daniel Delander, London, 1739

Hunter pocket watch

Hunter pocket watch

Inv. 3862
James William Benson, London, 1886

Japanese watch

Japanese watch

Inv. 3864
Maker unknown, Japan, mid-19th cent.

Mechanism of turret clock with peg escapement

Mechanism of turret clock with peg escapement

Inv. 3733
Maker unknown, Central Italy, late 18th cent.

Mechanism of turret clock with verge escapement

Mechanism of turret clock with verge escapement

Inv. 3585
Maker unknown, Central Italy, late 16th cent.

Model of the application of the pendulum to the clock

Model of the application of the pendulum to the clock

Inv. 3450
Eustachio Porcellotti, 1860

Patented universal clock

Patented universal clock

Inv. 3588
Maker unknown, England, ca. 1906-1910

Pendant watch

Pendant watch

Inv. 3843
Augustin Forfaict, Sedan, late 16th cent.

Spring-driven clock movement and dial

Spring-driven clock movement and dial

Inv. 3557
Johann Philipp Treffler, Florence, ca. 1659

Table-clock movement

Table-clock movement

Inv. 3821
Maker unknown, Italy, 16th cent.

Tavern clock

Tavern clock

Inv. 3731
Maker unknown, England, ca. 1760-1770

Turret clock

Turret clock

Inv. 3885
Bartolomeo Ferracina, 18th cent.

Turret clock

Turret clock

Inv. 3929
Maker unknown, 18th cent.

Turret clock

Turret clock

Inv. 3930
Maker unknown, 18th cent.

Two-hand pavilion clock

Two-hand pavilion clock

Inv. 3865
Maker unknown, Southern Germany, first half 17th cent.

Two-hand pavilion clock

Two-hand pavilion clock

Inv. 3866
Christoph Miller, Augsburg, 1640-1650

Watch

Watch

Inv. 3844
Humphrey Downing, London, mid-17th cent.

Watch

Watch

Inv. 3845
Henry Harper, London, ca. 1685

Watch

Watch

Inv. 3853
Jean-Baptiste Baillon de Fontenay [attr.], Paris, 1764

Watch

Watch

Inv. 3856
Maker unknown, France, ca. 1795-1800

Watch

Watch

Inv. 3861
Christopher Williamson, London, 1838

Watch

Watch

Inv. 3857
Maker unknown, France, ca. 1800

Watch

Watch

Inv. 3858
Maker unknown, Switzerland, ca. 1800

Watch

Watch

Inv. 3859
Urban Jürgensen, Copenaghen, ca. 1810-1820

Watch, souscription type

Watch, souscription type

Inv. 3860
Breguet et Fils firm, Paris, 1816

Watch with "Sun and Moon" dial

Watch with "Sun and Moon" dial

Inv. 3850
James Markwick, London, early 18th cent.