The History Of Time

The History Of Time Itself

It’s the time of year when we really start to relish the extra hours in bed, on the dark mornings when we try to forget that the nights are drawing in and the days are becoming shorter. Thinking about the change in time got us talking about the many styles of clocks that we see today; from the grandeur of Big Ben, to stunning vintage clocks and all the way through to the tiniest, one-atom clocks that allow the world to tick along.

But when did we start using clocks, and when did time-keeping become so important to us?

The History Of Clocks!

The earliest time-keeping was almost certainly done by gauging the position of the sun. The earliest form of clock would definitely have been the sundial, where it was the shadow cast on the dial itself that determined the time of day. Another example of an extremely early clock would have been the water clock used by the early Greeks. They would slowly drain a tank of water to determine the vague time of day. At this point, hours, minutes and seconds were essentially un-measurable and unneeded. It was only in recent centuries that the precise measuring of time became an essential tool to everyday life.

The History Of Time Itself

The First Mechanical Clocks

The first time-keeping device resembling that which we use today was a watch, developed in the 16th century in Nuremberg, designed to hang around the neck on a ribbon. Early clocks were worn mainly as jewels, which reflected their ability to actually keep any sort of real time.

It wasn’t until the late 17th century when the slimmer pocket watch was created by Christian Huygens, a Dutch physicist who later had a hand in time-keeping when he added the pendulum and spiral balance spring to clocks to create an extremely accurate time-keeping device. Huygens worked alongside the renowned scientist and inventor Galileo to develop the pendulum version of the clock, as he was the only one with a model that actually worked.

From this partnership, the long-clock, or the grandfather clock as it was more affectionately known, was born. In 1675, this mechanism was developed into a spring-mechanism to create a piece that was much slimmer and altogether more accurate.

The First Portable Watches

During the 17th Century, the watch truly started to come into its own. Pocket watches became massively popular, as they no longer required distinguished gentlemen and landowners to wear large and bulky time-keeping devices around their necks. Instead, with the pocket watch slipping discreetly into a pocket of their waistcoat, they were able to maintain a more dignified and practical appearance.

As these pieces continued to develop and increase in popularity, it was Thomas Tompion who first added the minute hand to the watch’s face. Tompion was one of the greatest English clock and watchmakers of all time, and he made more than 6,000 watches over the course of his lifetime.

With a higher demand than ever before, the technology for reliable watches and clocks greatly accelerated, with many refinements and improvements being made over the following centuries. Today, there are dozens of different types of clock available, from wall clocks to mantle clocks, bedside alarm clocks and watches. Along with the more modern clocks, including mass-produced and digital designs, vintage clocks are still extremely popular as well!

Choose The Orchard, For High-Quality Vintage Clocks Of All Kinds!

Here at The Orchard, many of our clocks are made by Newgate Clocks, one of the UK’s most trusted names in clock making, with a heritage stretching back many years. Offering only the very best in British tradition and clock making craft, our diverse vintage collection is second to none.

We stock rustic, vintage-styled wall clocks harking back to yesteryear, right through to bedside alarm clocks in gorgeous crisp enamel paint. We also have clocks for wall-mounting that measure more than a metre in diameter, whilst our alarm clocks can be as small as twelve centimetres in size.

Here are just a few of our favourites:

The History Of Time Itself

To view our full collection of Vintage Clocks, please don’t hesitate to visit our website click here:

To check out our other ‘Best of British’ items, click here:

For more information on any of products, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team directly on 0845 643 0363, or you can email any questions that you might have to, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *