Fact File about the Invention of the Clock: Invention: Clock *** Date of Invention: 1656 *** Name of Inventor: Christiaan Huygens *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1629 - 1695 *** Nationality of Inventor: Dutch *** Historical Period: Renaissance (1350 to 1700) *** Category: Science *** Country of Origin: Holland *** Facts about the Inventor, Christiaan Huygens, and the invention of the Clock ***
Fact 1: Who invented the Clock? The pendulum Clock was invented by Christiaan Huygens in 1656 during the
Renaissance era of inventions (1350 to 1700).
Fact 2: Who invented the Clock? The word clock derives from from Medieval
Latin word 'clocca', meaning "bell".
Fact 3: Who invented the Clock? Prior to the invention of the pendulum
Clock in 1656, there was a long history of timekeeping devices including shadow
clocks, the water clock, the candle clock, the timestick, the hourglass and the
Fact 4: Who invented the Clock? Shadow Clocks: The monumental stone column
Obelisks were set in pairs, at the entrances of temples and are a famous symbol
of the Ancient Egyptians. The Obelisk symbolized the sun god Ra and also used as
shadow clocks to track the movement of the sun throughout the day to keep track
of time. The Ancient Egyptians also went on to invent a smaller shadow clock, in
the shape of a small notched rod, the first portable timepiece ever made.
Fact 5: Who invented the Clock? The Sundial: The Sundial used the shadow
of the sun to indicate the time of day. The shadow is cast on the surface of the
sundial that is marked to show hours, or fractions of hours, of the day. The
sundial was believed to have been independently developed by the Ancient
Egyptians and the Mesopotamians c.1500BC.
Fact 6: Who invented the Clock? The Timestick: The Shepherd's Timestick
worked on the same principles as sundials, based on the relative amount of
daylight during the different months of the year. The Timestick was turned to
the Sun so that the shadow falls directly down the scale.
Fact 7: Who invented the Clock? Water Clocks: The Water clock, also known
by its Greek name clepsydra, used the flow of water with the change in water
level to measure time. Water clocks were first used by the Ancient Egyptians,
Greeks and the Mesopotamians as an
alternative to clocks dependent on sunlight.
Fact 8: Who invented the Clock? Candle Clocks: The earliest reference to
the use of candle clock occurs in a Chinese poem by You Jiangu (520 CE) but
candle clocks were found in many other countries in the Ancient World. Uniform
sized candles, marked into 12 sections each of one inch, were placed in
protective cases. Each candle completely burned away in four hours, each mark
represented 20 minutes.
Fact 9: Who invented the Clock? The Hourglass: The Hourglass was another
device for measuring time, that consisted of two glass chambers, connected by a
narrow passage, that contained a quantity of sand, that slowly trickled from the
upper chamber to the lower chamber in a fixed amount of time, usually one hour.
Fact 10: Who invented the Clock? Mechanical Clocks: The invention of the
first mechanical clock is credited to the Chinese scientist and inventor Su Sung
(1020 - 1101 AD) in 1092. Su-Sung's huge clock stood 40 feet high and was
powered by a special water wheel. Buckets around the rim of the water wheel were
filled, one at a time, by a steady flow of water. When a full bucket was heavy
enough to trip a mechanism, it fell forward and the bucket behind it moved into
place under the water spout. The weight of the buckets exerted enough force to
activate all sorts of wonderful displays. Displayed at the center of Su-Sung's
mechanical clock was a large, bronze celestial globe that measured 4.5 feet in
diameter. A host of mechanically-timed and rotating miniature Chinese figures
passed through opening doors to announce the time of day by ringing bells,
banging gongs or beating drums.
Fact 11: Who invented the Clock? Mechanical Clock: Mechanical clocks
were relatively simple devices driven by weight or, more specifically gravity.
Different types of Mechanical clocks began to appear in Europe during the
1200's. In 1286 mechanical figures, called automatons, that struck a bell on the
hour were installed in St. Paul's Cathedral, London.
Fact 12: Who invented the Clock? Clock Jacks: The Mechanical clocks drove
the mechanical to announce the hour by ringing a bell. In many cases a figure of
a wooden man-at-arms struck the bell and were given the name of 'Jack'. Clock
Jacks announced the time by ringing bells, however, the figures became more
wondrous such as the those at Wells Cathedral. The Wells clock, that is still
working and in use today, features four knights tilting at the joust and the
Quarter Jack bangs the quarter hours with his heels.
Fact 13: Who invented the Clock? Faces ands Dials: The first mechanical
clocks were striking clocks, there were no clock faces or dials. People then
realized that wheels could be used to drive an indicator on a dial on the
outside of the clock towers, where they could be seen as well as heard. A
rotating dial was added to mechanical clocks and a fixed hand, literally shaped
like a hand, indicated the hour by pointing to numbers on the clock face.
Fact 14: Who invented the Clock? Watches: The coiled spring was invented
in 1450 making portable clocks possible and the first watches were made in 1510.
Fact 15: Who invented the Clock? The Pendulum Clock: In 1581 the Italian
astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642) noticed that a pendulum swings at a constant
rate. In 1656, fourteen years after Galileo's death, Christiaan Huygens invented the
pendulum clock, which he patented in 1657. Prior to its invention, timekeeping
was only accurate to about fifteen minutes a day.
Fact 16: Who invented the Clock? The inventor of the pendulum clock, Christiaan Huygens, was born on April 14, 1629 in The Hague, Netherlands and died on July 8, 1695.
Fact 17: Who invented the Clock? The early years of Christiaan Huygens were spent in The Hague, Netherlands where he was raised by his
wealthy Dutch family. Christiaan Huygens received an excellent home education
and went on to study law and mathematics at the University of Leiden.
Fact 18: Who invented the Clock? Christiaan Huygens devised the pendulum
clock to solve the problem of finding longitude at sea, because he intended his
clocks to go on board a ship, where the rolling motion might easily topple them,
he had placed two 100-pound weights inside their case to keep them stable.
Fact 19: Who invented the Clock? Christiaan Huygens built a prototype of
the pendulum clock at the end of 1656. A pendulum is a weight suspended from a
pivot so that it can swing freely. The pendulum of a clock is a rod with a
weight at the end which swings from side to side in order to make the clock
Fact 20: Who invented the Clock? The advanced technology he used to
invent the pendulum clock reduced the loss of time by clocks from about 15
minutes to about 15 seconds per day and were lauded as the best timekeepers for
use on land. Christiaan Huygens later devised a watch regulator called a balance
Fact 21: Who invented the Clock? In 1673 Huygens published "Horologium
Oscillatorium sive de motu pendulorum", his major work on pendulums and horology
(the art of designing and making clocks).
Fact 22: Who invented the Clock? Christiaan Huygens died on July 8, 1695
but he will always be remembered as the inventor of the clock.
Fact 23: Who invented the Clock? Electric Clock: In 1840 Alexander Bain,
a Scottish clockmaker, was the first to invent and patent the electric clock
which used a pendulum that was kept moving by electromagnetic impulses. He
patented his invention on 11 January 1841.
Fact 24: Who invented the Clock? Quartz Clock: Pendulum clocks remained
the most accurate timekeeping pieces until the 1920s, when quartz oscillators
and quartz clocks were invented. The first quartz clock was built by Warren
Marrison and J. W. Horton at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Canada. The battery
in quartz clocks sent electricity to the quartz crystal through an electronic
Fact 25: Who invented the Clock? Atomic Clock: Atomic clocks were
invented in 1949 and are now the most accurate time keepers in the world. Atomic
clocks are regulated by the resonance frequency of atoms or molecules of certain
substances, as ammonia or cesium.