"What exists everywhere in the universe but occupies no space? What can be measured, but not seen, heard, smelled, tasted, nor held in our hands? What can be spent, saved, frittered away or killed, but never destroyed?" ~~ TIME
The ancient timepieces in the museum are the early evidence of our enduring fascination with time. Though they date from a really long time ago, they point the way to the watches, clocks, and calendars of today ~~ and the revelations about time that still lie ahead.
|Tellerhur c. 1680|
This piece was discovered in 1900 near the island of Crete. It was later established that a ship carrying cargo from the seaport of Rhodes sank around 80 B.C. This piece is a calendrical Sun and Moon computing mechanism.
The mechanism is named for the small Greek islet of Antikythera, near which it was found.
To scholars, the most amazing feature is its complex array of dials, gears and gear differentials. It tells us that the ancient Greeks, masters of sculpting, philosophy, art, oratory, and political theory, were developers of scientific instruments as well. Scholars theorize that the primary purpose of the Antikythera mechanism was to use gears and dials to exhibit the position of the sun and moon in accordance with the phases of the moon.
A gear and worm wheel device was in use in the ancient world at least as early as 280 B.C., in the war engines of Archimedes. Cicero wrote of another Archimedes construction, a "globe on which were delineated the motions of the Sun and Moon and of those five stars which are called wanderers [the planets then known to astronomers]." On this globe the seven heavenly bodies moved in synchronization as they would in the sky.
It would be 15 centuries before the engineering ideas embodied in the Antikythera mechanism appear again in European history ~ this time in a clock fashioned by clockmaker named Jost Burgi (known as the second Archimedes).
|Su Sung's Marvelous Creation|
|Sundial, circa 1639|
Sundials indicate the time of day by the position of a shadow cast by a vertical indicator called a gnomon onto a surface which bears a specially constructed hour-scale permanently associated with the gnomon. Sundials are among the oldest scientific instruments known, the earliest evidence of them coming in the form of two Egyptian fragments dating from 1500 to 1000 B.C.
|Reading the skies|
|Circa 16th Century|
|Chamber Clock, circa 1625|
|Musical Bracket Clock, circa 1785|
|Bracket Clock, circa 1700|
|Tallcase Clocks, circa 1800|
|Yagura-Dokei, circa 1875|
|Jim's Clock (has JK imprinted on it)|
|Triple Decker Shelf Clock, circa 1842|
Many small firms emerged in the wake of Eli Terry's success, copying his process and product. By the 1830s the market was flooded with Connecticut-made wooden movement shelf clocks. While competition drove down prices and quality, it also lowered prices, meaning that more people could afford a clock.
By 1850 over half a million brass shelf clocks were being manufactured by 15 clock making firms in Connecticut. By that time one in three central New England households had a clock; most of them made in Connecticut.
|Orrery Clock, circa 1825|
|Cuckoo Clock, circa 1890|
|Print of an Elgin Watch Movement|
|Top of the World, then Winding Down|
|Floor Regulator, circa 1870|
|Wall Regulator, circa 1870|
|Calendar Regulator No. 1, circa 1870|
Jewelers, Jobbers, and General Stores arose throughout the late 1800s in cities and towns and by the turn of the century, the corner jewelry store was something of an American institution.
|Marine Chronometer, circa 1860|
|Tower Clock, circa 1888|
|Model 0 Tower Timepiece, No. 1526|
|Tower Clock, circa 1871|
|Precision Clock, 1929|
|Precision Regular Clocks|
|The Engle Clock|
|Advertising Clock, circa 1890|
The history of daylight saving time started in the 18th century with Benjamin Franklin. He suggested that clocks be set ahead during the summer in the interests of productivity and fuel efficiency. Daylight saving time (or "summer time") was used first by Germany in 1915 and then Britain in 1916 during World War I. The extra hour of daylight allowed armies and industries to conserve fuel and power during wartime.
The United States began using daylight saving time in 1918 when it was established by the Standard Time Act. Due to its unpopularity, it was repeated in 1919 after which time became a local matter. It was reinstated during World War II and was observed continuously from February 9, 1942 to September 20, 1945.
In 1966, Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which let individual communities decide whether or not to observe daylight saving time. It also set the beginning and ending dates of daylight time -- the last Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October. In 1986 President Reagan signed a bill permanently changing the starting date to the first Sunday in April. Most of the U.S. observes daylight saving time, with the exceptions of Arizona, Hawaii, and most of Indiana. Many other countries observe some form of "summer time," but they do not necessarily change their clocks on the same date.
|Congreve rolling ball timepiece, circa 1885|
|Hamilton Space Clock or Mars Clock, circa 1955|
In 1961 Elvis Presley wore his own Hamilton Ventura in the film Blue Hawaii. It was just one of the many Hamilton timepieces "The King" would come to own and wear over the years.
The 1930s was the start of the wristwatch. Rolex launched its "Oyster" wristwatch in 1927 and the wristwatch became the preferred timepiece. By the 1930s the wristwatch officially took over the pocket watch at 50 million pieces.
|Amelia Earhart, circa 1930s|
|Prototype of the two millionth Martin Guitar|
|Tall Case Clock, circa 1840s-50s|
|Girandole Timepiece, 1978|
|Willard Timepiece, 1983|
|Tower Clock, circa 1900|
|Eberman Tower Clock, 1784|
|Ceiling tower inside the main hall of the museum|