Sunday, March 1, 2009

Early Mechanicals Clocks 3

The word 'horologia' (from the Greek hora, hour, and legein, to tell) was used to describe all these devices but the use of this word (still used in several romance languages) for all timekeepers conceals from us the true nature of the mechanisms. For example, there is a record that in 1176 Sens Cathedral installed a 'horologe' but the mechanism used is unknown.

In 1198, during a fire at the abbey of St Edmundsbury (now Bury St Edmunds) the monks 'ran to the clock' to fetch water, indicating that their water clock had a reservoir large enough to help extinguish the occasional fire.These early clocks may not have used hands or dials but ³told² the time with audible signals.

The word 'clock' (from the Latin word for "bell") which gradually supersedes 'horologe' suggests that it was the sound of bells which also characterized the prototype mechanical clocks that appeared during the 13th century.

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