Accurate Mechanical Clocks

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Source: National Institute of Standards and Technology Physics Laboratory

Pendulum Clocks

Quartz Clocks

In Europe during most of the Middle Ages (roughly 500 to 1500 A.D.), technological advancement was at a virtual standstill. Sundial styles evolved, but not far from ancient principles.

Then, in the early-to-mid-14th century, large mechanical clocks began to appear in the towers of several large Italian cities. These clocks that were weight-driven and regulated by a verge-and-foliot escapement. Like water flow, the rate was difficult to regulate.

Another advance was the invention of spring-powered clocks between 1500 and 1510 by Peter Henlein of Nuremberg. They slowed down as the mainspring unwound.

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