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Page history last edited by Kelli Richardson 11 years, 5 months ago


The use of clocks to keep time has been used for many years, although the clocks that were once used did not look like our clocks today. Keeping time began with the early Egyptians. The advancement of the clocks began to progress throughout the years and constantly changed. Keeping time began with sundials and water clocks, and proceeded to pendulums and mechanical clocks. Clocks are a very important part of our daily lives as without clocks we would not know to manage our day correctly. Clock comes from the Latin word cloca, although in the monasteries all types of timekeepers were known as Horologium [3]. 




What are clocks made of? Well this question can be distinctly answered because all clocks contain two basic materials. One of the materials that makes up a clock is "a regular, constant or repetitive process or action to mark off equal increments of time"[1]. Another example includes " a means of keeping track of the increments of time and displaying the result" [1]. This is represented by the hands on the clocks.



Sun Clocks

Sun clocks were being used as early as 3500 B.C., by the Sumerian culture whose culture was lost when they all passed. This technique was then being used by the Egyptians. Sun clocks helped citizens to partition the day into two parts by indicating noon [1]. The sun clocks worked by sitting where the sun would shine on them, then as the sun moved the shadows would also move. The longest and shortest days were determined when the shadow of the sun was the either the longest of the year or the shortest of the year [1].

 Early water clock


Water Clocks

Water clocks are made of stone with a sloping side that allows the water to drip at a constant rate from a hole in the bottom [1]. These clocks were among one of the first ways time was kept by the Greeks that was around 325 B.C. Water clocks were mainly used at night to determine and not used routinely during the light hours.







The first pendulum was created in 1656 by a Dutch scientist named Christian Huygens, although the study actually began in 1582 by Galileo Galilei. The pendulum was “regulated by a mechanism with a “natural” period of oscillation” [2]. It is said that Huygens clock had less than one minute a day error [2], with this being the first time such accuracy had taken place [2].

 pendulum clock


Standard Time

Standard Time was first mentioned by Sir Sandford Fleming- who is now known as Father of Standard Time. He began rationalizing about standard time back in 1876 when he missed a train because of a misprint of the schedule. "In 1879, Fleming recommended the standard to the Royal Canadian Institute" [4]. It took until 1884, until standard time was used universally. "Time zones in the U.S. did not take place until the "Act of March 19,1918, which is sometimes called the Standard Time Act" [4].



Media Ecology

Clocks have a big impact on our daily lives. Without clocks our lives would not be organized and convenient as they are with clocks. Clocks help us manage our lives because we go by time for everything. Time tells farmers when it is good to plant and harvest crops. Time lets us know when to meet someone, and not be late. Time sets the pace in our hectic lives, and lets us determine what we must do appropriately. 





[1] Bellis, Mary. "The History of Sun Clocks and Water Clocks- Obelisks". About.com. 2012. Web. 2/6/12.

[2] Bellis, Mary. “The History of Mechanical Pendulum Clocks and Quartz Clocks”. About.com. 2012. Web. 12/6/12.

[3] "A Brief History of Measuring Time." City Clocks On-line. Chronotrac 1998-2012. Web. 12/6/12.

[4] Bellis, Mary. "Sir Sandford Fleming (1827-1915)." About.com. 2012. Web. 12/10/12.

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