History dating platform clock escapement

Outside of Europe, the escapement mechanism had been known and used in medieval China, as the Song Dynasty horologist and engineer Su Song (1020 - 1101) incorporated it into his astronomical clock-tower of Kaifeng in 1088.However, his astronomical clock and rotating armillary sphere still relied on the use of flowing water (ie.This power was controlled by some form of oscillating mechanism, probably derived from existing bell-ringing or alarm devices.This controlled release of power - the escapement - marks the beginning of the true mechanical clock.Important times and durations were broadcast by bells, rung either by hand or by some mechanical device such as a falling weight or rotating beater.The word horologia (from the Greek ὡρα, hour, and λεγειν, 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.

In an hourglass, fine sand pours through a tiny hole at a constant rate and indicates a predetermined passage of an arbitrary period of time.These early clocks may not have used hands or dials, but “told” the time with audible signals.The word clock (from the Latin word clocca, "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 in Europe.For example, there is a record that in 1176 Sens Cathedral installed a ‘horologe’ but the mechanism used is unknown.According to Jocelin of Brakelond, 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 .

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