I had a wonderful trip to the Clocks Museum at Guildhall in the city of
London today. Although the museum is mostly dedicated to the history of
domestic and handheld watches and mechanisms, it also delves deeply into
the history of horology itself, and the integral role that timekeeping
played in the building of the British Empire.
In the 16th century, timekeepers aboard ships from Spain and Britain we
almost magical seers, being able to divine time accurately from the
heavens. This ability allowed ships to discover their Longitude, without
which the very idea of seafaring discovery and the furthering of Empire
was unachievable. I find it wonderful and inspiring that the mechanical
skills of clock makers in 1660 London were the bedrock upon which the
British Empire was *built*, and the industrial revolution founded.
Another amazing thing I discovered is that although the first public
clocks started appearing in Europe in the 1300's (they were really
terrible at actually keeping time) the original source of the technical
knowledge required to make these timepieces is not known! What a mystery!
Posted by Alfie