Who Invented the Clock? Evolution and History Explored

The history of the clock’s creation is extensive. The sun was formerly the only trustworthy indicator of the passing of time. With the advent of atom clocks and digital clocks, this time-tracking technology has amazingly advanced in modern times.

Do you want to know where this invention started, though? Continue reading to learn who created the clock as well as other fascinating details.

What is a Clock?

A clock is a mechanical or electronic device that measures time. It displays numbers or moves hands on a circular dial plate to show the hour and other divisions. The internal mechanism of this device is driven by a bell, a weight, a spring, or hammer blows that indicate the hour.

The Evolution of a Clock

The Evolution of a Clock

Earlier methods of keeping track of time included utilizing water clocks and sun shadows. Unfortunately, they were unreliable as they did not lead to proper timekeeping. In the middle age, mechanical timepieces began to gradually appear, and the pendulum began to take shape.

History of Clocks

When were clocks first developed? Timekeeping has been practiced since antiquity for a variety of purposes, from ancient Egypt to ancient Babylon. Long before clocks replaced other timekeeping methods as the standard, people used them to keep track of time. Although different civilizations produced a variety of clocks, the fundamental idea stayed the same. For instance, the clepsydra, a type of water clock created by two separate cultures, is fundamentally the same.

Information on clocks

  • Ancient Egypt is where the sundial first appeared. Obelisks served as the earliest sundials.
  • Water clocks were utilized by both Native American tribes and the Babylonian Empire. There is historical evidence that water clocks were used as early as the thirteenth century B.C.E. in the Middle East and Africa. By measuring the amount of water supplied, one type of water clock calculated the passing of time.
  • The other method calculated the passage of time by calculating the amount of water lost.
  • The water clock was modified by the Romans to resemble a cylinder. Time would be calculated by comparing the level of a floating piece of wood to indentations on the cylinder wall.
  • Italy was the first nation to employ mechanical clocks without the need for water.
  • Galileo’s well-known tests on gravity were timed with the use of a modified water clock that employed mercury.

Who Invented the Clock?

Who Invented the Clock


To learn more about the origins of the clock, consider that the Ancient Egyptians created the first timekeeper. It was dubbed Shadow Clocks. They utilized obelisks to keep track of the sun’s movement, and it split the day into 12-hour halves. Sundials were also created during this period to indicate the hour of the day.

These notions were discovered to be false. The first genuine mechanical clocks arrived in the 14th century. For accurate timekeeping, they used a combination of an escapement mechanism with a balancing wheel. They quickly replaced previous timekeeping methods and were seen as more trustworthy. The true advancement of the instrument was the creation of a pendulum clock.

Christiaan Huygens constructed a pendulum clock prototype in the 17th century. A pendulum refers to a weight hanging from a pivot to swing freely. The rod with a weighted end that swings from side to side to cause the clock to run is the pendulum. Several types have also been created since the pendulum clock’s creation.

In 1840, Alexander Bain, a Scottish clockmaker, invented an electric clock that employed a pendulum that continued moving by electromagnetic pulses.

Another innovation was the development of the quartz clock. The first quartz clock was created by Warren Marrison and J.W. Horton at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Canada. Those clocks used an electrical circuit to transmit power from the battery to the quartz crystal.

In 1949, atomic clocks were also created. They are now the most precise timekeepers on the planet. The resonance frequency of atoms or molecules in various substances, such as cesium or ammonia, controls the speed of these clocks.

Interesting, isn’t it? Stay tuned for more!

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