Author Archives: Peter de Clercq - Editor of AHS Journal

‘A clock which has gone by itself for 2 years’

  In the State Library of New South Wales is a manuscript journal of a trip to Holland undertaken in 1773 by the naturalist Joseph Banks  (1743-1820), who from 1778 until his death was to be the President of the … Continue reading

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Night watchmen

    Richard Wagner set his glorious opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Master-singers of Nuremberg) in that German city in the sixteenth century. In the second act a night watchman sings (the English translation in the vocal score is … Continue reading

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Winding the Caledonian Park turret clock

    In Caledonian Park, in the London Borough of Islington, stands a distinctive 45 meter clock tower with four dials that can be seen from far away. It was erected in the 1850s to serve as the command centre … Continue reading

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Chronometers in hell

  In my previous post, ‘Having a smashing time’, we saw how watches are being tested for shock resistance, which can involve some pretty heavy handling. Another method of testing timepieces is prolonged exposure to heat and cold. This was … Continue reading

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Having a smashing time

  On my twelfth birthday I was given my first watch. I remember that it had the word ‘shockproof’ stamped on the back and that I wondered just how ‘shockproof’ it was. Mercifully I did not try to determine the … Continue reading

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Unreliable public clocks

  You only have to walk around in your own town to observe that of all the public clocks you pass by, only a few tell the correct time. Many show just any time, others have stopped working altogether. Last … Continue reading

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Of mice and clocks

  In his most recent blog, Oliver Cooke discussed watches and clocks without hands as indicators. Another example is the Mouse Clock, in which a mouse making its way up against a wooden board serves as time indicator. Its designer … Continue reading

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Stopping the clock after death

In a previous post I included an opera scene, in which a woman mentions (sings!) that at times she stops all the clocks in her house. She dreads getting old and wants time to stand still. One reader told me … Continue reading

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Musical clocks

  My previous post in this blog was on clocks in opera. How about opera in clocks? The Handel House Museum is the London home where the composer George Frideric Handel lived from 1723 until his death in 1759. In … Continue reading

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Clocks in opera

  If you like music as much as horology (I do!), this is for you. For the links to YouTube you need a loudspeaker or headphones. In Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi, the eponymous court jester hires an assassin to murder … Continue reading

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