A very brief history of clocks.
From time immemorial, time is an important issue. The observation of the sun and the moon to measure time was used by many ancient civilizations. In Egypt, the sundial was already in use in c. 1500 BCE. Other early timekeeping devices were e.g. water clocks, candle clocks and the hourglass.
The earliest mechanical clocks in Europe were invented by Christian monks to help them in the regulation of the daily prayer- and work-schedules. Although it was Galileo Galilei who studied the regular swing of the pendulum, the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens build the first pendulum clock in 1656. It was the English clockmaker William Clement who was the first to make a housing for the pendulum and the work, the so called 'grandfather clock'.
The mainspring and the balance wheel escapement were invented earlier than the pendulum escapement, but the latter was more accurate at that time. In 1675 Huygens and Robert Hooke invented the spiral balance to control the oscillating time of the balance wheel. It was the combination of the mainspring, the balance wheel and this new escapement that made it possible to construct portable and reliable timepieces like pocket watches and wrist watches.
At the end of the 19th century, piezoelectric properties of crystalline quartz were discovered by Jacques and Pierre Curie. That made it possible to manufacture the accurate battery or solar powered electric movements that are used in most mantel clocks today.
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