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TIDBITS - Tick-Tock...A Bracket Clock


#1

T i c k - T o c k . . . A B r a c k e t C l o c k.

There was a time, once, long ago, but not so long ago that man
was still living in the jungles and cavorting with the apes,
when folks did not have wrist-watches. I know I know. Such a
thing is truly not to be believed. And yet…there it is folks.
Truth… once again glaring at you bleary eyed from eternal
effort.

In Plato’s Meno, Socrates says something to the effect that we
have within us knowledge we don’t know we have…all we have to
do is find it. This is not a quote but rather a paraphrase. I
remember reading it, I just don’t remember when…and so the
quote is rather blurry. Anyway, it is in this spirit that I
imagine one day, many eons ago, while hunting down a wooly
mammoth or a saber-tooth, that Joe said to Bill, hey…what we
need here is a clock to keep track of how long we’ve been out.
And so in that instant, our heros put down their clubs and began
to think, trying to call up the hidden knowledge, lying dormant
within their souls, as to how to make a timepiece.

And so the clock came along, and different methods to measure
time were invented. At one point astronomers began to measure
the passage of stars by counting the swings of a weight suspended
on a bit of string. This led to the pendulum clock, invented and
perfected by a Dutch man by the name of Christiaan Huygens. In
the middle 1600’s, this was the most accurate way available of
telling the hour.

Well, the English got wind of this new invention, and in a coup
of Industrial Espionage, stole the and perfected on
it. More time passed by, and the Long Case pendulum clock (The
old Grandfather’s clock) came along and gained in popularity. And
it was pretty accurate. And it had a second hand. And it could
run for eight days at a wind. But it was a big fella. What to do?
I’ll tell you what. Get rid of the pendulum and invent a spring
driven mechanism. Then…cut off the top of the Long Case
clock…without a pendulum you no longer needed the bottom
half…and what you now had was a Bracket Clock. And let me tell
you all something, some of these Bracket Clocks were gorgeous.

Bracket Clocks occupied a great life-span in the eighteenth
century. They were made with verge escapements which allowed for
the tick-tock sound that ensured their nervous owners that the
clock was indeed working. Ah…the soothing sounds of yesteryear.
When was the last time any of you heard a clock tock? It’s like
the patter of rain at dusk…or the chirping of crickets…it’s
essential to our psychic well being. Oh well…anyway…so much
in defense of the Luddites out there.

Bracket clock progressed…and soon they chimed…or struck
bells… or had mock pendulums even. They struck the hours and
the quarter hours with different sounds. They were charming. The
English had them and the French had them…and they were made of
mahogany and ebony. And the dials were ornate and engraved…and
they held in their design a beauty we don’t find today. Fact
is…I have a picture of one I hoisted up for you folks to
see…that’s how pretty they are. If you take a look, let me know
if you like them as much as I do. The link is on my home page,
down in the Tables Menu…under Tidbits…where it says Tidbits
Graphics.

And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.

Take care,
Benjamin Mark

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