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How do grandfather clocks work? Find it out here!
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Have you ever wondered how grandfather clocks work? What enables them to operate and maintain precision over time? Discover it in this article!
Grandfather clocks were the first kind of watch to keep a sense of precision when tracking the passing of the hours, used for the first time in 1656.
With more detail, a pendulum is a vertical bar hanging from its upper end (or a weight attached to a string) that swings from side to side thanks to gravity. As the scientist Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) discovered, a pendulum always employs the same amount of time to make a full swing. The only things that can affect the swing speed of the pendulum are its length and, precisely, the gravity.
To calculate the time (T) needed to the pendulum to perform a full oscillation, we have to solve this short equation:
Where l is the length of the pendulum and g is the measure of the gravity. Translated, we need to quadruple the length of a pendulum to double the time it takes to swing.
In addition to the pendulum, the other parts that compose the clock and allow it to function properly are:
- A dial and hands to indicate time;
- A weight that collects energy and gradually releases it to the clock’s mechanism as it goes down. Charging the clock regularly places the weight upward and allow it to function properly over time.
- A series of operating gears that receives energy from the weight’s drop and use it to keep the clock’s mechanism at the correct speed. Using an important weight and the correct gears, the weight will be able to accumulate enough energy to run the clock for longer time without the need for frequent reloads.
- A series of gears that adjusts the timing indication by driving the dial’s hands at different speeds. These gears are generally thinner and more precise than the previous ones.
Realizing this type of clock is an art that few possess. Among these few there is Altobel Antonio, engaged in the manual creation of Grandfather Clocks since 1968. His clocks are famous for the quality of their materials, their precision and their special details.