Dorrin K Mace, Horologost

Dorrin K Mace, Horologost
The Clock Man in a pensive moment

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Clockmaker

A clockmaker is an artisan who makes and repairs clocks. Since almost all clocks are now factory-made, most modern clockmakers only repair clocks. Modern clockmakers may be employed by jewelers, antique shops, and places devoted strictly to repairing clocks and watches. Clockmakers must be able to read blueprints and instructions for numerous types of clocks and time pieces that vary from antique clocks to modern time pieces in order to fix and make clocks or watches. The trade requires fine motor coordination as clockmakers must frequently work on devices with small gears and fine machinery.
Originally, clockmakers were master craftsmen who designed and built clocks by hand. Since modern clockmakers are required to repair antique, handmade or one-of-a-kind clocks for which parts are not available, they must have some of the design and fabrication abilities of the original craftsmen. A qualified clockmaker can typically design and make a missing piece for a clock without access to the original component.
Clockmakers generally do not work on watches; the skills and tools required are different enough that watchmaking is a separate field, handled by another specialist, the watchmaker.
The earliest use of the term clokkemaker is said to date from 1390, about a century after the first mechanical clocks appeared. From the beginning in the 15th century through the 17th century clockmaking was considered the "leading edge", most technically advanced trade existing. Historically, the best clockmakers often also built scientific instruments, as for a long time they were the only craftsmen around trained in designing precision mechanical apparatus. In one example, the harmonica was invented by a young German clockmaker, which was then mass produced by another clockmaker, Matthias Hohner.
Prior to 1800 clocks were entirely handmade, including all their parts, in a single shop under a master clockmaker. By the 19th century, clock parts were beginning to be made in small factories, but the skilled work of designing, assembling, and adjusting the clock was still done by clockmaking shops. By the 20th century, interchangeable parts and standardized designs allowed the entire clock to be assembled in factories, and clockmakers specialized in repair.
Galileo drew the first designs for a grandfather clock after making the discovery that time could be told using a pendulum. He based this design off of the verge-and-foliot control mechanism first invented around 1285 and is credited for the first formal construction of a clock. In 1602, he began investigating the idea of the time it takes a pendulum to swing back and forth in relation to the isochronism or arc of the swing.  Twenty one years earlier, Galileo had been studying at the University of Pisa and developed the pendulum and the concept of time began after encountering a suspended lamp swing back and forth in the Cathedral of Pisa. Galileo went on to detail the effect of isochronism in a letter to a friend. Soon after, friend and Venetian physician, Santorio Santorio began using a pulsilogium, or short pendulum, to measure the pulse of his patients. After the utilization of various pendulums, the process of clock making became generalized.
As the art of making clocks became more widespread and distinguished the start of guilds specifically for this trade emerged around the sixteenth century. One of the first guilds to develop for clock making was known as the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers; the group formed after a small number of foreign-trained clockmakers spent time working in London. A requirement of join the guild was to practice their craft and gain as much experience as possible, along with joining one of many other trade guilds, such as the Blacksmiths, Stationers, or Drapers Company. During the early seventeenth century, the demand for clocks  grew and the Golden Age of Clockmaking surfaced.

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