The 17th Century Development of the Clock Pendulum

 

Clock Pendulum pic

Clock Pendulum
Image: theclockdepot.com

Cameel Halim is a Chicago-based real estate entrepreneur who oversaw the recent opening of the Halim Time & Glass Museum (halimmuseum.org). The museum offers visitors an encyclopedic collection of timepieces and stained glass spanning three centuries. Egyptian-born, Cameel Halim has had from childhood a passion for timepieces and a fascination with clock mechanisms.

One major 17th century innovation in clockmaking involved the addition of the pendulum, which controlled the escapement through a freely swinging motion that maintained its own defined period. Invented by Christiaan Huygens of the Netherlands in 1656, the patented pendulum clock led to the creation of the first astronomical regulator and dials that indicated time accurately down to the second.

The mechanism was perfected in England through lengthening the pendulum and reducing its arc of swing. This in turn required the development of an entirely new escapement. Air resistance was minimized through placing a convex, double-sided disc weight at the bottom of the pendulum, giving it its familiar traditional shape. In the 17th century, the longcase, or grandfather clock, was developed as a way of protecting the lengthy pendulum.

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Early Types of Sundials

 

Sundials pic

Sundials
Image: electronics.howstuffworks.com

As the president of CH Ventures LLC, Cameel Halim overses a portfolio of real estate properties across Illinois and Wisconsin in addition to over 200 full time employees. An avid clock collector, Cameel Halim also serves as a founder of the Halim Time & Glass Museum located in Evanston, Illinois.

Since September 2017, the Halim Time & Glass Museum has allowed the public to view a private collection of rare timepieces and stained glass art. The Evanston, Illinois-based museum and its collection were featured in a recent Daily Northwestern article that discusses the opening of the facility, the restored stained glass pieces, and the collection of clocks that range from mechanical clocks to Egyptian sundials.

Sundials, the oldest known timekeeping devices, utilize shadows created by the sun to indicate the time of day. The earliest type of sundial was likely a gnomon, a vertical stick that cast a shadow of varying lengths when struck by the sun. This design was featured in the earliest known sundial, an Egyptian shadow clock that included a base with six time divisions. Another early form of sundial was the hemispherical sundial, also known as a hemicycle. Featuring a cubic design, the hemicycle produced a shadow that moved in a circular arc with the help of a hemispherical opening and a pointer.

Additional information on the Halim Time & Glass Museum’s collection can be found at www.halimmuseum.org.