Ancestor of the mechanical clock has been thought by some to be the sundial. Actually these devices represent two different approaches to the problem of time-keeping. True ancestor of the clock is to be found among the highly complex astronomical machines which man has been building since Hellenic times to illustrate the relative motions of the heavenly bodies.This study—its findings will be used in preparing the Museum's new hall on the history of time-keeping—traces this ancestry back through 2,000 years of history on three continents.
e rising and setting of the Sun and the stars.
In the next stage, reached very soon after this, the rotation of the model was arranged to proceed automatically instead of by hand. This was done, we believe, by using a slowly revolving wheel powered by dripping water and turning the model through a reduction mechanism, probably involving gears or, more reasonably, a single large gear turned by a trip lever. It did not matter much that the time-keeping properties were poor in the long run; the model moved "by itself" and the great wonder was that it agreed with the observed heavens "like the two halves of a tally."
In the next, and essential, stage the turning of the water wheel was regulated by an "escapement" mechanism consisting of a weighbridge and trip levers so arranged that the wheel was held in check, scoop by scoop, while each scoop was filled by the dripping water, then released by the weighbridge and allowed to rotate until checked again by the trip-lever arrangement. Its action was sim