History of timekeeping devices

  • The first mechanical clock was made in 723 A.D. by a monk and mathematician I-Hsing.
  • It was an astronomical clock and he called it the "Water Driven Spherical Birds-Eye-View Map of The Heavens".
  • In a few years after it was built the bronze and iron mechanism started to corrode, and in cold weather the water would freeze.
  • In 976 A.D. Chang Ssu Hsiin built the same clock except he used mercury instead of water, but few details of this clock survive. This was the first successful.
  • A clock made by Su Sung, an astronomer, on the order of emperor Ting Zong in 1090 was 30 feet tall and was used to clock the planets and stars.
  • On the top was a spherical astronomical instrument used to measure the stars and driven by the clock's giant water-powered mechanism.
  • Inside the tower was a smaller celestial globe whose movements were the same as the one on the roof and which could be viewed in bad weather.
  • Su Sung's clock ran from 1090-1126, when it was moved to Peking, were it stood for several more years.
  • The design for these Chinese clocks was later copied by the Europeans, and they were even originally credited for first inventing them.

Don't forget to share this pointer!

View more comments +