Davos Clock

Davos Clock is the name given by curators at the British Museum to a specific clock in their collection. This is a good example of early modern wood clock making.

Wood Gears, Weight Driven, No Pendulum

This Clock was built in 1688 in Davos Switzerland, which lends this artifact its modern name. This clock was made of wood, both the case and the gears. We normally think of clocks as being made out of metal, but wood is an alternative. The pendulum was known, but not in widespread use. This clock would have been a lower cost clock.

Key Points

Wood can be used to make most of the parts of a clock. Wood was readily available in more ancient times. Wood clocks from Paul's era would not have survived from antiquity. But, there is nothing in the technology of 1688 that could not have been available to wood workers in Athens in Paul's day.

The clock in the video above appears to have a paper overlay for the face. It might have been manufactured with an O'Day face.

As the Davos Clock shows, pendulum based regulation is not a requirement for mechanical clocks. So the invention of the pendulum does not by itself enable mechanical, weight driven, clocks.

This use of wood suggests that it might be possible to use 3d printed plastic for even the mechanical components of a clock. 3d printed clocks might not require a quartz movement.

In the same era as this Davos Clock, high end clocks were beginning to become very accurate. Ultimately, highly accurate clocks would mean that differences in day lengths were going to matter to time keepers. We turn there next.