Today, I shall take you on a new trip. We shall go to visit a place full of time readers. You might ask me what do I mean with a time reader 🙂 well, I mean a clock.
So we shall go and visit the clocks museum from Ploiesti. A beautiful little building that holds many lovely time readers.
We will see all kinds of time readers, from big ones to small ones that belong to important people. Grab my hand, and let’s enjoy some clock history.
The first kind of clock was the sundials. They were built in Egypt about 1500 BC. The functioning principle was based on interpreting the length and position of the shadow of style ( gnomon ), which was projected on a graduated surface.
Here, in the museum, we can admire a few, one that’s quite beautiful but is not that old, not from ancient Egypt, it is actually made in England in 18century, it is made of bronze. Here you can see it.
Another beautiful one is from Paris made around 1690, as you can see it is pretty beautiful.
In total, we shall see 7 sundials here, in the museum. So our eyes have what to enjoy.
But let me show you even more. We will enjoy another old way to see measure the time. One of my favorites, actually, a few hourglasses.
Then we shall move to see another kind of time measure. Do you like tables? Then how about the table and mantel clocks. So let me tell you a bit about the history of this kind. So it seems that the first table clocks appeared somewhere in the middle of the 16th century in Germany. Later they will be popular also in France, England, Switzerland, Poland, etc. Still, if I can do it that way, the big market will be in Germany. The table clock, which has a horizontal mechanism, is equipped with a fusee, a winding stem, a chain, and a verge escapement, and if you love Renaissance or Baroque style, they are the perfect ones for you.
We can see two table clocks in the museum and a few mantel clocks. My favorite mantel clock from here is this one
I think it is pretty beautiful. Don’t you think so?
But now let’s now have a look at Wall clocks too. There are quite a few in different styles. First, let me tell you since when we have wall clocks. So all started around the mid-17th century in countries that already had a history in horology. The countries were England, France, the Netherlands, Germany. Some people think that this kind of clock comes from lantern clocks. This kind of clock was known more in England and France at the beginning of the 17th century. I won’t tell you about the technical part this time, but I will show you which is my favorite.
It is a Vincenti et Cie, Montbeliard, 19th century, made of bronze and with the mythological theme Cronos devouring his sons. Bit tragically, but still lovely.
After I take you to these ones, we shall go to see paintings with clocks. They are pretty interesting if you like paintings and you want to know the time. Some are also making noises at certain hours. It seems the first time they appeared in Austria was in the early 19th century. Like I said, some also had a musical mechanism attached to them. The paintings were mostly landscapes. In the museum are a few clocks like this, they are pretty lovely.
Other kinds of clocks that we will see here in the museum are Floor clocks, Carriage Clocks, and my favorites one’s pocket clocks.
Well, I shall tell you more about my favorites, the pocket clocks, so I won’t bore you too much with too much information:)
So pocket watches appeared in the early 16 century by miniaturizing portable clocks. They were first made in Germany, in the cities of Augsburg and Nurenberg. In the second city lived the famous horologist Peter Henlein. He is the father of the first pocket clock. He creates it around the year 1500. Later around the 16th and 17th centuries, pocket clocks production will spread quickly. So the pocket clock will be common in France, England, Switzerland.
Around 1675 the pocket watches will become more precise because of the Parisian watchmaker Isaac Thuret applied the discoveries made by the physicist Christian Huygens, so he will make a spiral spring that regulated the movement of the balance wheel. Since then, the clocks and watches have only been working with an admitted error of 10-15 minutes a day.
Later in 1770, Abraham Loius Perrelet made the first automatic watch. This watch will be improved by Perrelet’s disciple Abraham Louise Breguet in 1780 when he will launch his own mechanical eyes.
Abraham Louise Breguet, because of his many inventions, is considered the founder of modern horology.
In the 19th century, the production of watches was influenced by advances in technology. A new power that was rising was Switzerland. Some of the rising companies were Vacheron&Constantine(1819), Patek Philippe(1851). The watches made by these companies will make Switzerland become the top country on horology and precision.
The United States also will become a producer of mass pocket watches. Watches have become more accessible for ordinary people; the same will happen in Switzerland.
Now let’s get back to this moment and to what beautiful things we can see here in the museum. Here exposed some excellent, beautiful watches. Some belonged to prominent personalities, some Romanian( like Vasile Alexandri, King Carol I and Mihai I, General Alexandru Averescu), and characters from abroad like Russian Tsar Alexander the second, Grand Duke Nicolas.
Tsar Alexander the second pocket clock.
The pocket clock of Grand Duke Nicolas.
The pocket clock belonged to King Carol I of Romania.
Now, in the end, I will just take you to see a few kinds of pocket clocks that I liked.
Besides all the clocks and watches there is also a room where we can admire some old musical boxes, and the exciting part is that you can also listen to them.
I forgot to tell you that you should also watch in the museum a little video projected on a wall about the old Ploiesti and how it used to look.
I hope you enjoyed the trip with me if you want to see more you can always go and visit the museum. It is more interesting than you can imagine…