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- Introduction of this section
- Next, we describe the birth and development of mechanical timepieces. The first mechanical clock is thought to have been made at a monastery in northern Italy around 1300 A.D, to help the monks adhere to their strict daily routine, built around seven sessions of prayer. Larger tower clocks driven by heavy weights were soon used across Europe to allow all to share the same idea of time. Subsequently, the inventions of mainsprings, pendulums and balance springs gradually enabled the manufacture of smaller, more accurate and more portable clocks and watches.
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Iron Movement Tower Clock
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- Same mechanism as the first mechanical clock
- This English-made Iron Movement Tower Clock was built for a church in circa 1500 and incorporates the same mechanism as the first mechanical clock, invented around 1300 in north Italy. Driven by the weight and the force of gravity, the wheels turn at a speed regulated by a"foliot balance", a"verge", and a"crown wheel escapement". The bell is struck hourly, with the number of chimes indicating the hour. The daily time difference could be as much as one hour, as the foliot balance lacked isochronism. Afterwards, as time passed, the accuracy of mechanical clocks was consistently improved. In the late 16th century, Europe adopted a fixed time system in replacement of a seasonal time system.