Scale model of Su Song's Water-Balance Escapement

Made:
1965 in South Kensington
maker:
Science Museum
Working model, (scale 1:6) Working model, (scale 1:6) Working model, (scale 1:6) Working model, (scale 1:6) Working model, (scale 1:6) Working model, (scale 1:6) Working model, (scale 1:6) Working model, (scale 1:6) Working model, (scale 1:6) Working model, (scale 1:6) Working model, (scale 1:6) Working model, (scale 1:6) Working model, (scale 1:6) Working model, (scale 1:6) Working model, (scale 1:6)

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Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Working model, (scale 1:6)
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Scale model, (scale 1:6), of Su Song's astronomical clock-tower water-balance escapement, originally used in 1088. Model made in 1965.

There was a tradition of mechanical knowledge in China for thousands of years before the mechanical clock arrived in China from Europe in the late 1500s. In the 1960s, scholars rediscovered an ancient text about a water-powered astronomical clock tower made in China by Su Song (1020-1101, Song dynasty) in 1088. The text revealed that the clock tower contained a waterwheel which functioned as an escapement. An escapement is a mechanism which controls the release of energy in small quantities at regular intervals. It is an essential part of mechanical clocks.

This discovery challened the long-held belief that mechanical clocks originated entirely in Europe. In fact, some elements of the invention may have emerged in multiple locations throughout history, including China.

This scale model was made by the Science Museum Workshops in 1965.

Details

Category:
Time Measurement
Object Number:
1965-8
Materials:
stone, lead, copper (metal), steel (metal), electronic components, mahogany block, metal (unknown) and plastic (unidentified)
Measurements:
overall: 750 mm x 730 mm x 225 mm,
type:
mock-up, escapement and historical model
credit:
Science Museum