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Follow the development of time measurement and technical and scientific innovation in timekeeping from the 16th to the 21st centuries.
Early balance spring watch by Thomas Tompion
Early balance spring pocket watch in silver case made by Thomas Tompion, Fleet Street, London, England, 1675-79. The watch features an unusual dial showing minutes on the main dial and two subsidiary dials for the hours (in the upper position) and seconds (in the lower position). The subsidiary dial for hours indicates up to six hours in each cycle.
'Merkhet', Ancient Egyptian astronomical timekeeping instrument, bronze with hieroglyphic text inlaid with electrum metal, fitted with replica plumb bob, 600BCE. Inscription indicates it was the property of Bes, son of Khonsirtis (Khensardais var.), an astronomer priest of the god, Horus of Edfu in Upper Egypt. Used to layout axes of buildings and to determine the hours of the night by observing the passage of selected stars across the north-south meridian.
Table clock by Nicholas Vallin
Circular table-clock with calendrical and lunar indications made by Nicholas Vallin in London between 1598 and 1603.
Sun-and-moon dial by Elias Allen
Sun-and-moon dial made by Elias Allen between 1607 and 1653 at his workshop, near St. Clement's Church, London. Engraved "Elias Allen fecit a Moone diall". It is callibrated for use at the latitude 51 1/2.
Pendulum clock designed by Galileo in 1642 and made by his son in 1649, model.
1642-1649 (original); 1883 (model)
Model showing the first idea of the application of the pendulum to the clock designed by Galileo in 1642, made his son Vincenzo in 1649 and illustrated by Vincenzo Viviani, Italy. This model is by Eustachio Porcellotti, Florence, Italy, 1883.
Caesium atomic clock, 1955.
NPL caesium atomic clock of 1955 (less associated electronic equipment)
Chinese Incense Clock
Chinese incense clock, consists of 3 trays, 2 “maze” stencils, a latticework lid and a leveller, made by Ming Hsin, Chao, China.
Kundo 'Space Timer' radio-controlled quartz desk clock, 1988.
Kundo Space Timer Clock, synchronised to the 77.5 kHz time signals from the DCF 77 radio transmitter at Mainflingen, near Frankfurt, Germany, made by Kieninger und Obergfell GmbH, St Georgen/Schw, Germany, in 1988.
Compendium by Elias Allen
Compendium consisting of a sundial, companss and calendar indices made by Elias Allen between 1630 and 1653, near St. Clement's Church close to the Strand, London. Inscribed: "Elias Allen fecit" and outer lid engraved with the royal coat of arms.
Marine chronometer by John Arnold and Son, 1787-1799
Two-day marine chronometer (No 63) by John Arnold and Son, Cornhill, London, 1787-1799.
Clock dial marked 'Potter, Railway Time', 1840-1880
Clock dial marked "Potter, Railway Time" with two hands, unknown maker, British, 1840-1880
Cubical polyhedral sundial
German universal cubical sundial in wood with paper scales, signed D. Beringer, compass needle and cover glass missing, c.1780
Pocket watch by Thomas Tompion
Pocket watch with cylinder escapement and tortoiseshell case made by Thomas Tompion, Fleet Street, London, between 1675 and 1700. Inscribed 'T. Tompion London 3' on the movement and inscribed 'Graham' on the dial.
Model of a Television Set Tammeter, 1955-1965
Small external model of a TV set with Tammeter mounted above, made by Television Audience Management Limited, London, England, 1955-1965
Empire type world clock for indicating time around the globe
'Empire' type world clock for indicating the time around the globe at various longitudes with accessories, unknown maker, France, 1909. Patented by Etienne de Gounevitch and Armand Gustave Couailett (British patent No. 23, 449, 1909), with brass winding key.
Sundial making tool
Tool for making sundials, unknown maker, France, 1680-1700.
Moving magnet galvanometer with dial inscribed "Greenwich Mean Time", 1843-1897
Moving magnet galvanometer with dial inscribed "Greenwich Mean Time", made by Hunt and Roskell Limited, Clerkenwell, London, England, 1843-1897. The face of the instrument reads: 'This needle is deflected precisely at each hour, Hunt & Roskell Ltd, jewellers and watchmakers'
Ashadar or time stick, Northern India, 1895-1905
Tibetan priest's Time-stick from Darjeeling, unsigned, West Bengal, India, 1895-1905. It worked in a simliar way to the column sundial, a wire gnomonwas placed in the hole that corresponded with the month, it was then twisted to align the shadow with the scale.
Compendium by Augustine Ryther
Compendium comprised of universal equinoctial sundial, compass and calendar made by Augustine Ryther in 1588. Signed 'A Ryther * Fecit * 1588" and incribed "WILLIAM PAWLEY OWETH THIS SAME IN ANNO DOMINI 1588".
Gear wheel from long-case clock by Fromanteel
Brass gear wheel and pinion from long-case clock made by Ahasuerus Fromanteel, London, 1660-1665.
Clock weight from long-case clock by Fromanteel
Brass-cased lead clock weight from long-case clock made by Ahasuerus Fromanteel, London, 1660-1665. The outer brass casing is engraved with a coat of arms featuring a shield and crown.
Escape wheel from long-case clock by Fromanteel
Brass anchor escape wheel from long-case clock made by Ahasuerus Fromanteel, London, 1660-1665..
Pair-cased pocket watch
Pair-cased pocket watch in pinchbeck and leather outer casing with verge escapement, made by Will Kipling, London, 1705-1737. Movement inscribed 'Will Kipling no.483'. The movement consists of silver pillars (jewelled endstone removed).
Harrison's eight-day wooden clock movement, 1715.
Original eight day clock by Harrison, date 1715, wheel work mostly of wood. With correspondence concerning Harrison clocks
"Ingersoll" wrist watch
"Ingersoll" wrist watch with leather strap, pin pallet escapement and luminous hour hand, 1915
Gear wheel from long-case clock by Fromanteel
Brass gear wheel from long-case clock made by Ahasuerus Fromanteel, London, 1660-1665.
Sand glass in four pillared wooden mount
Single sand glass in four pillared wooden mount. 17 minutes. Horne Type B. Second half of the 18th century. (B3247)
Barnard Tompion clock
Table clock with striking mechanism made by Thomas Tompion and original oak carry case. The movement is signed: ‘Tho: Tompion/Edw: Banger/London’ and numbered 460.
Pulley from long-case clock by Fromanteel
Pulley from long-case clock made by Ahasuerus Fromanteel, London, 1660-1665.
Clock (French) symbolising motive power, gilt bronze finish, 19th C. B 1987 with two keys.
Equinoctial ring sundial
Universal equinoctial ring sundial signed "J Gilbert Tower Hill London". English, second half of the 18th century. (B1698)
Synchronous mains electric clock of the self-start
Synchronous mains electric clock of the self-starting type, with digital display. Made by The Westinghouse Electric Supply Co. USA. Early c.1934's
Bracket timepiece in mahogany case with silvered d
Bracket timepiece in mahogany case with silvered dial signed "Dutton & Co, London, V R 1874". Supplied by C. Sansom, Montpelier Street, Clockmaker to the Department of Science and Art (South Kensington Museums)
Cylinder watch in pinchbeck inner case, tortoisesh
Cylinder watch in pinchbeck inner case, tortoiseshell (damaged) outer case by John Holmes, Strand, London, no.6808
Two-thirds scale copy of the Hampton court astronomical clock dials, with epicyclic gearing unit, outer fixed chapter ring and rotating astronomical dial
Two-thirds scale copy of the Hampton court astronomical clock dials, with epicyclic gearing unit, outer fixed chapter ring and rotating astronomical dial. (With synchronous driving motor, gear-box and clutch unit supplied through Ministry of Public Building and Works)
Single sand-glass in four pillared wooden mount. 55 seconds. Horne Type B. Second half of the 18th century. ?Ship's log glass. (B3244)
Horizontal magnetic sundial in wooden case. ? German, c.1800. (B3273)
Egyptian Water Clock
1415-1380 BCE; 1922
Plaster cast of early Egyptian water clock or 'clepsydra' from original dating from between 1415-1380 BCE, reign of Amenhotep III, found at Karnak Temple in 1904. Original now in Cairo Museum. It was filled with water, which leaked out slowly indicating the passage of hours. The passage of hours differed according to the month and whether day or night.
Park Green Mill Double Dialled Longcase Clock
Double dialled longcase clock from Park Green Mill, Macclesfield, made by E. Hartley, Macclesfield, c. 1810, includes clock and belts, pulleys and lineshafting.
Single sand-glass in four pillared wooden mount. Horne Type B. Second half of the 18th century. (B3243)
Single sand-glass in five pillared wooden mount. 69 minutes. Horne Type B. Second half of the 18th century. (B3184)
Lantern clock with verge escapement and rach and s
Lantern clock with verge escapement and rach and snail escapement (bob pendulum missing); hours on dial divided into quarters; going and striking trains; one hand
Chronometer in Gold Case by Thomas Earnsham, 1795-1810
Gold-cased Chronometer watch no.728 made by Thomas Earnshaw, 1795-1810
Gold verge watch with fusee
Verge watch with fusee, in engine turned enamelled gold hunter case decorated with split pearls. French mid 18th century. (B4420)
Casio gents LCD digital watch, black resin case an
Casio gents LCD digital watch, black resin case and strap, in packaging, model F-91W, with alarm, stopwatch, 7-year battery life. 1999.
Watch with Flamenville dead-beat escapement, signe
Watch with Flamenville dead-beat escapement, signed Josh Harris, London, 120. In silver pair-case with London hallmark for 1759
Chronometer watch in silver case
Chronometer watch in silver case by John Arnold and Son, London, no.360/661, case. Hall marked 1788
Cylinder watch in silver pair case by Ellicott, Lo
Cylinder watch in silver pair case by Ellicott, London, no.7778, hall marked 1773