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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.
Caesium atomic clock, 1955.
Caesium atomic clock made by Louis Essen and J.V.L. Parry at the National Physical Laboratory, Teddington, London, 1955.
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.
Sundial-calendar consisting of four surviving parts (including front sundial plate, suspension arm, Moon disc with gear, and arbor with ratchet and two gear wheels). Made in the Byzantine Empire, maker unknown, 400-600. 16 locations are inscribed in Greek on the sundial plate, translated as: Constantinople, Syene, Thebaid, Africa, Alexandria, Antioch, Rhodes, Athens, Sicily, Thessalonika, Rome, Dalmatia, Doclea, Caesarea Sratonis, Palestine, and Ascalon.
Marine chronometer by John Arnold and Son, 1787-1799
Two-day marine chronometer (No 63) by John Arnold and Son, Cornhill, London, 1787-1799.
Barograph clock by Alexander Cumming
Barograph clock made by Alexander Cumming (1731 or 1732-1814), London, England, 1766. It consists of a compensated pendulum regulator clock and a mercury barograph mechanism for measuring changes in air pressure, which are recorded on the circular paper chart around the outside of the dial. Two tubes of mercury are concealed in the fluted wooden columns visible inside the glass trunk door. An ivory cistern and a wood and ivory pen cage run in ivory rollers connecting the pressure-measuring mechanism to the recording dial. The clock is housed in an exuberant carved mahogany case believed to be by the esteemed cabinet-maker Thomas Chippendale. Originally used by Cumming himself, the barograph clock was purchased in around 1814 and used by manufacturing chemist and meteorologist, Luke Howard (1772-1864).
Table clock by Nicholas Vallin
Circular table-clock with calendrical and lunar indications made by Nicholas Vallin in London between 1598 and 1603.
'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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
"Dreadnought" bookmaker's bag by the Richmond Time Recording Co.
"Dreadnought" bookmaker's bag by the Richmond Time Recording Co., Classic Works, Howard St., Birmingham. Patented in 1925
Escape wheel from long-case clock by Fromanteel
Brass anchor escape wheel from long-case clock made by Ahasuerus Fromanteel, London, 1660-1665..
Chronometer watch by Thomas Earnshaw No.498
Chronometer watch by Thomas Earnshaw No.498, with later barrel cover numbered 2829, balance cock and regulator. In 18 ct. gold case hallmarked 1807/8
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.
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.
Clock movement for Shelton regulator clock
Movement for regulator clock with dead beat escapement, inverted grid iron pendulum with steel knife edge pivot on an agate plate and bubble level. Originally made by John Shelton, Shoe Lane, London, 1768-9, with later modifications.
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'
Masterpiece clock from Augsburg, Germany, 1625-1635
Upright table clock, by unknown maker, made in Augsburg, Germany, 1625-1635
Double-dialled longcase clock from Park Green Mill
Double dialled longcase clock from Park Green Mill, Macclesfield, made by E. Hartley, Macclesfield, c. 1810, includes clock and belts, pulleys and lineshafting.
Pulley from long-case clock by Fromanteel
Pulley from long-case clock made by Ahasuerus Fromanteel, London, 1660-1665.
Gear wheel from long-case clock by Fromanteel
Brass gear wheel from long-case clock made by Ahasuerus Fromanteel, London, 1660-1665.
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.
Sundial making tool
Tool for making sundials, unknown maker, France, 1680-1700.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Silver sundial by Hunfrey Cole
Silver altitude sundial made and signed by Humfray Cole, London, 1568-1590. It was made for use in latitude 51°30 secs, in which London is located,
Pair-cased pocket watch in pinchbeck and leather outer casing with verge escapement
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).
Clock dial marked 'Potter, Railway Time', 1840-1880
Clock dial marked "Potter, Railway Time" with two hands, unknown maker, British, 1840-1880
Horizontal sundial in bronze
Horizontal sundial, by assumed to have been made by Thomas Gemini, 1551, with initials W.B. which possibly refers to William Buckley.
Equinoctial ring sundial
Universal equinoctial ring sundial signed "J Gilbert Tower Hill London". English, second half of the 18th century. (B1698)
Lantern clock with verge escapement and rach and snail escapement
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
Cubical polyhedral sundial
German universal cubical sundial in wood with paper scales, signed D. Beringer, compass needle and cover glass missing, c.1780
Column dial by Henry Robert
Column dial by Henry Robert, Horloger, au Palais Royal, paper on wood, early 19th century
Rolex 'Oyster Perpetual' wristwatch, 1931.
Rolex 'Oyster Perpetual' rotor self-winding wrist-watch, lever escapement, in steel case with glass in back, Montres Rolex SA, Geneva, Switzerland, 1931 (see note).
Two-thirds scale copy of the Hampton court astronomical clock dials
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)
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.
Single sand-glass in four pillared wooden mount. Horne Type B. Second half of the 18th century. (B3243)
"Ingersoll" wrist watch with leather strap
"Ingersoll" wrist watch with leather strap, pin pallet escapement and luminous hour hand, 1915
Clock (French) symbolising motive power
Clock (French) symbolising motive power, gilt bronze finish, 19th C. B 1987 with two keys.
Chronometer in Gold Case by Thomas Earnsham, 1795-1810
Gold-cased Chronometer watch no.728 made by Thomas Earnshaw, 1795-1810
Single sand-glass in five pillared wooden mount. 69 minutes. Horne Type B. Second half of the 18th century. (B3184)
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)