Steam-Age Tech


a Traveling Technology Workshop

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Salisbuy Clock Mechanism


= Clocks and Time =

From Agricultural To Industrial Time

In modern life it is hard to imagine not being ruled by a precise clock, regardless of time of day or even time of year. This class will explore changing understanding of Astronomy, The Globe, and a variety of Mechanical principles as they were applied to ever-more-accurate methods of keeping time. In turn we will consider how an ever-more accurate clock has changed our view of ourselves, society and the world as well as having been essential to a number of the important advances in science and technology.

Scientific Principles

  • The Solar-System
    • Geocentric / Heliocentric models
    • The polar axis and the seasons
    • Longitude and Latitude
    • Astronomical Instruments
  • Mechanical Principles and Movements
    • Gravity
    • Inertia
    • Gears
    • Pendulum
    • Springs
    • Escapement Mechanisms

Program Outline

[ Seminar Format Ca. 45 minutes ]
[ Workshop Format Ca. 90 minutes ]
Workshop Format has more hands-on time for the participants

Agrarian Time

  • Seasons and Time of day for an agricultural society
  • Ancient Astronomy
    • the Celestial Spheres
    • Correcting "High-School History"
      • Greek discussions of the Spherical Shape of the world
      • Greek Measurements of the Earth's size
      • Viking treatise on the Climactic Zones of the Earth's Sphere

Ancient Time Measurement

  • Chinese Clocks
  • Sun-Dials
  • Roman water Clocks
  • Aztec and Mayan Calendars

Religious Time

  • Regular prayers during the day
  • Judging time of day in cloudy of freezing weather

The Time Measurement

  • Water-Clocks
  • Sand-Clocks

The March of Time

  • 12th Century Al-Jazari - Crankshaft and crank-slider mechanism and escapement [Practical Demo]
  • Weights with an escapement [Practical Demo]
  • 1198 Fire at the abbey of St Edmundsbury - Water-Clock
  • Verge and Foliot Mechanism [Practical Demo]
  • 1386 Salisbury cathedral clock
  • 15th Century - Spring-Driven Clocks
  • 1656 Galileo - Pendulum [Practical Demo]
  • 1675 Huygens & Hooke - Spiral Balance : accurate pocket watches
  • 1714 The Longitude Prize
  • 1761 Harrison - Marine Chronometer
  • 1840 Bain - Electric Clock

[Hands On - Workshop only]

  • Model Clocks and Escapements

Industrial Time

  • Standardized time: the 24 hour day
  • Train Schedules
  • The Factory Work-Day
  • Computer Time

"Timing is Everything"

  • Cars and Machines
  • Communication
  • Computers
  • Scientific Instruments

Page last modified on January 23, 2016, at 03:10 PM

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