Castle clock

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Automatic castle clock of Al-Jazari, 14th century copy.

A castle clock is a clock whose face is mounted outside a castle or perhaps a church tower. They may be elaborate or simple.

Al-Jazari constructed an elaborate clock and described it in his Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices in 1206. It was about 3.3 metres high (11 feet), and had multiple functions alongside timekeeping. It included a display of the zodiac and the solar and lunar paths, and a pointer in the shape of the crescent moon which travelled across the top of a gateway, moved by a hidden cart and causing automatic doors to open, each revealing a mannequin, every hour.[1][2] It was possible to re-program the length of day and night daily in order to account for the changing lengths of day and night throughout the year, and it also featured five robotic musicians who automatically play music when moved by levers operated by a hidden camshaft attached to a water wheel. Other components of the castle clock included a main reservoir with a float, a float chamber and flow regulator, plate and valve trough, two pulleys, crescent disc displaying the zodiac, and two falcon automata dropping balls into vases.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Howard R. Turner (1997), Science in Medieval Islam: An Illustrated Introduction, p. 184. University of Texas Press, ISBN 0-292-78149-0.
  2. ^ Donald Routledge Hill, "Mechanical Engineering in the Medieval Near East", Scientific American, May 1991, p. 64-69. (cf. Donald Routledge Hill, Mechanical Engineering)
  3. ^ Salim Al-Hassani (13 March 2008). "How it Works: Mechanism of the Castle Clock". FSTC. Retrieved 2008-09-06.