A clockmaker is an artisan who makes and repairs clocks. Since almost all clocks are now factory-made, most modern clockmakers only repair clocks. Modern clockmakers may be employed by jewellers, antique shops, and places devoted strictly to repairing clocks and watches. Clockmakers must be able to read blueprints and instructions for numerous types of clocks and time pieces that vary from antique clocks to modern time pieces in order to fix and make clocks or watches. The trade requires fine motor coordination as clockmakers must frequently work on devices with small gears and fine machinery.
Originally, clockmakers were master craftsmen who designed and built clocks by hand. Since modern clockmakers are required to repair antique, handmade or one-of-a-kind clocks for which parts are not available, they must have some of the design and fabrication abilities of the original craftsmen. A qualified clockmaker can typically design and make a missing piece for a clock without access to the original component.
Origins and specialities
The earliest use of the term clokkemaker is said to date from 1390, about a century after the first mechanical clocks appeared. From the beginning in the 15th century through the 17th century clockmaking was considered the "leading edge", most technically advanced trade existing. Historically, the best clockmakers often also built scientific instruments, as for a long time they were the only craftsmen around trained in designing precision mechanical apparatus. In one example, the harmonica was invented by a young German clockmaker, which was then mass-produced by another clockmaker, Matthias Hohner.
Prior to 1800 clocks were entirely handmade, including all their parts, in a single shop under a master clockmaker. Examples of these complex movements can be seen in the many longcase clocks constructed in the 16th and 17th centuries. By the 19th century, clock parts were beginning to be made in small factories, but the skilled work of designing, assembling, and adjusting the clock was still done by clockmaking shops. By the 20th century, interchangeable parts and standardized designs allowed the entire clock to be assembled in factories, and clockmakers specialized in repair of clocks.
As the art of making clocks became more widespread and distinguished, guilds specifically for this trade emerged around the sixteenth century. One of the first guilds developed in London, England, known as the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers; the group formed after a small number of foreign-trained clockmakers spent time working in London. A requirement of joining the guild was to practise their craft and gain as much experience as possible, along with joining one of many other trade guilds, such as the Blacksmiths, Stationers, or Drapers Company. There are many guilds where clockmakers meet to buy, sell and get clocks to repair from customers, the IWJG is one of the most prominent in the world.
Early clockmakers fashioned all the intricate parts and wheelwork of clocks by hand, using hand tools. They developed specialized tools to help them.
- Balance Truing Caliper: This device was used in fashioning the wheels and gearwork of the clock, to make sure the wheel, particularly the balance wheel was balanced and circular. The pivots of the wheel were mounted in the caliper. An index arm was moved next to the edge and the wheel was spun to see if the edge was true.
- Die/Screw Plate: The die plate was used to cut threads on small screws. It had a number of threaded die holes of different sizes for making different threads. A piece of wire was inserted in a hole and turned to cut a thread on the end. Then a head would be formed on the other end of the wire to make a screw.
- File: Hardened steel files were used to shape the metal before it was used to make and fit wheels or plates. There were many variations of files.
- Rivet Extracting Pliers: Made of brass or steel, rivet extracting pliers were used to remove rivets from assorted clock parts.
- Jeweler’s Piercing Saw: The blade of the saw was released by undoing the thumbscrew adjacent to the handle. To start an interior cut, a hole was drilled and the blade was inserted and reattached to the saw. This device was popular among clock makers to repair the ends of clock hands.
- Staking tool: An iron vertical plunger was used with an array of stakes for placing rollers and balanced wheels on staffs.
- Turns: The "turns" was a small bow-operated lathe used for furbishing parts and for working gear blanks to size. During use, the device was clamped in a vise and the worker held a cutting or polishing tool on a tee-shaped tool rest with one hand, and shifted the bow back and forth to spin the part.
- Cross Peen Riveting Hammer: The flat end of the tool was for general use, whereas the carved peen end was used for flattening rivet heads. This tool was used for forging, riveting, striking steel, etc.
The craft of making clocks began around the Babylonian times and the craft of clockmaker is still common. In the past, becoming a clockmaker involved apprenticeship or attendance at a clock making or watchmaking school. Some countries, such as Denmark, require apprenticeship with a master clock or watch maker, which can last up to four years. After attending a clock or watch making school and obtaining an apprenticeship, a written test and bench exam may be required to gain certification.
There are many schools around the world dedicated to teaching people how to make and repair clocks.
- Australia, VIC, Australian Watchmaking School, Ringwood
- Belgium, Technicum Noord-Antwerpen, Antwerp
- Canada, Ecole National D'Horlogerie, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec
- Denmark, Den Danske Urmagerskole, Ringsted
- Finland, The Finnish School of Watchmaking, Espoo
- France, Lycée professionnel Jean Jaurès, Rennes
- Germany, Flüthe Uhrseminaren, Telgte
- Germany, Hessische Uhrmacherschule, Hessenpark
- Germany, Mecanicus, Ohmden, seminars for collectors and enthusiasts
- Ireland, Irish/Swiss Institute of Horology, Dublin
- Netherlands, De Vakschool, Schoonhoven
- Spain, Institut Politecnic de Formació Professional Mare de Déu de la Mercè, Barcelona
- Switzerland, CFPT - Ecole d'horlogerie
- Switzerland, CIFOM - Centre intercommunal de formation des Montagnes neuchâteloises
- Switzerland, Ecole Technique de la Vallee de Joux, Le Sentier
- Switzerland, Watchmakers of Switzerland Tech. & Ed. Program (WOSTEP), Neuchatel
- UK, Birmingham City University, BHI Certificates and HND in Horology
- UK, British Horological Institute Seminars & Distance Learning Course
- UK, Quality Time Clock Courses, Near Pulborough, West Sussex
- UK, West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, Antique Clock Conservation & Restoration
- USA, AWCI Bench Courses
- USA, AWCI Continuing Education
- USA, Bishop State Community College, Mobile, AL
- USA, Career Preparation Center Horology Department, Sterling Heights, MI
- USA, Gem City College School of Horology, Quincy, IL
- USA, Jones County Jr. College Horology Department, Ellisville, MS
- USA, Lititz Watch Technicum, Lititz, PA
- USA, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee, WI
- USA, NAWCC Field Suitcase Workshops
- USA, NAWCC School of Horology, Columbia, PA
- USA, NorWest Voc’Tec, Seattle, WA, a school teaching both watch and clock repair for students at all levels
- USA, Oklahoma St. University Watchmaking & Microtechnology, Okmulgee, OK
- USA, Paris Junior College Horology Department, Paris, TX
- USA, Saint Paul College Micro Mechanical Technology/Watchmaking, St. Paul, MN
- USA, York Time Institute, York, PA
Clockmaker is also the name of several movies.
During the 1800s and 1900s, clocks or watches were carried around as a form of flaunting social status. They were also a way of instilling a sense of time regulation for work in the budding industrial market.
In 2004, Jim Krueger wrote a comic book entitled The Clock Maker, published by German publisher Image Publishing, that focuses on the life of a clock maker.
Artist Tony Troy creates the Illustration titled "The Clockmaker" in 2003 for his Broadway musical "The Fluteplayer's Song" http://www.tonytroyillustrations.com/catalog/i2.html
- Udo Adelsberger, Germany
- John Arnold, United Kingdom
- Johann Baptist Beha, Germany
- Ferdinand Berthoud, France & Switzerland
- Abraham Louis Breguet, France & Switzerland
- Achille Brocot, France
- Martin Burgess, United Kingdom
- Joost Bürgi, Switzerland
- Konstantin Chaykin, Russia
- William Clement, United Kingdom
- Samuel Coster, Netherlands
- Aaron Lufkin Dennison, United Kingdom
- Giovanni de Dondi, Italy
- Richard Donisthorp, United Kingdom
- Hans Düringer, Germany
- John Ellicott, United Kingdom
- George Graham, United Kingdom
- John Harrison, United Kingdom
- Peter Henlein, Germany
- Christiaan Huygens, Netherlands
- James Ivory, United Kingdom
- Antide Janvier, France
- Mikulas of Kadan
- Franz Ketterer, Germany
- J. B. Joyce & Company, United Kingdom
- Johann Andreas Klindworth, Germany
- Joseph Knibb, United Kingdom
- Jean-Antoine Lépine, France
- David Rittenhouse, USA
- Pierre LeRoy, France
- Jens Olsen, Denmark
- Timothy Mason (clockmaker), United Kingdom
- William Potts & Sons, United Kingdom
- Rasmus Sørnes, Norway
- Adolf Scheibe, Germany
- Smith of Derby Group, United Kingdom
- Eli Terry, USA
- Thomas Tompion, United Kingdom
- Thwaites & Reed, United Kingdom
- Sigmund Riefler, Germany
- Benjamin Vulliamy, United Kingdom
- Richard of Wallingford, United Kingdom
- Simon Willard, USA
- John Whitehurst, United Kingdom
- Su Song, China
- Lazar the Hilandarian, late 14th- and early 15th century Serbia and Russia
- David Hare (1774-1842), Scottish philanthropist and pioneer of modern European Education in India
- Tim Hunkin (made the London Zoo Clock and the Southwald Water Clock) United Kingdom http://timhunkin.com/
- Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH
- British Horological Institute
- Worshipful Company of Clockmakers
- Marine chronometer
- Chronometer watch
- List of clock manufacturers
- National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors
- "Clock". Encyclopedia of Antiques. Old and Sold Antique Marketplace. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
- Mones, Richard Ann; George White (2012). "Worshipful Company of Clockmakers". Antiques and Fine Art magazine. AntiquesAndFineArt.com website. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
- Carla, Ojha (2002). "Tools of the Clockmaker". Highlights of Past Exhibits. Museum of Early Trades and Crafts website. Retrieved August 2, 2012.