Galileo's escapement

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(left) Original drawing from around 1637 of the pendulum clock designed by Galileo, incorporating the escapement. (right) Model of the escapement

Galileo's escapement is a design for a clock escapement, invented by Galileo Galilei.

While observing swinging lamps in the cathedral at Pisa and timing them with his pulse, Galileo realized that their apparent isochronicity could be used for timekeeping. We now know that the pendulum is approximately isochronous only for small amplitudes,[1] but it was nonetheless a vast improvement on the crude verge escapements of the day, keeping time to perhaps 15 minutes in 24 hours.


  1. ^ See note n. 1 in Van Helden, Albert (1995). "Pendulum Clock". The Galileo Project. Rice Univ. Retrieved 2010-11-18.