Candle clock

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Al-Jazari's candle clock in 1206

The most sophisticated candle clocks known to date, however, were those of Al-Jazari in 1206.[1] It included a dial to display the time and, for the first time, employed a bayonet fitting, a fastening mechanism still used in modern times.[2] Donald Routledge Hill described one of al-Jazari's candle clocks as follows:

The candle, whose rate of burning was known, bore against the underside of the cap, and its wick passed through the hole. Wax collected in the indentation and could be removed periodically so that it did not interfere with steady burning. The bottom of the candle rested in a shallow dish that had a ring on its side connected through pulleys to a counterweight. As the candle burned away, the weight pushed it upward at a constant speed. The automata were operated from the dish at the bottom of the candle.[1]


  • Turner, Anthony J. The Time Museum, Volume I, Time Measuring Instruments; Part 3, Water-clocks, Sand-glasses, Fire-clocks
  1. ^ a b Donald Routledge Hill, "Mechanical Engineering in the Medieval Near East", Scientific American, May 1991, pp. 64-9 (cf. Donald Routledge Hill, Mechanical Engineering)
  2. ^ Ancient Discoveries, Episode 12: Machines of the East, History Channel, retrieved 2008-09-07