Press enter after choosing selection

Several Remarkable Time Keepers Of Ancient Times

Several Remarkable Time Keepers Of Ancient Times image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

About a cantury bofore tbc Christinn era a Roman nauied Scipio Naaico wade hiuiself fatuou by inventing a water clock. Tbis was a small glass vessel nith a hole in the bottom just large enougli for water to ooze out, drop by drop. The hours were marked on tbe sideiiof the vessel. A enk with a pin stuck in it was put into the water, and when the vessel was f uil the pin pointed to 1 o'clock, and the next hour to 2 o'clock, and so on. The vessel was so arranged that the water would all run out in 12 bours. Shortly after this, a few bun dred years or so, sand glassea began to ra in vogue. They were ou tbe .ame prinriple as the water clocks, and areofluasionally seen even at tLis day. The fi rat clocks that were inade were jtii te rude affairs. For a long time pulleys were used instcad of the pendulum. Ptrelficus, who lived about the ninth century, is tbought to havo been the inventor of clooks workcd by wheels. It is said that tbe Uso of the pendulum was suggestod by the vibration of a chandelier in a cathedral. As early as the ninth century Haroun-al-ltasohid .-ent a very elegant clock to ( h.nvmagne, Suiall belja were attached to tb is wonderful mechanism, and twelve doora opened, eaoh at tbc hmir it reprosented, and continued oponed uulil Doort, when twelve kuights came fortb, cach irom one of these doors, paraded arouud the dial, and eaoh, gojng back into his own duur, shut hiinself in. Watches wore first inventcd in Nureuiburs: by Peter Hale. Tbey used to be called Nuirmburg eggs beeause tbcy were oval in shape. It took niany years to tiring tbcm to their present state of porfejtion, fthd lo icnclur them the comnioD eoávMJanca o t' t lic pineut, day. Longtellow, in bis " IIyj)crion," telje us that on the belfry of the Kauthaus, in Coblentz, is a huge head, with a hrazen helnict and a beard, and, whenever the clock Strikes, at each stroke of the hamuu r this giant's hoad opeas its great jaws and suiites its teet together, as if it Would say, "Time was - time is - time is past ! " This fiifure is known in uil the country round as "the man in the custom-house. " Another remarkable clix;k is fouml at Pregue, near an old cburch. Tbe clock itBlf tonus part of the original tower, while the face of the dial is exposed to the street. The dial is six or eight feet in diameter, and has a great number of' hands, rucordiug huur-', minutes, seconds, days, months, ycars, and even centuries. The dial is set in an elabórate frauiowork, about cight feet high and tilteen long ; and the metal framewc.rk is ornamented with nianycuriou and quaint devices. One of these is connected with the striking of the hour. In Venicemay be found anotbcr wonderfnl clock. On the dial-plato of tliis, in St. Mark'n oathedral, the twenty-fuur hours are marked with the signsof the zodiacand the phasesof the moon. Above tbfa is tho iMadonna, sitting in statu upin a platform lictween two doors. Ou grand religious festivals the door on the right of the Virgin opens, and out walks an angel with a big trumpet, which he blows, and then, bowing to the Madonna, passes on. He is followed by three men, representingthe three wise men of the East, one of whoin is as black as night. These all pause and bow before the Virgin, and then pass through the door on the left, whicb closes after them. On the platform is a huge bell, beside which stand two giant figures, who strike the hours wilh sledge hammers, while above all is the lion of St. Mark with outstretched wings. Io an old record is found the followiug account of a remarkable .Jananoe timo. kaeper. This clock, n a fíame tlirec feet high and five loog, represented a noon landscape of great loveliness. In the fore ground were plum and cherry-trees, and rich planta in l'ull bloom ; in the rear a hill, gradual in ascent, from which flowed a cascascade, adtuirably imitated in crystal. Frotu this pointa thread-like streatu glided along, enciroliug in its wiudings, rock and tloy lsland, bui prenuntly losrng iseU 'in ,i far-ofF stretch of' woodland. Iu the sky turned a golden sun, indicating as it passed the striking hours, which were all ruarked upon the frame below, whero a sl.jwly-creeping tortoise served as a hand. A bird of exquisito plumage, re.sting upon a plumtree braneh, by its fringa procTaiined the expiration of each hour. Wlien the song ceased a mouse sprung froin a grotto near by, and, ruuuing over the hill, luistily disappeared." Bat it is said that Droz, a mechanie of GJeneva, produced a clock that excelled all othors in its marvelousness. On t were peated a negro, a shephord, and a dog. When the clook struck, the shepherd playcd six times on hi.s flutc, and the dog approached and fawned upon uim. The King of Spain came to see this wonderful invontion and was delighted beyond measure. "The gentleness of ruy dog," said Droz, "is hia least merit; il' your Majesty touch one of the apples which you see in the shepherd's basket you will admire the anitnal lideluy." The King took ati apple, upmi which the dog flew at hi.s hand, barking so loudly and so naturally that another dog which had .como into the room began to hark also. The courtiers becaine terrified, thinking tliis be an affair of witchcraft anJ, cro.-.sinti tliemselves. hastily departed. Only one ventured to remain, and Droz re quested him to ask the negro what time it was. He did so in Spnnish, but received no reply. Droz remarked that the negro had not learned Spanish, and the question was repeated in PYenob, when the negro iuiiin' liately replied. This frightened the questioner also quite out of his wits, and he, ino.hoata hasty retreat, sure that the whole thing must be of the devil.