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About Time Pieces

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"Ihe history of the art of clock and watch making is an interesting one, and I often think how few of the many curious spectators and purchasers who stand daily around my Windows under.stand any thin about it" The individual who gave utterance to the above expression of opinión was the proprietor of an old-established jewelry, wateh and clock store in one of main thoroughfares of the city. 'The invention of a clock driven by a weight is. by many, attributed to a famous Archdeacon of Verona in the ninth century," hecontinued, "and by others it is credited to Gerbert, afterward Pope Sylvesterll., who made the clock of Magdeburg in 996 when he was an Archbishop. My belief, however, is that the invention of this prelate can not be set down in the category of clocks, for it is described in a very old history of inventions- Beckmann's I believe- as a 'time-piece wliich was set by looking at the pole star through a "tube.' There is no doubt, however, that genuine clocks had been invented before the commencement of the twelfth century. It may seem strange, but it is nevertheleu true, that watch making is the outgrowth or offspring of the oider but ruder trade of blacksmithing. "Although there is no watch-makers' union in Chicago, or indeed any city injhe United States that I have ever héárd of, it is nevertheless a fact that away back in the reign of Henry VIII. of hngland thero existed in London a watchmakers' union which was one of the most powerful and famous of the trade guilds of that city. "These ancient guilds originated, I believe, in the old Saxon law, which demanded sureties from every 'freemau' of the age of fourteen years for bis good behavior. This custom, or law, which survived under Norman rule, compelled artisans and workmen of every description to combine into associations organized to meet expenses iniDOsed unon memhprs frr i J-it i.m rf i uif riy.-ii.i4 uj"'n luciiiicia iui viuialiuil UI the law. The guilds were divided into two branches or seetions, one of Whioh was denominated the ecclesiastical and the other the mercautile. The ecclesiastical guilds were under the guidance and conuol or ctjurchmen, and had for their principal object the advanceinent of religión and the cause of charity. "The mercantile branch contained all the trades associations, and had eertain rules for the improveraent of the particular craft to which the members belonged. Ancient though the watch-makers' guild is acknowli-dLd to have been, the re were many whose inception was many generations older. Among these may be mentioned that of the weavers, which was the oldest trade guild in the world, its charter dating from the reign of Henry II. The skinners', bakers and fishmongers' guilds were also much more ancient than that of the watch-makers'. Twenty years before the watch-makers were chartered, in 1641, they were incorporated with the blacksniiths. "Although in the international exhibition held in Paris in 1878 the French and Swiss exhibits formed fully fourfifths of the many hundred specimens of workmanship in the watch-making department, there is no doubt that America is rapidly coming to the front in the manufacture of this as in all other articles. At that exhibition the other countries which entered the lists with France and Switzerland in the horologe department were Kngland, Austria, Spain, Denmark, Belgiura, Holland, Sweden, Italy, Kussia and the United States. "Among the many curiosities in clock manufacture sent in from Switzerland were a variety of watches whïch would run for one month after being wound. A clock was sent thore from Paris which was said to be able to go for lifty years, but this -yas totally eclipsed by a time-piecefrora Geneva in Switzerland, which was solemnly guaranteed to be capable of running for a thousand years. There is no one alive at present able to say whether this latter assurance has ever been carried into effect, and life was too short to wait to see whether the lifty-year promise would be fulfilled. The Austrians had a pneumatic apparatus that would work dozens, hundreds and even thousands of docks ia all paris of the city at the same time. "The French showed a watch that told the days of the week and themonth and marked the changes of the moon. They also exhibited time-pieces that would sound an alarm by the discharge of a pistol or work out problems of latitude and longitude. Among the curious pieces of handicraft turned out by these artista was an extraordinarily small watch which was exactly the size of a dime. This little article could strike the hours and half-hours in a


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News