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meeting place of loving hearts

Town clock

Nowadays, town clock is the meeting place where thousands of loving hearts are throbbing every day while waiting for their lovers.

Long, long time ago stars and flowers, sun and poles played the role of “clock”. Such role also belonged to the men, whose duties were to inform people on the squares that the midday had come. Such system was used both in Ancient Greece and in Ancient Rome. People marched in step with time without such convenient and accustomed device as a clock. For example, in Russia bell’s strokes and gun volleys announced time. A Greek philosopher Aristotel’ grieved that “time is the most unknown thing among all others, because nobody knows what it is and how to run it.”

Clock’s appearance became a special page in human history where the names of such great masters as Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), Christian Huygens (1629-1695), Lazar’ Serbin (the beginning of the 15th century), I. Kulibin (1735-1818) will be famous forever.

Clock’s inventors solved the problem in different ways, that’s why people had a great choice of clock. Sun-dial and sand-glass were spread most of all, however, water clock were also well known. But neither could compete with the popularity of the mechanic clock. Its appearance gave birth to different legends and is connected with Byzantium (the 6th century BC).

Gradually, guns and town criers, who proclaimed midday’s coming, were replaced by tower clock, which became the indispensable attribute of city life. Tower clock took the honorary place on different squares. It is considered that the first mechanic clock worked on the weight traction was invented by the monk Herbert for Magdeburg city in 996.

In Russia mechanic tower clock appeared in 1404 in Moscow. The monk Lazar’ Serbin fixed it on the tower of the Kremlin built of white stone. A chronicler wrote that a clock mechanism “stroke the bell every hour, measuring and counting night and day hours”. Later such unique devices appeared on the Tainitsky Gates, the Savour’s Gates and the Trinity Gates of the Kremlin.

Russian clock differed from modern clock till the beginning of the 18th century. Its dial was divided into 17 segmentations (instead 12). In 1704 according to the order of Peter I Russia went over to the European calendar and old clock were replaced by new clock.

It is well known that in 1721 a wooden belfry of the Petropavlovsk Church was decorated with the first tower clock in St. Petersburg, in 1721 a metalworker Gerasim Ivanov and Corporal Pimen Kulikov fixed such clock under the needle of the Tower of the Admiralty. Later, in 1764, some clock masters were invited to St.  Petersburg from Berlin and a clock factory began to work on Vasil’evsky Island.

Such town tower clock as Kremlin Clock on the Savour’s Tower in Moscow, Big Ben in London, Astronomical Clock in Prague are known all over the world.

In the 19th century electric clock tried to compete with mechanic one as quartz and quantum clock in our days. It 1912 138 electric clock bought in Germany were fixed everywhere in Moscow and became very popular soon. Town clock turned to the meeting place where thousands of loving hearts were throbbing every day while waiting for their lovers.

When underground appeared, metro clock became the meeting place for many people.

All Muscovites know about the clock in the International Post-Office, sun-dial in the building of History Archives Institute, the clock of the Central Puppet-Show, which plays a well-known Russian song in the afternoon (the device was made by engineer V.Kolmanson)

Signs of the zodiac adorn the clock of the Kazan' Railway Station Building in Moscow, the clock of the Station Building in Sochi and in the blacksmith's market in St. Petersburg   


Девичник. 2001- 2006.
  Авторский журнал. 
© "Девичник/ Devichnick", 20012006.
© Оформление, текст, фотоматериалы Молотилова Л. К., 20012006.
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