Facts about Clocks: Facts that might surprise you!!


Clocks have proved to be a great blessing on us. it has helped us grow by conducting better experiments, by truly scheduling our day, assigning time, and overall becoming more productive. Humanity took centuries to stumble upon viewing time the way we do nowadays. When humanity was still a bit young we used to mark time by the rising and setting of the sun. And a month by the waxing and waning of the moon.

But as we grew we built better and more precise ways of telling time. And even dug our way to Atomic clocks, which is a clock so accurate that has an expected error of only 1 second in over 100 million years. Moreover, this is the clock that helps the GPS system keep running and for the internet to work the way it does. So today we here at ohmyclock decided to look into some interesting facts about clocks, without further ado, let’s get into it

People used to use the suns and stars for reference as the time before there were any clocks


“There is an alarm clock that keeps on making sound and keeps running around until you run after it and shut it down. This is a great alarm clock for anyone who just can’t help pressing that snooze button. Here is a link if you want to check it out ” Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels (Original)Opens in a new tab.” Down below is a pic

A picture of the dancing alarm clock to better elaborate Facts about Clocks
Facts about Clocks


The most accurate clock ever built is the strontium clock. Which is accurate to within a second over 15 billion years.


The first atomic clock used ammonia atoms, was heated and shot out of a copper pipe. Though this proved that the concept of atomic clocks could work, it never was used for timekeeping.

“Artist Siren Elise Wilhelmsen designed a clock that knits a scarf every year, interesting right!

“The invention of the atomic clock also gave us another beautiful concept. It proved that the higher you live above sea level, the faster you age. Another thing that came through with the help of relativity

The first alarm clock was invented by Levi Hutchins of New Hampshire and this was back in 1787. This has a darker history than in plain sight as the founder was killed at 4:05 one morning by his own wife according to some reports”

The first alarm clocks only rang at 4 AM, and this was the very reason that farmers were the very first group who rose the demand of this newly introduced product


“In 2008, a second was added to every atomic clock on earth simultaneously. This was to synchronize the atomic clock’s time with the Earth’s rotation. More interestingly, we did not turn the clocks by a second by turning them off for one. But rather, the earth adjusted itself as the rotational speed of earth slows down by two milliseconds every day. What causes this you ask? Well, magnetic storms, solar winds, resistance from its own surface. And most importantly of all through the moon’s gravity and the effect it has on it”

“There are clocks called Astronomical clocks that display astronomical information to whoever that takes a glance. It tells information like the relative position of the sun, the moon, and sometimes even major planets. The clock uses Zodiacs to represent months. These Zodiacs are present inside the time dial. Also, to project the movement of the earth, the clock usually features the time dial in the center of the clock. If you want to know more about these clocks, we have an article on just them. So do give it a look if you’re interested “What is an Astronomical Clock? All about themOpens in a new tab.

A picture of the prague astronomcial clock to better elaborate Facts about Clocks
Facts about Clocks



“It’s not only potatoes that can power batteries regardless of what most kids think and experiment. As lemons also come with this innate power”. Hence, having a couple of fruits and veggies can always come in handy… lol

“There is a special clock called “The Christian Alarm Clock”. Which will make sure you are up in time for church each Sunday. There aren’t any other religiously oriented clocks that we know of”

Moreover, there is also a stripper pole alarm clock that comes with a girl who dances whenever the alarm clock rings.”


“How about a Christmas gift for the man who has everything. A. Complete clock with exotic music, flashing lights, and a girl spinning on a pole. The perfect item to get you up in the morning if that’s your thing”

“There is an alarm clock available on Amazon that creates an illusion of dusk and dawn to help you sleep and wake up. Many Psychologists have also testified for it. And many people have found it to be helpful.” Here is the link if you want to check it out ” Philip’s wake up lightOpens in a new tab.  “

A picture of philip's wake up light to better elaborate Facts about Clocks
Facts about Clocks

The French word “Cloche” is the root word for the clock and means bell.


“There is a possibility of an atomic clock that will keep us exact inline with the Universe. How will this be done? Spoiler, things are about to get a bit technical now. The researchers at the University of Nevada and the University of Georgia propose that we could use a laser to rearrange pieces of an atom. So that we would be able to use a neutron to act as our pendulum/ oscillating machine. Rather than using an electron that we use now. This would mean the formation of an atomic clock that will be 100 times more accurate than any we have. And who knows what doors of opportunity that will open”

“For those who have trouble sleeping researchers say that 1 week of camping, without electronics resets our biological body clock. And synchronizes our melatonin hormones with sunrise and sunset.”


“Here is another interesting fact, “o’clock” is a contraction of “stroke of the clock”. Moreover, it comes from 15th-century references to medieval mechanical clocks.”

“Surprisingly, clockwise and counterclockwise weren’t called by these names in the start. Clockwise and counterclockwise were originally sunrise and widdershins before clocks were common.”

“When you look at a clock, and the second hand seems to freeze for a moment, your brain is actually generating a false memory. And your perception of time stretches slightly backward. This effect is called chronostasis.”


“With the invention of the pendulum clock in 1656, Christiaan Huygens increased the best accuracy of clocks from 15 minutes deviation a day to around 15 seconds a day”


“An Institute in Colorado created a clock so accurate it won’t lose/gain a second in 20 million years. This is the clock used for internet time.”

“Big Ben is the name of the largest of the five bells which hang within the clock. And not the name of the landmark clock.”

The Big Ben clock tower in London uses Pennies to adjust it’s time. To elaborate, a single penny can change the pendulum’s center of mass and alter the time by 0.4s per day.”

France once tried simplifying time by using a decimal clock, in which there were only 10 hours in a day.


“Did you know that there was a whole profession that revolved around what the alarm clock do for us right now. Yes! people were paid to wake up people. This was a profession called a knocker-upper who would go around and knock on your door until you woke up.”

“A massive clock is being constructed in the mountain of East Texas which is a hundred feet tall. It is designed to withstand the test of time and expected to tick uninterrupted for over 10,000 years.”

Due to changes in local gravity, a pendulum clock accurate at sea level will lose around 16 seconds per day if moved to an altitude of 4000 feet. If you want to know more about why Pendulum clock stops during an earthquake we have a whole article written on just that. So do give it a look if you’re interested “Why do Pendulum Clocks Stop During An Earthquake?Opens in a new tab.


Ever wondered what the definition of second was? Well, the official definition of a second is 9,192,631,770 cycles of the Cesium atoms resonant frequency, and the NIST-F1 cesium atomic clock can produce a frequency so precise that its time error per day is about 0.03 nanoseconds, meaning the clock would lose one second in 100 million years.”

“There was a scientist that proposed the idea of a flower clock. Here is more : Scientist Linnaeus proposed a flower clock based on the characteristic times of petal openings and closings for various species of flowers. If such a garden was built, it would be possible to tell the time of day just by looking out in the garden.

“The clocks’ clockwise movement was designed to imitate the way a shadow on a sundial in the Northern hemisphere as it moves along as the day passes.”


 “All 24 GPS satellites are equipped with atomic clocks capable of getting the time stamp to a location to the 100 billionth of a second.”

“Atomic clocks aboard GPS satellites are programmed to compensate for time dilation due to General Relativity. Otherwise, after just one day, GPS devices would show coordinates that would be off by around 10Km.

“As you know it takes a bit less than 24-hours for the earth to revolve around its axis. And it is due to these irregularities in Earth’s rotation speed that clocks sometimes strike 23:59:60 to stay in sync with a day’s real duration, essentially creating minutes with 61 seconds.”


“People also used to use water to tell time in the ancient time. To elaborate, some amount of water was put in a vessel. That was allowed to escape through a hole in the bottom. The time determined varied according to the size of the vessel and the hole made at the bottom. We wrote an article on them too, so do give them a look if you’re interested “What Is A Water Clock And How Does It Work?”

A picture of an ancient water clock to better elaborate Facts about Clocks
Facts about Clocks

“Fun fact about Basketball: Until the shot clock was introduced, some NBA players used to literally sit on the ball to keep their lead and just wait for time to run out.”

“Ever wondered when the time zones were established. Well in the USA, time zones as we know them were first established by the railroad industry during 1883. Before that, every town kept its own time based on the sunrise and using a central clock. This made scheduling trains nearly impossible, necessitating a standardized time.”

“Telephone companies have their own atomic clocks so as to keep their computers in exact deliberate sync with each other”


“The clock industry is still flourishing & running even when most people use their phones for telling time. Ever wondered why? Well some researchers say that a big reason for this is because we like to look at and assign specific functions to specific things”

“Be careful while gifting a clock to a Chinese friend. As in China, if you gift a clock to someone that it signifies the end of the relationship or even the end of the receiver’s life. A clock is one of their unlucky objects.”

“In the late 18th century, the British government imposed a hefty tax on every clock in use. Even the ones in private homes under the term ‘Parliament Clock Tax’.”

“In 2007 a group broke into the French Pantheon and spent a year repairing its antique clock. When the building admin found out he pressed charges and tried to hire someone to break the clock again.”

“A simple test involving asking a patient to draw the face of a clock is used as a screening tool for Alzheimer’s. And some other types of dementia.”


Surprisingly, we also used to use candles to tell time, this was a bit after the Water clocks, in case you were curious. Moreover, if you want to know how it works, Here is how it worked: As the candle burnt down through the melting of the wax whilst the passing of the day. The time would be determined by seeing how much the candle has already burnt and which mark it has crossed. If you want to know more about them we have an article written on them too. “Candle Clock: All you need to know about itOpens in a new tab..

A picture of the candle clock to better elaborate Facts about Clocks
Facts about Clocks

“Due to changes in local gravity, a pendulum clock accurate at sea level will lose around 16 seconds per day if moved to an altitude of 4000 feet.”


“A simple test involving asking a patient to draw the face of a clock is used as a screening tool for Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.”

“The French inventor Antoine Redier was the first to patent an adjustable mechanical alarm clock, in 1847, 60 years later.”

“Remember Hourglasses, they were used for over a century by voyagers for guiding them. Here is how they work:It is a device that consists of two glass bulbs which are vertically connected with a narrow neck. The neck allows some amount of sand to pass through the upper glass to the lower glass. Moreover, the upper and lower glasses are exactly alike, so the sandglass would measure the exact same time regardless of its orientation, up or down. If you want to know more about them we have an article on them too. “Hourglass/ Sandglass Clock: Everything there is to knowOpens in a new tab.

Facts about Clocks

Hopefully, this article was intriguing and enlightened you with some interesting clock related facts. Moreover, for some more interesting articles about clocks stay tuned to ohmyclock. And feel free to suggest topics or ask any clock-related question in the comment section below

AK Iqbal

A University of London’ student with a passion for writing. Clocks have always intrigued me and the importance that they have in our lives is way beyond phenomenal. So, on this site, I write everything about clocks, everything from answering any clock-related queries that you might have along with recommending some of my favorite clocks accordingly. Moreover, I will also be conducting some researches on clock related topics and sharing the things that I learn. So stay tuned to ohmyclock for all the fun clocks related content

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