How Do Clock Hands Work?


How Do Clock Hands Work? by ohmyclock.com

Many of you have often wondered how do hand’ clocks work, so today we decided to look into how they actually function to help better inform you on this topic. A clock conventionally uses the energy from an energy source which then uses the energy to move the hands of the clock at the same pace at same time-intervals.

  1. Energy starts off from a power source which is usually in the form of a battery.
  2. The energy then makes the quartz crystal vibrate.
  3. These vibrations are converted into electric pulses at the recognizable speed of 1 every second.
  4. This then turns into mechanical power and moves the gears which then go on to move the hour and second hand as we know it
A Video Elaborating On How Clocks Work

Clocks Ticking: Why Is it?

Ticking is one of the most renowned features of a conventional clock and though there are quite a few clocks that don’t make any kind of ticking sounds that you can buy for yourself, there are still quite a few that we use in our daily lives which are fond of making these conventionally popular sounds. These sounds often raise curiosity in minds of many that what is it that actually makes a clock tick and why is it that it produces. So, today we decided to look into that very aspect of clocks and talk elaborately about it so without further ado, let’s get right to answering the basic crux of this article, Why do Clocks Tick?

The second hand of a conventional analog clock moves and stops every second for a bit, this leads to the small vibrations within the glass of the clock and prompts the “Tick” sound that we are so fond of hearing every so often.

This is the case with quartz clocks that produces a single “tick” sound with every moment. These are the clocks that we usually use at our homes and the ones that are usually run on batteries. However, one very important thing to note is that mechanical clocks ( Not that common nowadays ) do not work like this and in fact, they don’t make one “Tick” sounds but they go on to make two alternate sounds, one a bit sharper than the other and that is exactly where we often get confused and think that the clocks that we use nowadays at our homes also work this way. But this is not the case as most of the clocks that we use at our homes aren’t mechanical in nature but are rather battery-powered clocks which produce only one sound “The Tick Sound”

Are There Two Alternating “Tick” And “Tock” Sounds?

No, the clocks that we use nowadays in our daily routine are battery run quartz clocks that only produce one sound “Tick”. However like we just discussed above, the mechanical clocks ( that are not that common anymore but were a while back like the pendulum clock ) are the ones that produce two alternating sounds “Tick” “Tock”

The actual gears inside the clock move forward and backward while a doubly sided fork is held above them to make them move forward ever so slightly( Illustrated in the GIF above ). When the fork strikes the right side of the gear a slightly sharper sound is created as it engaging the outer side of the spike, which we are conventionally familiar by the name “Tick” and when it strikes on the left side engaging the inner side of the spike producing a comparatively higher based sound which we conventionally

So in case you have a regular quartz battery-run clock, it wouldn’t be wrong to state that your clock only produce a single sound of “tick” and if you think otherwise its basically a result of a psychological effect which has been embedded over our years of hearing the clock and in reality these clocks only produce one sound over and over again and if you focus on the hand of the clock whilst it’s moving try clearly hearing the sound which is being made, you will be able to realize it is one sound “Tick”

Why Do We Use 12 Instead Of 0 On The Clock?

It goes back to the ancient Sumerian/Babylonian base 60 number system. They didn’t have the number zero back then as it hadn’t been invented yet. And hence it was ultimately decided to settle on 60 after some extensive discussions and calculations by the mathematicians of the time. As 60 easily breaks into 2 lots of 30, 3 lots of 20, 12 lots of 5, 4 lots of 15, 2 lots of 15 lots of 2, and so on

This decision proved quite helpful for them in conducting their daily trade as people of the time weren’t mostly educated to deal with fractions and this proved quite helpful. This was precisely the same reason for why 360 degrees were chosen.

So simply put 60 minutes in an hour and 12 blocks of time that we regard as an hour in a day and 12 at night was quite convenient, Moreover this basically is a throwback to the Babylonian system that gave birth to this very concept.

Which Direction Is Clockwise Direction?

This is something that confuses many, so clockwise basically moves from north to east to south to west and then so on and so forth. “Clockwise” and “Counter Clockwise” are two terms that are also often used in the overall contexts in the real world, so knowing their difference can be quite helpful at times

Is Clockwise And Counter-Clockwise Only For Analog Clocks?

Clockwise and counterclockwise have come out of the realm of just clocks and are often used to define motions of certain things as the motion like that of the needle of an analog clock is something that can be related and explained by. And Yes, if you are wondering, analog clocks are majorly the only clocks where you can actually see the conventional “Clockwise” rotation of the clock going on as you see the needle revolving as we said

Who Invented The Phrases “Clockwise” And “Counter-Clockwise”

These weren’t two phases that were actually made and invented by anyone but rather are phrases that eventually came into being when the motion in which the sundial moved was transferred to how the mechanical clocks that were made and the direction in which the time flows on a clock came to be known as “Clockwise” and other direction came to be known as “Counter-Clockwise”

Is There A Difference Between “Anti-Clockwise” And “Counter-Clockwise?

No, there is no difference between “Anti-clockwise” and counter-clockwise” as both of the things refer to the same type of movement. Basically, Anti-clockwise is something that comes from the British English and counter-clockwise in American English, but they are often used interchangeably and mean exactly the same thing so you don’t need to worry about getting confused about them at all

What Is The Meaning Of Anti Clockwise or Counter Clockwise?

There is no meaning to these words and these are just referred to the motion which is opposite to the conventional way in which an analog clock works or ” The Clockwise ” direction, so they are nothing more than just the opposite of the clockwise movement

Why Are Clocks Round In Shape?

The Circular shape is considered linear and is in line with the motion of the hands, as they too have to move in a circular motion ( keeping the same distance from everywhere on the clock. Moreover, as we know the initial clocks humanity made weren’t round not even close. As it was never even a concern to consider the shape of the clock.

As their sole function was and still is to tell time and that is not affected by its shape whatsoever. Some experts do say that the initial shape was decided to be circular because of its symmetry and the overall happy and soothing shape in itself portrays, and some even say that it promotes a lighter mood. On the other hand, others say that there wasn’t any special reason for the clocks to be made this way other then it is not being sharp and just being a bit more convenient.

Lastly, as time has progressed, another reason has merged and that is familiarity & habit, as most of the people out there have grown up with a round clock hanging on the wall. It just subconsciously has become a part of what we call home.

That’s about it for this blog, if you have any further clock/watches-related questions, feel free to use the comment section below. And if you want to read an interesting article on why clocks don’t appear in dreams, we have a great article on just that so do give it a click if you are interested “Why don’t clocks appear in dreams? Clocks and dreams!Opens in a new tab.“. Here is also a link about the history of clocks if you want to give that a look “History of timekeeping devicesOpens in a new tab.

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