Pendulum clocks are a curious type of clock and if you are wondering what they are made out of, we’ve got you covered.
Essentially, the movement of the pendulum clock depends on five main parts, a power source, a gear train, an escapement, a pendulum, and an indicator.
In this article, we’ll go over all the parts which make a pendulum clock, and how it functions.
(If you want to see a list of some of the best Pendulum Clocks “Click Here“)
Parts Of Pendulum Clocks
This is one of the most important parts of a pendulum clock. Pendulum Clocks are generally of two types, mechanical or battery-powered. The battery-powered is, well you probably guessed it, powered by a battery. But we’ll talk in detail about the mechanical type, so let’s get right into it.
Mechanical pendulum clocks make use of potential energy in order to power the clock system. The potential energy is generated by a weight hanging on a cord or chain that turns a pully or a sprocket. This stored energy is then transferred to the gear train. Mechanical pendulum clocks work on the basic principle of conservation of energy. For example, when a clock is wound, the energy is stored in the mainspring. This energy is then transferred to the clock mechanism. This energy only changes form and not quantity, that’s why once wound, the clock has to be wound again for energy later. Click here to learn in detail about pendulum clocks and if they need batteries.
A gear train is a mechanical system that is formed by mounting gears on a frame so that the gear teeth engage. A gear train is used to automate the timekeeping.
There are two major types of gears in pendulum clocks, timekeeping gears, and power gears. Firstly, let’s talk about timekeeping gears, these are used to, well you probably guessed it, keep time, but how do they do it. Timekeeping gears are usually mounted on a little axle. So that the, second hand automatically turns the minute hand at 1/60 of its speed. And the minute hand, similarly, turns the hour hand at 1/60 of its speed. This helps to automate the timekeeping process, but there is still a hurdle left. We have to power the second hand so that it can turn the rest of the hands. But how do we do it? Well, you could hang a weight on the second hand, but that will turn the second hand very quickly. That’s why we need power gear.
Power gears are used to take power from the falling weight and transform it so that the second hand moves only one position on the dial. But, we have another problem as the weight falls, it will keep on accelerating. This will mess up the timekeeping so we need an escapement.
An escapement is quite important in a clock mechanism, for it to function properly. What does an escapement do? It regulates the clock mechanism and makes it so that the second hand moves only one position on the dial when the weight is suspended from the gears. Well, how does it do that? Basically, the pendulum and escapement work together to keep time, as the pendulum swings, the escapement locks and unlocks the part of the mechanism which is driven by the weight.
This repeated locking and unlocking sound is what makes the tick-tock sound of a clock. Essentially, an escapement only lets the mechanism escape once per second.
A pendulum is the main timekeeping element of a pendulum clock. Clock pendulums are usually made out of weights suspended on a wood rod or a metal rod. In better clocks, the weights are usually heavier as it increases the accuracy of a pendulum. The pendulum is kept in its momentum with the help of an escapement. Each time the pendulum swings through its center position, it releases one tooth of the escape wheel. The force of the clock’s mainspring or a driving weight hanging from a pulley, transmitted through the clock’s gear train, causes the wheel to turn, and a tooth presses against one of the pallets, giving the pendulum a short push. The clock’s wheels, geared to the escape wheel, move forward a fixed amount with each pendulum swing, advancing the clock’s hands at a steady rate.
Usually, the pendulum can also be adjusted, mostly with an adjustment nut. Moving it up causes the pendulum to move faster and so the time is increased while moving it down causes the pendulum to go slower and so the time is decreased.
An indicator, more commonly known as a clock dial is used to record how many times the escapement has rotated and hence how much time has passed. This is usually shown with three different hands, a second hand, a minute hand, and an hour hand. Mostly, the second hand is used to rotate all the other hands.
The striking train is used to operate the strike of a gong in chiming clocks. It enables the clock to strike a gong every hour or half an hour. The famous types of chimes are Westminister and Whittington, the less commonly used chimes are as follows: St.Michael’s, Ave Maria, Beethoven.
Hopefully, this article was helpful in answering some of your Pendulum clocks-related questions If you have any further clock-related question at all, 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!“. Here is also a link about the history of clocks if you want to give that a look “History of timekeeping devices“