Tuesday, March 17, 2009

National Clock and Watch Museum

I recently had the opportunity to tour The National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania (www.nawcc.org). Although to some people, a tour of a clock museum may seem like a complete "waste of time", I was interested in learning about it so I could pass on the information to my son. That is because my son's maternal grandfather, whose hobby was woodworking, made numerous clocks. He fashioned Arkansas-shaped clocks, large wall-hanging clocks with pendulums, and numerous tall case clocks (commonly called Grandfather clocks). Furthermore, my son's paternal grandfather was professionally-trained in the science of watch and clock repair, and founded a business for this purpose that is still in operation . The museum shows the complete history of timekeepers from the first non-mechanical devices such as the hour-glasses shown in the first photograph, to the atomic clock and mass-produced wristwatches of the present.
Most of the greatest and most important clocks ever made have been preserved and exhibited for centuries in museums around the world, and the Pennsylvania museum has more than its share of such priceless treasures. However, I have to admit, I was more intrigued by the whimsical, and unusual clocks on display, such as the one made from glass bottles above, or the one with shoes that really walk on a surface, and cause the timepiece to move forward. It is pictured below.
And I couldn't resist taking a photograph of the "Out of Order" sign for one of the timepiece exhibits (See photo below). Just because a place is the foremost authority in the nation on timekeeping, does not mean it is free of "snags" that cause an important artifact to quit working properly. Fortunately, the "School of Horology" is housed in a building adjacent to the museum. As I mentioned in the blog I wrote about the Sundial Bridge in Redding, California, "horology" is defined as the history, science, and art of timekeeping, as well as, timekeepers. The National Watch and Clock Museum had numerous examples of timekeepers built on the principle of a sundial, including "pocket sundials" for ancient travelers who were not able to stay in one place for hours on end, waiting for the sun to come out, to tell them what time it was! If this subject of unusual timekeeping devices fascinates you, maybe you will want to plan an expedition to the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis (www.mobot.org). Between May and October, they will be showcasing a 20-foot-diameter working clock, created entirely of plant material. It even has a cuckoo bird popping from his home every quarter-hour! They are using such an unusual clock to mark the time of the 150Th anniversary of the founding of the Missouri Botanical Garden. But, getting back to the original subject of The Watch and Clock Museum, I need to point out that they also display data and exhibits on prehistoric timekeeping at Stonehenge. Although I have never been to Stonehenge, I had the privilege of viewing a built-to-scale replica of Stonehenge, that can be found in Washington State along the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Byway.
This visit to The National Watch and Clock Museum, served as a reminder to me, that man will always be measuring time in one way or another. The important thing I need to remember---no matter what the number on the clock says---is what the Bible says in Hosea 10:12 "...it is time to seek the Lord..." Here's wishing you miles (and minutes and hours) of smiles! TriciaPosted by Picasa