Sunday, November 28, 2010

WHY DO CLOCKS ROTATE CLOCKWISE?



Have you ever wondered why clocks rotate to the right rather than to the left? This standard for the rotation of clock hands has become an everyday part of our lives as we regularly refer to turning things clockwise and counter-clockwise. The standard evolved about 800 years ago as clock makers imitated the motion of shadows as they moved across traditional sundials. Early clock makers hailed from the Northern Hemisphere where shadows on sundials moved from the West to East as the day progressed. Thus when the clock was first created, the hands moved “West to East” through noon (the top of the hour), and that direction eventually became known as ‘clockwise.’
The earliest sundials known from archaeological records are obelisks (3500 BC) and shadow clocks (1500 BC) from ancient Egypt and Babylon. For the traditional sundial that is typically in use today, the sundial’s triangular blade, called a gnomon, must point towards true North as opposed to the north magnetic pole, and the gnomon’s horizontal angle must equal the sundial's geographical latitude.
The first clocks using hands that rotated across the face of the clock are believed to have originated in Europe in the 13th century, but clocks did not become largely popular until almost 400 years later. That’s when the need for the common person to 'know what time it is' began to emerge – in conjunction with the Industrial Revolution, which started in the late 18th century. It then became important for large workforces of people to know when to report to work and to keep track of hours worked.
In today’s deadline-driven and appointment-driven world, some people have become over dependent on knowing what time it is. Without a doubt, it’s critical to know the precise, accurate time, particularly when it comes to syncing computers and other electronic devices on which your business depends to operate effectively.