Water-balance escapement, Chinese, 1088.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 25cm x 32cm

Water-balance escapement, Chinese, 1088.

ScM Photo Studio

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library


Detail of working model (scale 1:6). The original was used in Su Song's astronomical clock-tower of 1088. Su Song (1020-1101) was a Chinese astronomer and inventor who was ordered by the emperor to construct a complex armillary clock. With his advisers, he built a full-scale working model in wood which was tested before the metal parts were cast. The water-balance escapement represents a 'mising link' between earlier water clocks, whose timekeeping depended upon measuring changes in the waterlevel, and the all-mechanical escapement clock developed in Europe towards the end of the 13th century.



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