The Changing Face of Early Modern Time, 1550–1770

Authors: Desborough, Jane

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  • Explores the changing use of clocks and watches from 1550-1770 to offer new insights into early modern perceptions of time
  • Focuses on the design of dials, showing how their shifting functions and appearances are central to knowledge transmission during this period
  • Considers the wider context of literature, emotion and temporality, connecting changing ideas about time with other aspects of early modern culture
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eBook $64.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-15353-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-15352-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book provides a reinterpretation of early modern clock and watch dials on the basis of use. Between 1550 and the emergence of a standard format in 1770, dials represented combinations of calendrical, lunar and astronomical information using multiple concentric rings, subsidiary dials and apertures. Change was gradual, but significant. Over the course of eight chapters and with reference to thirty-five exceptional images, this book unlocks the meaning embedded within these early combinations. The true significance of dial change can only be fully understood by comparing dials with printed paper sources such as almanacs, diagrams and craft pamphlets. Clock and watch makers drew on traditional communication methods, utilised different formats to generate trust in their work, and tried to be help users in different contexts. The calendar, lunar and astronomical functions were useful as a memory prompt for astrology up until the mid-late seventeenth century.  After the decline of this practice, the three functions continued to be useful for other purposes, but eventually declined.

About the authors

Jane Desborough is Curator of Scientific Instruments at the Science Museum in London, where she manages the museum’s Time Measurement collection. She has worked in a curatorial capacity in museums since 2008 and completed her PhD thesis in the History of Science in 2016. She is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers and an Associate Member of the Museums Association.

Reviews

“In this compelling interdisciplinary book, Dr Jane Desborough brings lucid academic analysis to explore the practical world of skilled craftsmanship. Over a couple of centuries, clock dials not only changed their appearance but also carried different information. Focusing on Britain, but with extended European comparisons, she examines over 250 dials to reveal how their multi-functional appearance gradually evolved into a standard format. In a brilliantly original and comprehensive approach, Desborough embeds technological shifts within an extended network of makers and purchasers, techniques and materials, astrology and astronomy.” (Patricia Fara, President of the Antiquarian Horological Society and Emeritus Fellow, Clare College, University of Cambridge, UK)“By showing the ways in which the information conveyed by clock and watch dials changed over time, Jane Desborough’s excellent book reveals and explains the changing needs of their owners and therefore the underlying changes in society and culture. The result is eye-opening, enlightening, and continually fascinating.” (John Henry, Professor Emeritus, University of Edinburgh, UK)

 

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $64.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-15353-3
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-15352-6
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Changing Face of Early Modern Time, 1550–1770
Authors
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-15353-3
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-15353-3
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-15352-6
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XV, 292
Number of Illustrations
5 b/w illustrations, 31 illustrations in colour
Topics