Why Clocks Run Clockwise & Some That Don't

Why Clocks Run Clockwise & Some That Don't

Postby koimaster » October 31st 2017, 2:51pm

The first thing most of us notice about clocks and watches when we learn to tell time, is that the hands turn clockwise – the habit of perceiving clockwise motion as a representation of the forward movement of time is deeply ingrained; so much so that once having learned it, most of us cease to notice it at all. Imagine you are standing on the center of a watch: in any direction you face, the hands will appear to pass from left to right. Theoretically, we could just as easily tell time if they went from right to left, so why do clock and watch hands overwhelmingly have rightward, or clockwise, motion? Why is there no period in history where anticlockwise and clockwise rotation competed for supremacy?

The explanation for the overwhelming preference for clockwise movement of clock hands is somewhat obscure, but a likely explanation (and one often cited) is that if you happen to be in the northern hemisphere, and you stand facing the Sun's path across the sky, you'll see it describe a clockwise arc as it travels from the east, to the southern sky overhead, and finally to the west, where it sets. If you make a sundial, the shadow the sundial throws will likewise follow a clockwise course, going from west to north to east (in opposition to the path of the Sun). Early clocks, so the thinking goes, simply reflected the apparent motion of the Sun, and of the gnomon (pointer) of a sundial.

https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/why-c ... -clockwise


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Re: Why Clocks Run Clockwise & Some That Don't

Postby conjurer » October 31st 2017, 3:36pm

If this article was from some other site than Hodinkee, I might have actually read it.
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