Castellated dial clock

Probably from north-west Europe, 16th century AD

Weight-driven iron wall clock with painted dial

The spread of large cathedral and church clocks throughout Europe during the fifteenth century led naturally to the production of smaller versions. Domestic clocks were designed to stand on a bracket mounted high on the wall. This allowed a sufficient drop for the weights to give a reasonable running time, perhaps requiring the clock to be wound twice per day.

It is difficult to say where this clock was made, but the gothic buttress corner pillars on the movement suggest a Germanic origin. The clock has been modified by the addition of a third wheel to the going train to give the clock a longer duration. The dial is a later modification, to allow the clock to be used in a domestic situation. In its original form the clock was designed to drive the hands on a remote dial, probably on the outside of a tower.

This weight-driven iron clock has two gear trains, one for the timekeeping (the going train) and the other for striking the hours (the striking train). The verge escapement is controlled by an oscillating weighted foliot. The frame of the clock is held together by pins and wedges.

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More information


H. Tait, Clocks in the British Museum (London, The British Museum Press, 1968)

G. Brusa, LArte dell orologeria in Europ (Milan, Bramante Editrice, 1978)

K. Maurice, Die Deutsche Räderuhr (Munich, C.H. Beck, 1976)

C. Jagger, The worlds great clocks (London, Hamlyn, 1977)

H. Tait, Clocks and watches (London, The British Museum Press, 1983)


Height: 51.000 cm
Width: 26.000 cm
Depth: 31.000 cm

Museum number

M&ME 1967,6-1,1


Knowles-Brown Collection
Gift of Mr and Mrs Gilbert Edgar


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