Clockwork - Examples


The most common examples are mechanical clocks and watches. Others include:

  • Wind-up toys - often as a simple mechanical motor, or to create automata. These may be either key-wound, or a simpler pullback motor.
  • Most leaf shutters use a clockwork mechanism not unlike that of wristwatches to time the opening and closing of the shutter blades.
  • Mechanisms to turn the lens of lighthouses before electric motors.
  • Mechanical calculators, used before electronic computers were developed around World War 2. Among the most complex were Babbage's difference and analytical engines, which were mechanical versions of computers.
  • Astronomical models, such as orreries whose history spans hundreds of years.
  • Music boxes, which were very popular during the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th.
  • Almost all phonographs built before the 1930s.
  • Hand-powered electrical equipment, such as a clockwork radio, where an energy-storing spring accounting for much of the size and weight of the device spins a much smaller electric generator; such equipment is very popular where batteries and mains power (house current) are scarce.

Music box clockwork Exhibition model of an alarm clock mechanism with two mainsprings (black spirals) Charles Babbage's Difference Engine No.1, in Science Museum, London. The first computer. Plastic clockwork of a modern kitchen timer

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