Invention of the Watch

Posted on March 24, 2006 

Invention of the Watch

In the second act of Shakespeare’s play, As You Like It, when Touchstone, the fool, meets Jaques, the sage, he draws forth a sun-dial from his pocket and begins to moralize upon Time.

For the first watches we must go back to about the year 1500, shortly after America had been discovered, and when the great tower-clocks of de Vick and Lightfoot were not much more than a century old. In the quaint old town of Nuremberg there lived, at that time, one Peter Henlein, probably a locksmith. But a locksmith, in those days, would be an expert mechanic–more like a modern toolmaker; very likely an armorer also; capable of that fine workmanship in metal which we still wonder at in our museums.

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