Dutch inventions dating 17th century

20-Apr-2017 11:09

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In preparing this paper I came across an article at the BBC website in which I may have found a reason for this omission. van der Molen, on loan to the Museum of the Dutch Clock, Zaandam.

It read that the English like Huygens because Huygens simply liked the English, and by the way disliked the Dutch. (click to enlarge) View of the tandem barrel for the two trains of the clock by Salomon Coster.

In 1970 the late collector and connoisseur Enrico Morpurgo ('our own G. Baillie') compiled a list of Dutch clock- and watch-makers from the year 1300 onwards.

He also mounted the most important temporary exhibition of highlights from the Dutch clock history in Amsterdam in 1956, the same year the Science Museum London organized a 'Huygens Tercentenary Exhibition' on the occasion of the 300 year celebration of the introduction of the pendulum clock by Christiaan Huygens. Apart from these three clock museums important clock collections can be found in the (The Boerhaave Museum) in Leyden, The Amsterdam Rijksmuseum, the Municipal Museums of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam, and also the Frisian Museum and Museum Het Princessehof in Leeuwarden, which next to Haarlem, The Hague and Amsterdam the other focal point in Dutch clock industry.

(Holland by the way being not synonymous with the Netherlands, but originally the historical power centre of the (Northern) Netherlands). This is the oldest known Dutch turret clock with musical drum made for the church of St.

A smaller turret clock, dating from about a century later and now in the museum in Zaandam, demonstrates very clearly the vertical verge escapement and foliot or balance bar with adjustable weights on top, typical for the mediaeval concept of variable hours, derived from the sundials of the ancients. Jacob in The Hague, but now on display in the Museum in Schoonhoven.

The Ashmolean Museum shows two oval Vibrandi watches out of a total of eight Dutch watches.

(David Thompson, 'Watches in the Ashmolean Museum, Part I' Antiquarian Horology, September 2000).

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A smaller but interesting collection is that of the Boom-Time Foundation on display in museums in Haarlem, Utrecht and Zaandam and described in a catalogue in 1999 by ir Jan Boomsma. To give you a short introduction to the history of Dutch clockmaking I hope I can show you some examples and maybe demonstrate some of the characteristics as well as their similarities with British timekeepers.(click to enlarge) An example of a 'Hague'spring wall clock by Salomon Coster, c. Unfortunately, amongst horologists I still encounter anything but consensus, just as Huygens must have experienced, introducing as his original ideas, his inventions and mechanical improvements, like the construction of the pendulum clock, his endless rope, the balance spring, the remontoir or his equation and maritime timekeepers.