Essay — Clock Work

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Clock Cropped

Image source: HL Carpenter

For thirty years the living room clock has chimed on the quarter hour. The weights run down every week–and every week they’re pulled back up so the clock can keep ticking and chiming.

The other day there was no chime and though it was eight in the morning, the hands stood at 1:30. In Carpenter Country the silence said it all–the Hermle had uttered its last tock.

Also, like the stopped clock, the short one’s brain seemed to be stuck in a holding pattern. Every time she walked into the room, she’d realize too late the hands weren’t moving and it was 1:30–again.

Meanwhile, the guy that shares her space hemmed and hawed about whether or not he should bring the ailing timepiece to a watchsmith, fix it himself, or junk the whole thing and buy a new model.

“Who invented clocks anyway?” he grumbled one morning when the discussion grew heated.

“Good question,” the one who missed hearing the Westminster chimes replied. “I’ll let you know as soon as I find out.”

The answer proved to be as indecisive as her housemate.

It seemed credit for inventing timekeeping devices could go to the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Chinese–as well as Leonardo DaVinci, Galileo, and finally a fellow named Huygens.

At that point, she said to her hesitant watch-fixer, “I’m not really sure who invented clocks. But I can tell you this…a new one will cost $1,200.”

Now the old Hermle, with new innards installed, is chiming again.

As to the question of who invented clocks–

–though it’s not mentioned in any historical tome, the inventor was probably a smart woman who got fed up with the dicey workings of a sundial.

***

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We write. Visit us in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like our stories, is unreal but not untrue.

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